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American raises checked-bag fees

By Marnie Hunter, CNN
American Airlines matched competitors' baggage fee hikes.
American Airlines matched competitors' baggage fee hikes.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • American Airlines last of five legacy carriers to raise baggage fees
  • Passengers to pay $25 for first checked bag and $35 for second
  • Changes effective for tickets purchased on or after February 1

(CNN) -- American Airlines has joined its competitors in raising checked luggage fees.

The airline announced Monday it would charge $25 for the first checked bag and $35 for the second. American is the last major legacy carrier to join in a wave of baggage fee increases that Delta Air Lines initiated earlier this month.

The changes are effective for tickets purchased on or after February 1 for travel within the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Delta, United and Continental airlines, and US Airways all are charging $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second bag checked in at the airport. Passengers who check in online on those four airlines will pay $23 for the first bag and $32 for the second. American does not offer online check-in.

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About 25 percent of American's domestic passengers pay checked bag fees, according to the airline's announcement.

Some passengers -- such as first-class fliers, some frequent fliers and military personnel on deployment -- are exempt from most checked-luggage fees.

Most major air carriers started adding checked-bag fees in 2008. The airlines reported collecting nearly $740 million in baggage fees in the third quarter of 2009, according to U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

On discount carrier Southwest Airlines, the first and second checked bags are free. JetBlue offers a free first checked bag and charges $30 for the second.