It’s not uncommon for airlines to charge up to $35 for checking bags at the gate and another $45 for carry-on bags. The good news? You don’t have to take budget-busting baggage fees lying down.
With that information in your back pocket, try the following tips to cut those charges down to size before boarding that plane.
Become a premium flier. If you fly one airline regularly, check to see if they have a “premium” flier (or a frequent flier) program. Such programs usually come with benefits like one free checked bag.
Travel light. Onebag.com says that the maximum size for any carry-on bag is 45-inches around the bag, with a limit from end-to-end at 21-inches. So before you fly, get out your ruler and check to see if you can pack your bag to the max — and avoid the fee altogether.
Fly Southwest or JetBlue. You may have seen the “It’s On” commercial from Southwest (Stock Quote: LUV), which touts the fact that it doesn’t charge for up to two carry-on bags — and neither does JetBlue (Stock Quote: JBLU) (but it does charge for more than one bag). If you’re particularly fee-phobic, avoid Spirit Airlines. They’ve even begun charging for some carry-on bags — as much as $45 per bag.
As with any budget effort, a little preparation goes a long way in reducing those airport baggage fees. Focus on knowing what the airline charges, traveling light, and cutting any deal with your regular airline that cuts your costs.