Dutch airline KLM is set to become the first full-service carrier in Europe to charge an extra fee for checked baggage for flights within Europe. The extra fee, 15 euros (about $20) if paid in advance and about $40 if paid at the airport, will be charged on tickets booked on or after April 22.
Members of KLM’s Flying Blue frequent flyer program will be get free checked bags – it’s definitely time to join the Flying Blue program if you’re planning a trip through Europe with flights on KLM!
Considering the airline has been engaged in serious cost-cutting and efficiency measures to reduce operating losses, it’s no surprise that at least one member of Air France-KLM, the merged parent company, has chosen to follow the US trend of increasing revenue with ancillary fees.
KLM, however, is in a tighter spot – by competing with full service airlines, such as Lufthansa and British Airways, in addition to the US carriers on international routes including those the US to Europe, it would set a precedent to charge for the first checked bag. Yet, domestically on the intra-European flights, the airlines’ main competition is EasyJet and RyanAir, both of which are expert in charging fees.
Unfortunately for travelers, the reality is that the income from fees offset losses. Fees will surely increase with more airlines stepping up to realize the gains – will Air France be next to add a checked luggage fee?