American Cuts Flights, Will Charge $15 for First Bag

Airline industry 'not built to withstand oil prices at $125 a barrel,' CEO says
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2008 11:01 AM CDT
A lone traveler walks in the deserted baggage claim area for American Airlines, Thursday, April 10, 2008, at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – American Airlines is cutting flights, jobs, and carrying capacity in its effort to withstand skyrocketing oil prices, the company announced today—and it's adding a $15 fee for some customers' first checked bag. US capacity could fall 12% as up to 85 planes are retired, the Wall Street Journal reports. The announcement sent airline stocks plummeting.

No other carrier has responded so aggressively to fuel costs, which have doubled since last year. “The airline industry as it is constituted today was not built to withstand oil prices at $125 a barrel,” said American’s CEO. “Our company and industry simply cannot afford to sit by hoping for conditions to improve.”