Delta's becoming the first major legacy carrier to sell trans-Atlantic tickets without at least one free checked bag, starting this week. Up to now, all but the budget carriers have included at least one free checked bag.
'Basic economy' fares, with baggage charges and other restrictions, have spread among U.S. carriers in the past two years, competing with the ultra-low-cost carriers such as Spirit and Allegiant, who earn much of their income from fees. This is the first move by a U.S. major into that area on routes to Europe, where the low-cost competition comes from Norwegian, WOW and others.
Delta will charge $60 for the first bag and $100 for a second, a charge slightly higher than its low-cost competitors. The legacy airlines have been frank about their desire to not sell the basic economy seats; both American and Delta have said that about half the passengers who click on basic economy ultimately buy the more expensive choice—but that customer is already on the airline's site, and won away from the ULCCs.
At least one other traditional airline, TAP Portugal, has a no-checked-bag fare for flights between the U.S. and Portugal, but at this point, it appears to be offered only through corporate-focused travel agencies such as Expedia's Egencia Corporate Travel department.