Tips to Save on Checked Bag Fees for Major Airlines

Tips to Save on Checked Bag Fees for Major Airlines

In 2024, several major US airlines, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and United Airlines, made the decision to increase their checked-bag fees. While this may be an inconvenience for travelers, there are ways to minimize these expenses and save some money.

1. Pack Light and Travel with Carry-Ons

One of the most effective ways to avoid checked-bag fees is to pack light and travel with carry-on luggage only. Most airlines allow passengers to bring one carry-on bag and one personal item, such as a purse or laptop bag, free of charge. By utilizing this allowance, you can bypass the need for checked bags altogether.

2. Know the Baggage Policies

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the baggage policies of the airlines you plan to fly with. Each airline has its own rules and regulations regarding baggage allowances, sizes, and weight limits. By understanding these policies in advance, you can avoid any surprises and make informed decisions about your luggage.

3. Consider Upgrading to Premium Economy or Business Class

While this option may not be feasible for everyone, upgrading to premium economy or business class can sometimes include additional baggage allowances. Depending on the airline and the class of service, you may be entitled to check more bags for free or at a reduced cost. This can be a worthwhile investment if you frequently travel with extra luggage.

4. Join Frequent Flyer Programs

Many airlines offer frequent flyer programs that provide various perks and benefits to members. Some of these programs include complimentary checked bags as part of their rewards. By joining these programs and accumulating points or miles, you can potentially waive or reduce your checked-bag fees.

5. Utilize Credit Card Benefits

Some credit cards offer travel benefits that can help offset the cost of checked-bag fees. For example, certain cards provide annual statement credits for airline incidental fees, which can be used to cover baggage charges. Additionally, some credit cards offer complimentary checked bags as a perk. Be sure to check the terms and conditions of your credit card to see if you have access to these benefits.

6. Consider Shipping Luggage

If you frequently travel with heavy or oversized luggage, it may be more cost-effective to ship your bags ahead of time. Shipping services, such as FedEx or UPS, can often provide competitive rates compared to airline baggage fees. This option not only saves you money but also eliminates the hassle of lugging around heavy bags at the airport.

7. Pack Strategically

When packing your bags, it’s important to be strategic and maximize the use of space. Rolling clothes instead of folding them can help save space and prevent wrinkles. Utilizing packing cubes or compression bags can also help compress your belongings, allowing you to fit more into your carry-on luggage.

Remember, it’s always crucial to read the fine print and understand the terms and conditions of the airlines you’re flying with. Baggage policies can vary, so staying informed will help you navigate the system and avoid unnecessary fees.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. Always consult with a professional advisor or the airline directly for specific guidance on baggage fees and policies.

Source: CNBC Finance

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