Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
TORONTO — Cayman Airways is dropping its long-standing policy of two free checked bags in Economy and bringing in checked bag fees on international flights, for tickets purchased on or after Aug. 1.
The changes also include a “drastic reduction” in fees for excess, overweight and oversized baggage.
The existing baggage allowances and fees for domestic flights between Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac and Little Cayman will remain unchanged, according to the airline.
International connections meanwhile will be subject to the applicable international baggage fee.
Cayman Airways doesn’t have any Canadian gateways in its network currently, however many Canadians connect to the carrier via its U.S. gateways including Miami, Chicago, Tampa and New York (JFK).
“While we compete aggressively on airfares with other airlines on certain routes, it is usually not readily evident to passengers when comparing total pricing, that competing airlines use checked bag fees to compensate for lower fares, resulting in a higher total price,” says Cayman Airways President and CEO Fabian Whorms.
He adds: “The new changes to our baggage policy are an attempt to level the playing field in this regard, so Cayman Airways can compete better on airfare prices.”
Cayman Airways’ Business Class passengers will continue to receive three free checked bags on all routes. Sir Turtle Rewards Platinum Level Members will also continue to receive two free checked bags, while Sir Turtle Rewards Gold Level Members will receive the first checked bag free. The standard weight allowance remains at 55lbs per bag.
As of Aug. 1 the reduced fees for excess baggage are as follows: for third, fourth and fifth checked bags the fee will now be US$50 per bag (was previously US$125 each); for sixth, seventh and eighth checked bags the fee for each of these bags will now be US$75 each (was previously US$200 each).
The reduced fees for overweight bags are as follows: 56-70lbs, US$50 per bag (was previously US$75 each); and for checked bags 71-99lbs, US$75 per bag (was previously US$175 each). The reduced fees for oversized bags are now charged at US$75 per bags between 62-80 linear inches (was previously US$150 each).
Baggage fees for Economy Class tickets purchased on or after August 1 will warrant a fee at the check-in counter of US$20 per bag each way for the first and second checked bags on all international flights, with the exception of New York and Chicago flights where the fees will be US$25 for the first checked bag and US$35 for the second checked bag, each way.
“For many years, Cayman Airways has held strain, while almost all airlines have introduced checked baggage fees,” says Whorms. “With substantial increases over the years in our operating and station handling costs, Cayman Airways now finds itself at a point where it has become necessary to introduce a new fee structure, which will allow the airline to better cover its costs.”
Whorms says Cayman Airways’ new checked bag fees are still lower than industry standard fees. “Economy passengers travelling with more than two bags will actually save under the new policy, as the combined price of three or more bags will be much less than before, due to the new reduction in excess, overweight and oversized rates,” he says.
The airline’s Chairman of the Board, Philip Rankin, added: “While the airline would have preferred to maintain its long-standing policy of two free checked bags in Economy, the introduction of checked bag fees was inevitable. Every effort has been made, however, to make the new baggage policy as reasonable as possible for our valued passengers. Cayman Airways has been a huge contributor to the economic development of the Cayman Islands for 50 years, and we ask for everyone’s continued loyal support as the airline works diligently at improving its financial viability amidst the challenges of increasing costs.”
More information about the new baggage fee policy is at caymanairways.com/baggagepolicy.