Possible Collusion Over Checked Baggage Fee

Wednesday, 28 Sep 2016

Baggage Fee Collusion

It has recently emerged that a class action lawsuit is to be brought against two Canadian airlines – Air Canada and West Jet – who are accused of working together to charge their economy class passengers for checking an item of hold luggage.

Both airlines introduced a charge for checking a first bag into the hold in September, 2014, within days of each other. West Jet introduced the $25 fee on 15th September, 2014 and Air Canada introduced the same fee only three days later, on 18th September.

The fact that these fees came into effect within days of each other is being used as evidence against the airlines to suggest that they were colluding to introduce fees, rather than just responding to competition. Those bringing the lawsuit feel that such a short period of time would have been insufficient for Air Canada to implement fees in response to West Jet if they didn’t have forewarning.

It may be pure coincidence that the two companies introduced the exact same fees targeting the same customers within days of each other. If not, it suggests that airlines are colluding to fix prices for their own benefit, and, of course, at the expense of the customer. This seems unsurprising given the current climate in air travel, with everything but the flight itself being deemed a superfluous and chargeable extra.

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