This week, Canada’s two major airlines announced that their checked bag fees were increasing to from $25 to $30. Here’s why you should be happy… at least if you want to travel more often.
Travelers who check out our flight deals page often know that flying has never been more affordable (as long as you wait for a good deal).
That’s how I was able to take about 100 flights in the past 2 years and visit dozens of countries. If traveling more is something that you want to do, you really shouldn’t care that Air Canada and WestJet raised their bag fees.
In fact, not only should you not care. You should be happy. I personally wish they would raise them even higher.
Why? Experienced travelers don’t check bags. They just don’t. And I’m not even talking about traveling on Ultra Low-Cost Carriers, that’s a whole other topic and that’s for those who really want to travel a lot more (like going to Europe 4 times in the past few months like I did).
Even on regular full-service airlines (which are about 90% of the deals we spot by the way, depending on your home airport), you should travel with a carry-on only and not check a bag. Ever.
A lot of people pack way too much stuff by habit, and can easily change. But if you are among those who absolutely want to travel with a checked bag, then for sure this is bad news. And get used to it, it’s only going to get worse for you.
The easiest way to travel more (apart from winning the lottery) is to learn how to pack light to get the lowest fares. The bag fees on Air Canada and WestJet alone are more expensive than many of the flights I have bought around the world in the past years.
Not to mention how much more enjoyable it is to go carry-on only.
Why You Shouldn’t Check a Bag
The more passengers who check bags pay, the lower the base fare can be for everyone. Both Air Canada and WestJet have stated so very clearly.
By the way, both airlines seem to have very loyal fans, check out our article about Which is best: Air Canada or WestJet? and give us your thoughts.
So by packing light, you can take advantage of the lower fares that are made possible by charging more to people who
can’t don’t want to travel a bit lighter. The more they pay, the less I (and all those with only a carry-on) pay.
I’ve traveled all over the world for weeks at a time with a small backpack only (not even a full-size carry-on, a small backpack) and it’s quite doable. I never needed anything more, not once.
So a full-size carry-on? More than enough. 100% sure. Or you’re not trying at all.
And that’s fine: some don’t want any hassles, don’t want to travel more or don’t mind paying more. Let’s let them pay more, and let’s take advantage of the lower fares it enables for us.
Because if you do want to explore the world more though, get used to packing lighter and taking advantage of much lower fares. These fees aren’t ever going away, they’ll only get more expensive. Fuel is expensive; more bags weighs down the plane. So get used to packing light right away.
Traveling isn’t expensive: wanting travel to be as convenient as possible is what is expensive.
The era of flying being a rare and special thing to do, when people would take only one trip per year and it would be a special occasion and an upscale experience… is long gone. Flights are so cheap, if you want to travel more, you can. But you have to rethink the whole over-packing thing.
A full-size carry-on is way more than enough. That’s why, as I said, all experienced travelers avoid checking bags. It’s much more convenient, and you’ll never want to go back to the old way. The first time might be the hardest, but then you’ll realize you definitely do not need all the crap you’ve been used to bringing.
So if you want to travel more, start getting used to packing light, because airlines all over the world are moving to a revenue model that is very logical: those who need more perks should pay more. Those who want to travel more and for less shouldn’t subsidize other travelers’ bags in their own fare.
We believe in travelers having the choice. If everyone’s base fare is higher, you don’t have a choice: you pay more, that’s it. It makes travel less accessible for those who have less money (not to mention the environmental impact of encouraging people to pack more weight onto the plane).
By unbundling and giving travelers the choice to either pay for a checked bag or not bring one, those who want to travel for less can at least choose if they want to bring one or not.
So, not happy about the checked bags now costing more? Just don’t bring one, it’s as simple as that! No one is forcing you to do it or to pay these fees.
Same goes for seat selection (in fact, paying for that is even worse). Please don’t pay for that… just check-in online 24 hours before your flight and you’ll choose for free. Or worse case scenario, just sit wherever, you’ll survive. And keep that money for an extra trip.
Other Airline News
Here are a couple of other noteworthy stories related to airlines that were in the news recently.
Ryanair to start charging for full-size carry-ons
Like most Ultra Low-Cost Carriers (ULCCs), Europe’s largest airline Ryanair will now charge a fee for a full-size carry-on (like they should). That’s the whole concept of ULCCs: unbundled fares.
I fly to Europe with just a small backpack anyway since that’s what’s free on transatlantic ULCCs. I’m glad the cost of other people’s carry-on will no longer be built into my fare when I use Ryanair in my multi-ticket itineraries to travel around Europe for as low as $13 per flight, all taxes included, as I did many times last year.
Air Canada personal data compromised
This one is very recent, we don’t know much other than Air Canada has admitted that the personal information of about 20,000 travelers has been improperly accessed through their app.
We’ll be following this for you, but know that all 1.7M users have been automatically logged out of the app as a security precaution and will need to change their password.
Aeroplan acquired by Air Canada & partners
Aeroplan has agreed to a deal with Air Canada, TD, CIBC and Visa Canada and will therefore no longer be a standalone program after 2020: the transition to Air Canada‘s new loyalty program will be easier.
That’s in fact likely to be bad news, as we were hoping for an all-out war for consumers’ loyalty between the two, which would have inevitably meant better offers for us.
We’ll have to wait and see for more details, as nothing definitive has been announced about the new program. But you can still earn Aeroplan Miles and use them before June 2020, that’s still a long time away.
We’ll have a lot more on that in our brand-new travel hacking section this Fall, in the meantime you can check out the best credit card offers in Canada to start travel hacking and get hundreds of dollars in free travel.
So there you go, that’s why we don’t care at all about high bag fees. We just avoid them, and you should too (if you want to travel more). What do you think?
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