The History of Airline Fees: Bags, Food & More

The History of Airline Fees: Bags, Food & More


Have you ever wondered when and why airlines started charging for things that used to be free? Anyone who travels a lot knows to expect certain fees. Here is a brief history of some of the fees airlines charge….


The 1st Fees

American Airlines announced in May 2008 announced it would begin charging a fee for checked bags. The early bag fees weren’t expensive; initially it was charged $15 per bag.


Why did airlines: The airlines said they needed fees to help with the high cost of jet fuel and other costs. It was the after effects of the recession of 2008. Also, fees earn airlines tons of money, we are talking about Billions of dollars.



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Food & Drinks, Blankets & Pillows

Although some airlines charge for these, some of these amenities are starting to return without fees.


In 2001, after 9/11 meals were dropped from many domestic flights.

Delta began charging for snack boxes on some flights in 2003. United started selling snack boxes for $5 in 2005 instead of serving meals. In 2008 US Airways began charging for all drinks! Then in 2009 they stopped because no other airline was charging for drinks. In 2017, Delta began offering free meals in coach/economy class for certain routes.


Pillows & Blankets


Jet Blue started charged $7 for a pillow and blanket (which passengers can keep) in 2008.  US Airways began charging for pillows/blankets in 2009. The airline eventually merged with American Airlines. As of now, a few airlines still offer blankets and pillows for free or for a fee.



Bottom line: There are 2 reasons most of these fees won’t be going away anytime soon. First, most passengers have accepted these fees and are willing to pay; second, Airlines make alot of money off these fees! So travel smart, take a carry on bag, bring a lunch, and anything else you can do to make your trip comfortable, fun, and stress free!


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