Recently, several major U.S. airlines increased their fees for checked-in bags.
Passengers of Delta and American Airlines will now be paying $30 per one checked-in bag instead of $25. And the second checked-in bag will cost $40 instead of $35.
Earlier this year, jetBlue and United Airlines did exactly the same and increased their prices to $30 for the first checked-in bag and $40 for the second.
Now here’s some good news. There are ways to avoid these fees.
It might sound absurd, but sometimes, it’s cheaper to ship your bags! You can even use ordinary postal services like FedEx and UPS. For example, shipping 40 pounds from New York to Washington D.C. with FedEx will cost you $30, and it won’t matter if it’s your first, second or third bag.
Alternatively, there are companies like Luggage Free and Luggage Forward that are dedicated specifically to the transportation of luggage. They might be a good option, if you are traveling with significantly overweight suitcases. Depending on the airline you’ll be charged somewhere between $200 and $400 extra for a bag heavier than 71 pounds. With Luggage Free, an oversized bag up to 82 pounds will cost you $143. And Luggage Forward will charge you $129 for an oversized bag up to 75 pounds. Regardless of what you choose, I highly recommend buying a small luggage scale to help you plan ahead.
Another way to save money is by obtaining airline credit cards. This is an especially good option for frequent flyers. For instance, the United MileagePlus club card will cost you $450 per year and will allow you to check in up to two bags for free. This means that if you are flying with United more than four times a year with two bags, it’s definitely worth it. Similarly, Delta’s SkyMile gold card will cost you $95 a year (first year waived) and will let you check in one bag for free on every flight.