Summer Save Series: Avoid Checked Bag Fees

If you want to save on airfare should watch out for checked luggage fees. These fees are typically $25 or $40 per checked bag, which could add up to hundreds of dollars for a family on a round-trip flight.

There are numerous ways to avoid the costs of checked bags, including flying airlines that don't charge fees for bags and packing carry-on luggage only.

Also consider the prospect of signing up for an airline credit card that lets bags fly free.

There are numerous options available, and many offer a huge welcome bonuses when you sign up.

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JetBlue and United Airlines increased their prices to $30 for the first checked-in bag and $40 for the second. 

It might sound crazy, but it’s often 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. 

Another way to save money is by obtaining airline credit cards. This is especially good 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. 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.

Weigh your bags before you leave for the airport

Whether you fly Southwest to avoid paying for checked baggage or use elite status or an airline credit card to avoid the added cost, you have to remember that these perks only apply to luggage under certain weight limits. Most domestic airlines set the limit at 50 pounds for checked baggage and they'll charge more for baggage that exceeds this weight limit — even if you have a free checked baggage perk.

If you tend to pack a lot of heavy items, make sure your baggage doesn't exceed weight limits before you leave the airport. Weigh it agin on your return flight too!


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