Starting April 21, every bag checked in will be charged
Budget airline AirAsia Bhd will charge a fee for handling checked baggage for flights booked from April 21 onwards.
Group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes said the fee was only applicable for bookings made after April 21 and would be implemented across AirAsia’s network.
“One of the major causes is obviously fuel … You use more fuel when the aircraft is heavier. What we are going to do is that every bag that you checked in, we will charge RM5 per bag, but if you buy online on the days before then we will charge RM3 per bag. AirAsia X has been doing this and has proven quite successful.
Hence, we are going to do it at AirAsia from April 21,” he said at a media briefing here yesterday on its plan to impose checked baggage handling fee.
He said the fee would not be imposed on customers who already booked their flights.
Fernandes said the airline has to shoulder huge costs, especially in an area that people generally “fly with the house” such as Indonesia and China.
“So, this is a way of passing on some of the extra costs directly to the people who need those extra bags,” he said.
He said the move has already been done in Europe and had proven successful.
“In fact, some of the premium airlines (in Europe) have been doing it,” he said. Fernandes, however, said passengers travelling with only hand luggage would not be charged.
He said previously, the cost of checked baggage was automatically included in the fees.
“This means that those travelling with only hand luggage were subsidising those travelling with heavier checked baggage. Now, the guests will pay for the bags they wish to travel with,” he said.
On whether AirAsia would also raise fuel surcharge, Fernandes said: “We have no intention even though the jet oil in today’s market is at US$130 per barrel.”
Fernandes said the imposition of the fee was expected to help the company defray up to 10 per cent of the fuel cost while at the same time keep its fares low.
“We have to find new and innovative ways to keep our fares low so that the consumers are not hurt. It is not much (contribution from the new fee), but it adds up with all the other things we are doing currently such as priority boarding, selling merchandise and food on the flights,” he said.
Fernandes said AirAsia would soon introduce the use of mobile phone services.
“We going to introduce that (mobile phone on planes)… we are working on it now and this is another innovative and value-added idea from us,” he said.