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Citing fuel costs, United bumps fees for checked bags on domestic flights $5

Passengers check in at the United Airlines ticket counter in Missoula this week. The airline announced Friday it was increasing the cost of a checked bag to $30, up $5. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

United Airlines increased the fee it charges for checked bags on Friday, saying the added cost is needed to compensate for the rising price of fuel.

The fee to check a bag includes domestic flights, along with flights to the Caribbean and Central America. United, the nation’s third largest carrier, serves Missoula with flights to Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The fee climbs $5 to $30 on Friday’s announcement.

“We are making adjustments to our checked bag fees in select markets – most of which have not been changed for the past eight years,” United said in a statement.

U.S. jet fuel prices are 20 percent more expensive than a year ago, according to S&P Global Platts. Airlines have added or increased fees as jet fuel costs eats into their profits.

Several airlines have also have added new classes with no-frills service.

Travelers paid U.S. airlines a record $4.6 billion to check bags last year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.