When earlier this week Calgary based WestJet Airlines announced they would be charging a $25 first checked bag fee on their domestic service routes, it was suspected by many that it was only a matter of time before Air Canada followed suit and matched their rival.
Well, Air Canada has pulled through, announcing today what many predicted, but in addition to matching WestJet, they took it a step further and raised the stakes.
Unlike WestJet, who have imposed the fee on only their Canada and U.S. routes, Air Canada blanketed the fee across all of North America, including flights to and from the Caribbean and Mexico. To keep in line with U.S. based carriers, Air Canada has for years been charging the fee on their trans-border, U.S. flights but said earlier this year that they would not include domestic service as part of their pay-for-checked-baggage strategy, when Ontario based Porter Airlines first added theirs in June.
It really comes as no surprise, as passenger optional, airline imposed fees such as baggage and extra leg-room seats make up much of an airline’s bottom line these days. To stay competitive, the move for Air Canada was virtually inevitable. Like WestJet, the fee only applies to travellers booked in the lowest economy fare (Air Canada’s Tango fares) which account for roughly 20% of Air Canada’s domestic passengers.
The per direction fee is waived for those booked with Air Canada Vacations, loyalty members, higher economy and business class fares and will go into effect on bookings made as of today, on flights from November the 2nd, 2014.
As the Canadian airlines’ baggage war smolders, it may be high time to pick-up that perfect carry-on bag and brush up on your packing skills.
Here are some tips!