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  • New baggage rule system will make flying easier

    2010-06-10

    Frequent fliers have certainly encountered the baggage fees that many airlines are now imposing. These fees aren't widely published and can sometimes be a nasty surprise at check-in.

    The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is looking to change that by introducing a new database to track baggage fees. Under the new Automated Carrier Baggage Rules (ACBR), airlines must submit detailed layouts of their charges for the IATA, who will then make them available online for travelers' benefit.

    The introduction of baggage fees is especially complicated when a traveler plans an itinerary that uses separate airlines, who most likely have different baggage rules. It can be a headache trying to untangle which carrier's baggage rules the traveler is subject to.

    Rules vary between airlines according to size, weight, number of bags, and the traveler's status. For example, some airlines allow free bag checks with enrollment in their frequent flyer programs or upgrading to a business class ticket.

    Some speculate that having all the rules readily available in one location may cause airlines to begin to lower or eliminate the fees in a bid to compete with each other.

    According to the Department of Transportation, ancillary fees such as checked bags now account for 6.5 percent of airlines' total revenue, raising $7.8 billion in 2009.

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