PAL CUTS BAGGAGE LIMIT ON TRANS-PACIFIC FLIGHTS
MANILA, JUNE 17, 2008 (STAR) By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes - Record-high fuel prices have forced flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) to join other major carriers in their move to reduce baggage allowance on trans-Pacific routes as a way of cutting operational cost.
PAL said it will cap the weight of the two pieces of free checked baggage for each passenger on flights to and from the United States (including Guam) and Canada at 50 pounds (23 kilograms) per piece for tickets issued or re-issued starting July 1, 2008.
Tickets issued before July 1 – but for travel from July 1 onward – still entitle the passenger to the erstwhile free baggage weight limit of 70 pounds (32 kilograms) per piece.
Among the air carriers that have earlier adopted the reduction are Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, China Airlines, EVA Airways, Asiana, Continental Airlines and American Airlines.
The six largest US carriers have gone even further. American, United Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, Continental and US Airways have all recently imposed fees on checked baggage on domestic US routes.
American, United and US Air now charge their economy-class passengers $15 each way for the first checked baggage and $25 for the second while Delta, Northwest and Continental bill $25 only for the second bag.
The latter three are expected to soon follow the others’ lead in charging even the first piece of luggage, thus virtually eliminating free baggage allowance for economy fliers on interior US routes.
The draconian measures are part of efforts by airlines worldwide to stay afloat in the face of surging fuel prices. Oil touched a record $139.12 per barrel in trading last June 5 and currently trades at around $135 per barrel.
Prices are double what they were a year ago and have surged six-fold since 2002. As a result, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), of which PAL is a member, has forecast a massive global industry loss of $6.1 billion this year.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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