In 2014, U.S. airlines generated combined revenue of more than $3.35 billion dollars in baggage fees alone, not counting the income earned from carry-on luggage. While these fees seem here to stay, here are some ways to reduce or avoid many common airline fees.
1. Ship Your Luggage to Your Destination Ahead of Time
It might seem strange to fly without your luggage, but shipping your bags via UPS, FedEx or other services can save you as much as 50 percent in baggage fees. While many airlines do not offer insurance for certain valuable items if they are lost or stolen, shipping companies insure these same valuables in transit.
It’s something to consider, especially if you’re traveling for a lengthy time or over a long distance. Not having to deal with baggage claim or lugging heavy bags through terminals is attractive.
Insider tip: Ask if the hotel charges holding fees should your luggage arrives before you do.
2. Join the Airline’s Loyalty Program
You can often escape airline baggage fees by signing up for the airline’s loyalty program, which can usually be done on the company’s website. Obviously, the more often you fly, the better your rewards are going to be. Some major U.S. airlines offer free checked bags as part of their loyalty membership perks. Our travel planners can tell you which airlines waive fees or at least offer a discount.
3. Weigh Your Luggage Before Leaving Home
Excess weight bags are more expensive to check. Usually, 50 pounds is the limit and anything over results in a higher fee. Weighing your own bags means you’ll know you’re being charged the accurate fee. If the bag weighs more at the airport than it did before you left home, you can request a different scale.
4. Be Choosey Choosing Airlines
As experienced travel planners, we know which airlines offer the best perks and the cheapest baggage fees as well as other charges. Every single airline charges differently, so it’s our job and pleasure to comparison shop to get you the best fare and itinerary. One of the best perks about having a travel planner is that we share our knowledge and connections to get you the perks you may not have known about otherwise.
5. Pack Light and Carry On When Possible
There is no shortage of advice on packing light. One color palette so everything matches. Mix and match pieces. Two pairs of shoes max. For now at least, there are just a few airlines charging fees for carry-on bags too. Most are not so take advantage of free carry-on baggage while you can.
These are just a few of the ways that travelers can save money on baggage fees. That’s what we are here for. As your travel planner, it’s up to us to ensure you receive everything you’re entitled to and some times, a little surprise perk if we can.