Delta checked bag fee climbs to $30

Airline fees grow, seats shrink

Delta Air Lines has increased its charge for a first checked bag to $30, echoing moves made less than a month ago by JetBlue Airways and United Continental. The $5 hike leaves American Airlines as the sole U.S. carrier among the largest three to leave its fee for a first checked bag at $25.

JetBlue began the current trend just over three weeks ago, with United quickly following suit. Both carriers and now Delta set a $40 fee for a second checked bag. Delta's hike took effect on Wednesday.

Travelers who take part in airline loyalty programs can avoid the luggage fees, which generated $4.6 billion for 13 U.S. airlines in 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.  

American, Delta, JetBlue and United all charge $200 for changing or canceling a ticket worth more than $200.

Southwest Airlines is the sole remaining large U.S. airline that does not charge a fee for up to two checked bags. 

But Southwest is also looking to crank out additional revenue through fees. It increased its early boarding fee last month, going from a flat $15 each way to $15, $20 or $25, depending on the length of the trip and how popular the feature is on particular routes. 

Conversely, discount carrier Spirit Airlines charges between $30 and $150 for any bag bigger than a laptop or a purse.