New airline fees for the new year

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While a winter storm caused many airlines to issue travel change fee waivers this week, there are several new fees scheduled to take place in the new year. Here’s a sampling:

*United Airlines is raising the membership rates for the United Club. According to a notice on the United website:

“Effective January 1, 2013, United Club annual membership rates will increase by $25 and membership-with-spouse rates will increase by up to $100. Additionally, the three-year membership options will be discontinued. Current three-year memberships will be honored through their existing membership period.”

Beginning on January 15, 2013:

Alaska Airlines will no longer check bags through to a final destination when separate tickets are presented at check-in. This policy change affects passengers who start travel on Alaska Airlines, but continue on a separately purchased ticket on another airline. Alaska will continue to check bags for passengers traveling on a single ticket and connecting to one of our 59 interline airline partners.

Southwest Airlines has also rolled out some new fees for the new year:

The airline plans to begin charging a “no-show” fee to passengers who fail to cancel restricted ticket reservations and it has already raised baggage fees:

“Effective for tickets purchased on or after December 15, 2012, for travel on or after February 13, 2013, the 3rd checked bag and any bag thereafter is $75 per piece and the overweight and oversize baggage fee is $75 per piece. Large media camera equipment is $75 per item, and sporting equipment is $0-$75 per item.”

Before the change, the first and second checked bags were free and charge for the third (through the ninth) checked bag was $50. The overweight bag charge was also $50 and there was no charge for large media camera equipment. The fee for sporting equipment was $0-$50 per item.

Bag fees on Southwest subsidiary Air Tran have also gone up:

“1st and 2nd Checked Bag Fee
Effective for tickets purchased on or after December 15, 2012, for travel on or after February 13, 2013, first checked bag fee is $25 and second checked bag fee is $35 when bag fees apply.

Excess Baggage Fee
Effective for tickets purchased on or after December 15, 2012, for travel on or after February 13, 2013, the 3rd checked bag and any bag thereafter is $75 per piece.

Oversize and Overweight Baggage Fee
Effective for tickets purchased on or after December 15, 2012, for travel on or after February 13, 2013, overweight and oversize baggage fee is $75.”

No doubt there’s more to come….so start saving your pennies.

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