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Continental to charge $15 for first checked bag

/ Source: The Associated Press

Continental Airlines Inc. said Friday it is charging some coach customers $15 for a first checked bag, matching a similar fee imposed by other carriers.

The fee took effect immediately on tickets for travel in the United States and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada for travel starting on Oct. 7 or later.

Bags that exceed weight and size restrictions could be subject to additional fees, the airline said.

Continental said the fee wouldn't apply to elite members of its frequent-flier program, those in first- or business-class seats, customers traveling on full-fare economy tickets, or military personnel and their families traveling on official orders.

Most U.S. airlines charge customers who check more than one piece of luggage, saying the fees are needed to help offset high fuel costs.

Among major carriers, AMR Corp.'s American Airlines was the first to impose a fee for the first checked bag. Continental's decision leaves Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. as the only holdout among the six so-called legacy carriers.