Air travel is a bargain, and is getting cheaper in real terms. At least that’s what we’re told by the A4A and other media outlets. But since the introduction of baggage fees, that story doesn’t hold water, as real total costs to consumers have actually risen in recent years.
Airline baggage fees in the US domestic market skyrocketed in 2009, when the major airlines, except Southwest, decided to start charging for checked luggage. While this did not impact the airfare and yield statistics commonly quoted, it did impact the consumer’s wallet. We took at look at airfare and baggage fees together, to determine if consolidation of airlines in the US has had a negative impact on the cost to fly.