A new USA Today survey released on Monday looked at what 13 U.S. carriers charge for services available to coach passengers and found that the cost of overweight checked bags on some airlines has risen to $450.
Continental and United charge $400 on most international flights for checked bags weighing 71-100 pounds. On American Airlines, that price can be as high as $450 on flights to Asia. These are among the most expensive fees that airlines charge fliers, according to the USA Today survey.
An airline spokesman for American Airlines told USA Today that the reason for the charges is to offset fuel costs and dissuade passengers from checking such heavy bags in the first place.
The annual poll also found that fees for the first checked bag are up to $38 on domestic flights and $43 for international.
Other finds in the survey:
-Many airlines have eliminated the discount for paying a fee online. Delta, Continental, US Airways, and United offered a $2 or $3 savings for fliers who arranged online to check a bag. This offer is no longer available.
-Most airlines now charge a booking fee for free frequent-flier award tickets. US Airways has the highest free ticket fee at $55-$90 for a phone reservation and $25-$50 online.
-Spirit Airlines was the only airline surveyed that charges for carry-on bags at $30 (if you've notified the airline online beforehand), $35 (if you call on the telephone), and $40 at the airport.
-Fees for changing a ticket vary widely. Frontier Airlines charges just $50 to change an international flight, while Delta Air Lines and United charge up to five times that.
New rules came into effect last month that require airlines to better inform ticket buys what fees they are expected to pay. The measure went into effect Aug. 23, and required all airlines to prominently disclose all optional fees on their Web sites, including costs for baggage, meals, canceling or changing reservations, or advanced or upgraded seating.
All carriers must disclose all fees for optional services with a prominent link and they must also disclose bag-fee increases on the home page or through a link on the page.
For the complete results of the USA Today survey, CLICK HERE.