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Alaska Airlines Increases Baggage Fees: What You Need to Know

This is a $5 price increase on their current checked baggage fee and will come into effect on January 2nd

by Samir Kadri

January 4, 2024

Photo: Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

Effective January 2, Alaska Airlines has implemented an increase in its checked baggage fees. Under the new fee structure, passengers will now be charged $35 for the first checked bag and $40 for the second checked bag. This marks a $5 uptick from the previous pricing. However, the cost for any additional checked bags will remain unchanged at $150.

Currently, passengers are permitted to carry one complimentary carry-on bag alongside one personal item, which can be conveniently stored under the seat in front of them. While this allowance is generally sufficient for many travelers on short-haul flights, those carrying liquids or larger items will now incur an additional cost for a checked bag.

Photo: Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

While it has been a few years since airlines collectively raised their checked baggage fees, historical trends indicate that such price increases often occur in clusters. Therefore, it is plausible that other carriers may follow suit, reminiscent of 2018 when three airlines concurrently increased their checked-bag fees.

Traditionally, most airlines charge $30 for the first checked bag. With the recent adjustment, Alaska Airlines will now align with JetBlue at the $35 price point.

Tim Jue, a San Francisco-based aviation and travel reporter, commented, “I would not be surprised to see other carriers raise their baggage fees in due time. The airline industry tends to act in unison, and if there’s an opportunity to increase revenue, it’s a sure-fire bet airlines will capitalize on it. All it takes is one carrier to take that leap of faith, and everyone else usually piles on immediately afterward.”

Photo: Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

Certain Alaska Airlines passengers, including those flying in first class, holders of the Alaska Airlines Visa credit card or Alaska Airlines Visa Business card, and those with MVP Gold status, remain eligible for free checked baggage.

Those with the base MVP Gold status or its oneworld Sapphire equivalent will receive two free checked bags. Meanwhile, passengers with MVP Gold 100k status or MVP Gold 75k status, as well as their oneworld Emerald equivalents, will enjoy a generous allowance of three free checked bags.

Brian Sumers, author of the Airline Observer newsletter, noted, “Airlines usually, though not always, match each other when there’s money to be made. Bag fees are an interesting phenomenon. Much is made of the nearly $7 billion U.S. carriers made from them last year. But really, that’s a pittance compared to what major carriers make from credit card revenue.”