What To Expect To Pay For Checked Luggage On US And Foreign Flights

After my divorce 5 years ago, my air travel increased dramatically.  I’ve flown more in the past 5 years than in the 40 years before that, making numerous flights to be with my children.  For the first year or so, when I checked a bag there was no fee.

Around late 2008 I was charged for the first time by Delta Airlines…$25 each way for my checked bag.  Given my financial situation, this put me in a pickle and after that I noticed other airlines starting to charge these fees where they hadn’t before.
I started traveling light to avoid those fees…and I still do.  It can be a task to keep abreast, as the baggage fees for different airlines keep changing. The fees for overweight luggage and oversized luggage have risen from $50 dollars to as high as over $600.
In many cases, it’s possible to avoid those extra airline baggage fees or at least know what to expect from your respective airline.  The obvious first tip is what I mentioned above…pack light.   I learned this the hard way back in 2008 by getting surprised with the fee at check-in.  Why was I surprised?  Simple…
I didn’t do my homework.  There are so many resources available online (and I’m a geek) that there was no excuse…and I knew it.  Which brings me to my second tip
Do your homework.  The second tip is to be sure to read and find out the airline’s baggage fee rates before booking a flight. And if you fly often on one airline joining a Frequent Flyer program with the airline you use often helps you save on baggage fees for luggage. Another tip is to fly with a discount airline that doesn’t charge passengers airline baggage fees. If you can travel by bus or train do so most don’t charge the high fees airlines do. Upgrade your luggage to a good quality lightweight durable material to help defray those baggage fees for airlines.
Each airline has different baggage fees. While varying, for the most part they’re within $5 or less of each other.  Delta Airlines charges $23 for luggage each way in the US and foreign flights. You can prepay online or at the airport the cost is $25. This is for the first checked bag by a passenger. The second bag is $32 each way. Overweight bags can range from $50 to $600. There are some exemptions, like first class or business passengers, SkyMiles and World Class members, and active duty military personnel. Check about Delta baggage fees when booking your flights.
JetBlue has the first checked bag for passengers free. The second bag is $35 dollars each way. Active duty military personnel are exempt from the fees. Overweight and oversized bags range from $50 to $100 per bag. Check with JetBlue about airline baggage fees before booking a flight.
United Airlines charges $25 per bag for economy flights and $35 for a second bag on economy flights. Other fees range from $35 to $70 for a second bag depending on flight and weight. Oversized luggage and overweight bags are $100 each.  First class and business travelers are exempt and members of Global Services, Mileage Plus 1K, Premier Executive, and Premier Star Alliance Gold or Silver.  Also, active duty military personnel are exempt. Again, check about baggage fees for airlines before booking the flight.
Again, there are many resources available online to help you know ahead of time what the checked bag fees are for your flight.  You can check directly with the airline with whom you’re flying or use a free online resource like airlinebagfees.com.   You may also find this information if you’re booking through a service like Kayak or Expedia.
NOTES:  I am a writer and I do some articles and blog posts for AirlineBagFees.com, a free online resource for baggage and other fees for airline travel.
Mark Boyd writes about a wide range of topics including music, marketing, background checks, business and travel, including information on the changing status of airline baggage fees for airlinebagfees.com, a free resource for checked baggage charges for all airlines.  He is a father of 3 and enjoys time with his children, being a geek, making music, traveling and hiking.