Happy Birthday, Baggage Fees

Here's comes the "on other hand" part. Have you checked the price of oil lately? A barrel of crude has been over the $100 mark for weeks now, which reminds me of 2008 which the price came within a knife's blade of $150. The airlines were hurting and needed the money to survive and fees kept them going. Now they need the money to be profitable.

Well, it's the American way, right? Look at Alaska Airlines. Investors are delighted the carrier is raising its bag and change fees; those guys had fallen behind the times by charging a paltry $20 per bag. What the heck, another $5 isn't going to kill us, especially since Alaska is a little different from all the others.

The difference has to do with guarantees. There are none. Fees mean zip to passengers in terms of making sure your bag travels with you since bags still get lost.

At least Alaska offers some kind of return: If your Samsonite doesn't reach the baggage claim area within 20 minutes of your flight parking at the gate, you get a $20 discount toward your next flight (or 2,000 miles in Alaska's loyalty program).

That's nice but it doesn't disguise the fact that your bag is still missing. Oh, well. Happy Birthday, bag fees. Now if only the airlines would quit playing pin-the-tail-on-the-passengers.

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