Published on Friday, September 19, 2014

Bag fees coming for Air Canada domestic flights

In an expected move, Air Canada says it will now also charge for the first checked bag on domestic flights, following a similar policy change by rival WestJet earlier this week.

The new fee will apply to passengers traveling on the cheapest economy class Tango fares which will affect about one in five of its customers, and will begin November 2, 2014.

Holders of Flex and Latitude Economy Class fares, or Altitude Prestige, Elite and Super Elite members will not be charged the fee.

The fee will be $25 for a first checked bag, in line with many North American carriers, including WestJet.

The fee will also be payable for flights to and from the Caribbean and Mexico.

Since 2011 the airline already charges a fee for flights to the US.

"We're matching the market, and it's what the market is bearing at this point in time." said CFO Michael Rousseau.

Canadian airline analyst David Tyerman says the new policy will likely generate around $50 million extra for the carrier.

Almost every major North American carrier now charges for checked baggage, with only JetBlue and Southwest yet to take the plunge.

Both these airlines said this week they have no immediate plans to follow suit but did not rule it out indefinitely.

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