July 16, 2008

Northwest Airlines is matching several other U.S. airlines by charging $15 for a passenger's first checked bag, for domestic travel as well as flights between the United States and Canada. Passengers still will be allowed two free checked bags on international flights. The new policy already has taken effect for tickets sold from July 10, for travel starting Aug. 28. Earlier this year, Northwest raised its price for a second checked bag to $25. The airline's president and CEO, Doug Steenland, said the increase "is a temporary service fee to partially offset our fuel costs. As fuel comes down, we will revisit this decision."

As of Nov. 1, US Airways no longer will show inflight movies on domestic flights shorter than two and a half hours, nor on flights to the Caribbean or Mexico. Explaining the rationale for this move, US Airways officials said removal of the 500-pound video systems from its airplanes will save the company about $10 million a year in fuel costs.

ExpressJet Airlines will suspend its Delta-branded commercial flights as of Sept. 2, citing rising fuel costs. ExpressJet still will operate its Continental Express flights to more than 150 destinations, and the company also will maintain its fleet of 30 charter airplanes. Passengers holding tickets for travel after Sept. 1 can get a refund from ExpressJet Reservations (888-958-9538).