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Airlines Say 'Happy New Year' With New Fees

Baggage handlers unloading luggage from a Spirit Airlines plane
Baggage handlers unloading luggage from a Spirit Airlines planePhotograph by Moris Moreno/The New York Times via Redux

Airlines are ringing in the new year with a cherished ritual: new and higher fees.

Virgin Atlantic will assess a £25 ($41) fee each way on long-haul flights for coach-class passengers who wish to select a seat more than 24 hours before departure. The dun begins on April 1 on flights from London to Las Vegas before expanding to the rest of the airline’s longer flights over the next 60 days. Analysts interpreted Virgin Atlantic’s seat-assignment fee as one impact of Delta Air Lines’ 49 percent ownership stake in the airline. That type of new fee could also eventually lead to Europe’s major airlines deciding to assess fees on the first bag for trans-Atlantic flights, Wolfe Research analyst Hunter Keay wrote.