Delta scales back bag check fee

Delta said Wednesday it will charge $50 for a second checked bag only on flights between the U.S. and Europe.

ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines Inc., the world's largest airline operator, said Wednesday it is significantly scaling back its plans for a $50 fee for a second checked bag on international flights, as some major competitors so far have refused to match it.

The airline said the fee will only apply to travel between the U.S. and Europe. When Delta made the initial announcement April 21, the fee was to apply to all international travel.

"We constantly monitor the industry landscape to ensure our fares and fees are competitive," spokeswoman Betsy Talton said in an e-mail.

Delta, Charleston's largest carrier, has said previously the new fee was expected to generate more than $100 million annually for the airline. It did not provide a new figure Wednesday.

The fee is effective for travel beginning July 1. The first checked bag on all Delta international flights remains free.

First and business class passengers, elite frequent fliers and active military are among those fliers exempt from paying Delta's fee for a second checked bag on flights between the U.S. and Europe.

Delta, like most of its major competitors, already charges fees for the first and second checked bags on domestic flights.

But international flights are often substantially longer than domestic flights, and travelers often stay at their destinations for longer periods.

Several other airlines have so far balked at imposing a fee on either of the first two checked bags on international flights.

Spokeswomen for US Airways and United Airlines said Wednesday their carriers have not matched Delta's fee.

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Both carriers said in April they were studying Delta's decision.

Among foreign carriers, British Airways has a fee for a second checked bag for some passengers for travel to some international destinations.

Officials at American Airlines and Continental Airlines said they have not imposed a fee for a second checked bag on all international flights. However, Continental Airlines does have a $25 fee for a second checked bag for some travelers on flights between the U.S. and Canada and some points in Latin America, spokeswoman Julie King said.

Many airlines have been hit hard by hefty losses amid weakening demand for air travel, largely due to global economic turmoil.

Airlines see fees to check bags and for other once-free amenities as a way to boost revenue.