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SpiceJet, Jet Air charge more for excess baggage

Last updated on: December 20, 2012 08:25 IST

SpiceJet, Jet Air charge more for excess baggage

Aneesh Phadnis in Mumbai

irlines are hiking the fees on excess baggage to encourage flyers to travel light. While airlines in the US and the Europe charge passengers for every piece of baggage and earning almost a billion dollars in fees, airlines in India allow up to 20 kgs of free luggage on domestic flights.

On Tuesday, SpiceJet increase the charge on excess baggage from Rs 200 to Rs 250 on each additional kg. Jet Airways increased it by same amount to Rs 250 per kg last month and other airlines are expected to follow suit.

"The idea is to discourage passengers from carrying excess luggage. The higher charge is for deterrence. The lighter the aircraft the lesser is the fuel burn. On an average, passengers carry about 13 kgs of luggage and the increase in fees will not impact them," said an executive from SpiceJet.

However, airlines in India are not toying with idea to charge passengers for every piece of luggage or reduce the free luggage limit from the existing 20 kgs. A top executive from another private airline said there was no such plan at the moment.

Any decision to do away with free baggage allowance could meet opposition and in September Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh issued instructions to Air India not to waive excess booking fees. Air India would get request from influential politicians, MPs and VIPs to waive the charges of excess luggage of up to 100 kgs or more. The move will also help the airline increase its revenue.

According to new data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, US air carriers earned revenue of $924 million in baggage fees from July to September. This is 3 per cent higher over earnings in same quarter last year. Delta topped the list in collection followed by United Airlines, American Airlines and US Airways, according to the data.