PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – The state-owned Caribbean Airlines (CAL) says it will now charge passengers for a second checked-in bag despite the “growing industry trend of airlines moving to charge passengers for all checked bags”.
In a statement posted on its website, the airline said that while the first checked bag continues to be free, it will cost passengers US$25 for a second bag, plus applicable taxes.
“Caribbean Airlines has resisted moving to this policy, but in light of most of its competitors charging passengers for all their checked bags, it is left with no choice but to match industry practice to remain competitive.”
It said that while its competitors continue to showcase low fares, “they conveniently fail to mention that bag fees – some in excess of US$100 – are charged to customers.
“Caribbean Airlines assures its passengers that our fee of US$25 for the second bag is the lowest in the industry,” the airline said, outlining the schedule of payment for flights to Europe, and the Caribbean.
It said that the new policy will be implemented in two phases.
Phase one takes effect on tickets purchased on or after December 18, 2014 for travel from January 15, 2015, on all flights between the Caribbean and Toronto. Phase two takes effect on tickets purchased on or after February 1, 2015 for travel from April 15, 2015, on all flights throughout the rest of the network.
“As the airline industry becomes increasingly competitive, at Caribbean we see no need to be tough on our customers and continue to exude warmth in every customer interaction.
“While Caribbean Airlines is following industry practice on the introduction of bag fees, only last month it led the way by passing on the savings of lower oil prices and eliminated the fuel surcharge on 98 per cent of its routes,” the cash-strapped airline added.
Earlier this year, Finance Minister Larry Howai said that CAL would suffer a loss of just under TT$100 million (One TT dollar = US 0.16 cents) for its financial year 2013.
Howai said that the airline had been enduring a difficult period but may now be emerging from it.
“CAL has had some struggles getting its accounts done, they should be able to bring them up in a couple of months. It hasn’t been very good news but they have narrowed the loss down,” he said.