With the airlines baggage charges in disarray and the major airlines in a rare divergence when it comes to a basic costs, Delta’s shocking increase in their 2nd-bag-charge might be a more reasonable path than the American/United/USAirways group with their $15 first-checked-bag charge.

Initially, this $50 charge for the second checked bag startled me. I didn’t think the increase in rates would come so fast — I was actually planning to writing a column warning travelers to get ready for an increase to $35 a bag. But, after reflection, this kind of increase treats those extra bags as the excess baggage and freight that they are.

Afterall, compared with any alternative, Delta’s charges are reasonable.

According to the New York Times, “On domestic flights, the fee on Delta for checking a third, fourth or fifth bag, now $80 for each bag, will rise to $125 apiece.”

Delta warned on its Web site that if a customer has an extra piece of baggage that goes over the weight limit and the size limit, the passenger will be charged three times — once for the extra bag, once for going over the size limit and once for going over the weight limit. Who knows what will happen to travelers carrying skis and golf clubs?

Perhaps, this shift in baggage charges will give American, United and USAirways the window to align their baggage policies with Delta and keep the legacy carriers with similar overall fare structures. For the majority of airline passengers, the Delta approach makes economic sense and eliminates the structural problems associated with the first-checked-bag charges.