Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Many customers admire Delta for its more customer-centric approach to being a big airline.

Well, relatively more customer-centric.

After all, Delta has even shown a little resistance to shoving as many seats into its planes as possible.

Moreover, it tends to be followed in many of its decisions by United Airlines and American

Sadly, Delta has just succumbed to United's way.

USA Today reports that the airline is raising its baggage fee to $30. For the first bag, that is.

The second bag will cost you $40. In both cases, this is a $5 increase.

But why might Delta be doing this? The airline confirmed the fee hike, but would only offer comment on how to avoid it: 

Delta offers a variety of optional products and services and routinely makes fee adjustments, yet there are several ways for a customer to check a bag with Delta without paying a fee: Active members of the U.S. military traveling on orders or for personal travel; Attain any level of SkyMiles Medallion Status, starting with Silver; Book your flight with an eligible Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express; Fly confirmed in First Class or Delta One.

In essence, then, it's ordinary, occasional flyers who will have to pay.

Our hope is to reinvest in a more enjoyable and caring flight experience for you and all of our customers.

Some hope, I hear you chortle.

It's a touch odd, though, that Delta has chosen to hurtle down this particular rut-filled runway. 

Yes, it was the first to create Sub-Cattle Class -- aka Basic Economy -- something that other airlines have copied with even more draconian restrictions. 

For many airlines, fees are a way to keep the cost of actual fares a touch lower. They also pay a different level of tax on fees than they do on fares.

There is one curious aspect to all this.

While Southwest has resolutely held firm against baggage fees, American has cheerily charged them.

Other than Southwest, though, it's now the only Big Four airline that hasn't raised its fees. 

I contacted American to ask whether its own fee-raising announcement will follow shortly. The airline declined to comment.

I wouldn't, of course, be surprised if American will have made its own announcement to raise fees by the time you read this.

Passengers might find this news tiresome in the extreme. They should, though, get used to it.

Just as every iPhone costs more than the last, so one can easily envisage the raising of baggage fees -- and other nickel-and-diming elements -- to be an annual event.

Airlines are determined to attract customers with (apparently) relatively low fares and then nudge them to pay more to make their experience slightly more tolerable.

They've largely succeeded in making passengers believe this is the new reality.

What used to be free now isn't.

As United Airlines president Scott Kirby insists, a flight on a plane is like going to a concert

It's just that the music is a lot more somber. 

Published on: Sep 19, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.