I guess it was a matter of time, but it's still a shame to see Canadians have to pay more for air travel.
Air Canada today announced that it will start charging passengers with Tango, Tango Plus and Latitude fares $30 for a second,checked bag on all flights to the U.S. (except Puerto Rico) and $50 for second bags on flights to Europe and Israel. The policy takes effect for flights on or after Jan. 19. 2010 for tickets purchased from today onwards.
Passengers with Economy Class tickets will continue to get two free, checked bags on flights within Canada, as well as to and from Mexico, the Caribbean, South and Central America, Asia and Australia, which I find kinda weird. I mean, if you're charging $50 for a second bag to Europe, why not $50 for a second bag to Asia or South America?
The fee for a second checked bag to/from the United States, Europe and Israel will not apply to Air Canada Prestige, Elite, Super Elite members or Star Alliance Silver and Gold members. Executive Class and Executive First customers continue to receive an allowance of three checked bags on all flights, regardless of destination.
That's great for those of us who travel a lot, but the average guy gets screwed. A family of four flying to Europe in economy with two checked bags per person would end up forking over another $200. A family flying to Orlando to see the Mouse - or take in a tour of the Tiger Woods domestic bliss display in Isleworth - would pay another $120.
Air Canada, of course, couched this in very public relations-like terms, stating not that they were hiking baggage fees but merely saying it had "matched the prevailing checked bag policy of international carriers on U.S. transborder and transatlantic routes." Which makes it sound like it's not their fault and that they simply HAD to fall in line.
Customers purchasing Economy Class tickets for travel on or after January 19, 2010 to/from the United States, Europe and Israel will still be able to check one bag for free, in addition to permitted carry-on baggage. But you'll have to pay for bag number two.
"This change in baggage policy to match our U.S. and European competitors is an important step as we work toward sustained profitability," said Ben Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. "In this weak economy it is more critical than ever to continue reviewing all our activities on a regular basis and making adjustments as necessary to remain competitive with our industry peers. We are committed to offering our customers a full range of competitively priced travel options."
Yes, some airlines charge for each bag. And yes, air travel is expensive. But don't you just HATE getting nickeled and dimed sorry, thirtied and fiftied - like this?
For the record, WestJet's p.r. guy tells me they haven't changed their policy; it's still two bags free on all flights.
HEALTHY AIRPORT FOOD
No offence, but I wouldn't have expected the Detroit Metro airport to have topped a list I spotted of airports in the U.S. with the healthiest meals.
A study by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine looked at 17 U.S. airports and said 79% offer at least one healthy option (low-fat, high-fibre, cholesterol-free). Detroit Metro scored 100%, meaning all their restaurants have at least one healthy option, and good for them. San Francisco rose to 94%, while the next three were Phoenix Sky Harbour, Houston Intercontinental and Newark.
Las Vegas was last with just 66% of places offering a healthy choice. The study said too many Vegas eateries offered only burgers, sausages, hot dogs or pre-made items "full of fat and cholesterol." Chicago O'Hare and Dulles in Washington D.C. each got scores of just 68 %.
Time to pull up your socks, folks.
JIM'S DEALS OF THE DAY
Up to 50% off - Cheap flights to every Canadian destination with Air Canada
US$69 - Over 75% off! - Peak holiday sale in Orlando near theme parks (sale ends soon)
US$444 taxes included - 4 night 4* Disney Bahamas cruise: early January