Bringing your luggage doesn't have to be expensive

  Tips for Saving on Checked Baggage Fees


It seems like pretty much every airline these days is charging for checked bags. After a spike in fuel costs caused airlines to raise their fares a few years ago, many passengers decided on a “staycation” instead of flying.


With less passengers in the sky, airlines needed to find new ways to “nickel and dime” customers. After testing the waters with charging for checked bags, it looks like the idea of fees for handing over your luggage is here to stay.


But there are in fact a few ways to avoid these pesky fees when traveling. By just doing a little investigating (like I always do when booking airfare), I found five ways to completely avoid baggage fees once and for all.


Don’t Over Pack: I have to admit that years ago over packing was a big problem of mine. I then realized that most of the clothes packed in my luggage were never being used. So instead of carrying around my closet around the world, I decided that packing light was the only way to go. Besides dragging along less baggage, I was also able to use my smaller suitcase. By doing so, it fit on most plane rides which wound up saving me big bucks on checked baggage fees.


Weigh Your Carry-On:  While it might sound a little crazy at first, weighing your carry-on can save you time and money at the airport. Since airlines all have luggage weight restrictions (i.e. Delta’s limit is 40lbs.), it is a good idea to check with your carrier before heading to the airport. So lose the useless extra pair of shoes and wear your heavy winter jacket to the airport to avoid your bag being forced to check-in.


Be Loyal & Be Fee Free: Did you know that if you are an elite member of an airline you do not have to pay for checked baggage? My advice is to stick with one airline (if possible) and rack up those frequent flyer miles.  Not only will you have accumulated enough miles for a free flight, but so will your bags!


Mail Your Luggage: Depending on where you’re headed, it sometimes makes more sense financially to pack up your goods and ship them via the U.S. Postal Service, UPS or FedEx.  Always compare delivery rates and the airlines checked baggage fees before doing so and you might wind up saving some cash and stress at the airport.


Let Your Hotel Pay For It: Believe it or not some hotels are actually paying customer’s checked baggage fees in order to get bookings. Big names like Loews and Kimpton have offered to cover the fees over the last few years, so don’t feel weird asking your hotel if they offer the same policy as well.


Know before you go! Check out CheapOair’s comprehensive listing of airline baggage policies & procedures.


Flickr: Adam UXB Smith



One Response

  1. Leigh

    If you’re flying either Air Canada or West Jet you’ll be happy to know you can still check 2 pieces of baggage for free wherever they fly; both airlines fly routes between the States and Canada.


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