Airline baggage fees can derail your otherwise perfectly managed travel budget! Sometimes you aren’t even alerted to baggage fees until after booking a ticket, or it can be hard to find the exact fees on the airline’s website. So, if you don’t travel light, here’s what airlines are charging: a helpful guide to free and cheap baggage fees.
JetBlue is a rarity among airlines because it’s one of the few that is generally priced lower than the others, and doesn’t try to get you with baggage fees. The first checked bag is free, and the second checked bag is $40.
The first checked bag can be as low as $17, won’t cost more than $25, and can be free to some international destinations. The same pricing applies to the second checked bag. The airline also bases in-flight pet fees on the size of the pet –as low as $35. Other airlines usually charge a flat fee anywhere from $50 to $300.
The first two checked bags are free, but can’t weigh more than 50 pounds each. Any additional bags are $50 each. Most airlines increase the price with each bag. Military members can check an unlimited number of bags free, up to 80 pounds each.
US Airways has one of the largest weight limits for carry-on bags at 40 pounds so in many cases, you won’t need to check a bag. But if you do, the first checked bag is $25 and the second is $35.
Fliers on WestJet check their first bag for free, and pay just $20 for a second bag. Additional bags will cost $50.
Air Canada does not charge passengers traveling within Canada for their first checked bag, and the fee for the second is just $20. However, additional bags beyond two will cost $100 each and travelers flying from the US pay $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second.
Allegiant gives passengers a price cut when they declare online that they’ll be checking a bag, charging just $15 to $35 for the first bag. Passengers who wait until arriving at the airport to declare a bag pay $50 per bag.
Airtran, Alaska Airlines and Frontier Airlines all charge $25 for the first checked bag, but Frontier reduces that fee to $20 if you declare your bag online in advance. The second-bag fees vary by airline though, with Airtran increasing its fee to $35, Alaska still charging $25, and Frontier increasing the fee to $30.
Lufthansa, which flies mainly to and throughout Europe, charges no fees, but passengers are limited to checking three bags.
Most airlines do not charge their business or first-class passengers baggage fees, so always calculate if the difference in price between an economy ticket and upper class ticket is perhaps less than what the baggage fees will be. Also, if you carry an airline-affiliated credit card, you can often get the baggage fees waived when traveling on that airline.