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WestJet starts charging fee for first checked bag

Watch above: WestJet began charging $25 for a checked bag on some flights. Shallima Maharaj has the details and reaction from travellers.

EDMONTON – Starting Wednesday, WestJet is charging some of its flyers a $25 fee on their first checked bag.

The $25 fee applies to the first checked bag on economy fares. That includes flights within Canada and travel from Canada to the United States.

Most passengers Global News spoke to weren’t thrilled about the fee, but admitted it likely wouldn’t change their travel plans.

“I’m paying the $25 dollars,” said traveller Reetu Shergill. “I’m not happy about it.

“Probably try to pack a bit lighter,” said another passenger, “but we’re going for two weeks and it’s on the west coast, so you kind of have to pack for variable weather.”

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“It’s an extra cost so you’re always going to be looking at different air fares: Sunwing and Air Canada and WestJet,” said traveller Cory Gordon. “You’re going to be comparing them all for the best price at all possible. It’s going to affect everybody.”

Some customers will be exempt from the baggage fee, including those who travel to WestJet’s international destinations, like Mexico, Central America, and Europe.

READ MORE: Air Canada to charge $25 fee for first checked bag on economy fare

The airline says the move is meant to liberate travellers.

“It’s cheaper to fly now than it’s been in decades and the reality now is people who fly frequently are used to this,” said WestJet’s Robert Palmer. “We’re one of the last airlines in North America – in fact, in the world – to implement a fee for a first checked bag.”

READ MORE: WestJet announces fee for first checked bag 

“People have been asking us to try to make things as inexpensive as possible, to take fees and items that are bundled together and packages out,” he added.

“They want to have things unbundled and be able to choose on a more a la carte basis and that is what this does.”

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The $25 fee applies to bookings that were made on or after Sept. 15 for travel on or after Oct. 29.

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