United Joins JetBlue With $30 Bag Fee

(Bloomberg) -- The $30 bag fee is gaining traction across U.S. airlines as summer travel winds down and carriers look to boost revenue to offset higher fuel prices.

United Continental Holdings Inc. increased the charge for passengers’ first checked bag by $5 on Friday, matching a move by JetBlue Airways Corp. earlier in the week. The fee changes apply to United tickets purchased Aug. 31 and later.

The move by United, the No. 3 U.S. airline, bolsters an industry push for more revenue from items other than tickets. The industry’s annual profit peaked in 2015 and is headed for a third straight decline this year, according to Airlines for America, a trade group representing carriers such as United and American Airlines Group Inc. Fuel prices have increased more than 20 percent over the past year, pressuring airlines’ earnings and stock prices.

“As we continue to make investments that make travel on United better, we are making adjustments to our checked bag fees in select markets -- most of which have not been changed for the past eight years,” Maddie King, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based United, said in an email.

A second checked bag will cost $40 on flights in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Caribbean and Central America, United said. The fee will be $50 for flights to and from Canada.

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