Yesterday, Delta announced it will raise its fees for checked bags. The first bag, which used to cost $15, will now cost $23. Cost of a second bags goes up from $25 to $32. It'll cost even more if you don't log on the airline's Web site to pay in advance ($2 for the first bag and $3 for the second). Expect the charges to begin today on tickets purchased on or after Jan. 5. Tickets purchased before the fee increase are subject to the old fees. This is for coach travel within the 50 states, U.S. Virgin islands, Canada and Puerto Rico.

We understand airlines are struggling to hang on, and that they are subject to the price of oil in an uncomfortable sort of way. But why add fees instead of increase the price of a ticket? Local travel expert Terry Trippler says it's because airlines want their name to pop to the top of any airline ticket search on various Web sites. Makes sense, even if the practice is disingenuous. I wish it could be another way, but I'm afraid that's a wish I won't see fulfilled by the airlines.

Fortunately, at least one Web site, kayak.com, lets you track those fees. On the lefthand side of the search screen, you can opt to add baggage fees and input the number of bags you expect to check. The site also has a nifty chart of all airline fees, including checked baggage, meals, preferred seat assignments and pets.

If you know of other ways to look behind the low-price curtain, please let us know.

 

 

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