Take a stroll on Shakedown Street with Northwest Airlines!

In Alaska Travelgram, Consumer by scott

My friend Joe Brancatelli ( www.joesentme.com ) sent me a note about Northwest Airlines‘ plans to start charging $15 for your first checked bag. Also, Northwest is boosting the charge for changes to $150 and now will charge $25 for a “free” frequent flyer ticket.  Here’s his take:

“Even when Northwest is just following other Big Six carriers on a policy, it manages to do it in a way that is guaranteed to infuriate travelers.

1) For travel beginning on August 28, Northwest will charge travelers $15 to check the FIRST BAG. 

2) Change fees for domestic tickets have been raised to $150. The international change fee also jumps to $150 in most cases. 

3) Northwest will charge $25 for domestic “free” frequent flyer domestic award tickets. Northwest is couching these fees as “fuel surcharges” subject to change if fuel costs come down. Don’t bet on it, folks. These fees have almost nothing to do with fuel costs. They are imposing charges on frequent flyer redemptions because they think they can get away with it. 

“By the way, Northwest’s move to a first checked bag fee almost assuredly means that its potential merger partner, Delta, will impose them, too. And that will almost guarantee that Continental, then alone among the Big Six carriers, will add a first-bag fee, too.” 

Thanks for the bad news, Joe. Check out Joe’s subscription news site for frequent flyers.

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