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American said it would assess the first-bag charge beginning with travel on June 15. The new charge applies to passengers who purchase discounted coach fare tickets within the United States.

Passengers who have already bought tickets for travel after June 15 are exempt from the first-bag charge.

The extra baggage fees will only exacerbate the situation on already crowded planes, said Patricia Friend, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants, a union representing 55,000 employees at 20 airlines.

“Too many passengers will now try to carry on even more rather than pay a fee,” Ms. Friend said.

“It’s the end of an era,” said Robert W. Mann Jr., an airline industry consultant in Port Washington, N.Y. Referring to the range of fees that customers face, Mr. Mann added, “Soon, like freight, we will pay by the pound for passenger air travel.”


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