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How Much Are Airline Baggage Fees and How to Avoid Them?

airport baggage and baggage handler

When you travel for vacation, you are presented with a challenging situation:

Do I pack as light as possible to avoid airline baggage fees? Or to check luggage and pay the high fees the airline charges?

After all, there’s a possibility that your flight costs as much as or possibly more than your vacation. You’re likely paying for long-term parking. And the last thing you’ll want to do is add to the cost of your vacation.

So let’s give you some data to help you decide if you should pay to check your luggage or stuff as much as you can into a carry-on.

Now, before we get into it, let’s make sure we’re looking at everything realistically.

How much can you actually pack into a carry-on?

Think about it:

Let’s make the assumption you’re going on vacation for at least 5 days.

You’ll need clothes for at least 3 days if you’re willing to pay for laundry services. Those clothes will likely include beachwear, casual wear, and dress or formal wear. You’ll probably have a few different outfits from each of those categories.

If you’re bringing more than just yourself, multiply the baggage fees by that much more.

Are you a golfer or going to a ski resort?

You probably want to bring your own equipment with you. And you can best believe it’s going to cost more than a checked suitcase. Because the airline doesn’t just charge by size. It also goes by weight.

Later in this post, we’re going to show you how you can get all this shipped for WAY less than what the airline will charge.

Now that we’ve got the situation established. Let’s get into the actual cost of checked baggage fees.

How Much Are Airline Baggage Fees?

Here’s what you need to know about airline baggage fees:

Airline baggage fees can vary widely depending on the airline, the route, and the type of baggage you’re bringing. In general, most airlines will waive baggage fees for one carry-on. The fees for checked baggage can range from around $30 to $400 or more per bag depending on size and weight. To avoid baggage fees, you can consider choosing an airline that includes checked bags, joining an airline’s frequent flyer program that includes checked bags as a benefit, packing only a carry-on bag, or using a service like Lugless.

Here’s what you can expect to pay for baggage fees by airline in the United States:

AirlineCarry-on Bag1st Checked Bag2nd Checked Bag3rd/Additional BagsOverweight & Oversized Baggage Fees
Alaska AirlinesOne Free$30$40$100 eachOverweight Bags 51 to 100lbs and/or 63″ – 103″: $110
Allegiant Air$10 – $75 (excludes laptop bag, purse, briefcase, etc)$50 – $75$50 -$75$50 – $75Overweight Bags 40 – 70lbs: $50

Overweight Bags: 71 – 100lbs: $75

Oversized Bags in excess of 80″: $75

Oversized Personal Item: $50 – $75
American AirlinesOne Free$30$403rd bag: $150
4th bag: $200
Oversized Bags 62″ – 126″: $200

Overweight Bags 51 – 70lbs: $100

Overweight Bags 71 – 100lbs: $200
Delta Air LinesOne Free$30$403rd bag: $150
4 – 10 bags: $200 each
Overweight Bags 51 – 70lbs: $100

Overweight Bags 71 – 100lbs: $200

Oversized Bags 63″ – 80″: $200

Golf Bags: Allowed as checked luggage if under 50lbs (otherwise excess weight fee charged)

Ski/Snowboard: Allowed as checked luggage if under 50lbs (otherwise excess weight fee charged)
Frontier AirlinesFree or up to $75 (depending on when you purchased your baggage “awards” – it’s complicated)It’s complicated. You must use their baggage fee calculator and enter your flight details for pricingSame process as 1st checked bagOversized Bags 63″ – 110″: $75

Overweight Bags 41 – 50lbs: $50

Overweight Bags 51 – 100lbs: $100
Hawaiian AirlinesOne Free$30$40$50Overweight Bags 51 – 70lbs: $50

Overweight Bags 71 – 100lbs: $200

Oversized Bags: 62 – 80″: $35

JetBlue AirwaysOne Free$35$45$200Oversized Bags 63 – 80″: $150

Overweight Bags 51 – 99lbs: $150
Southwest Airlines2 for Free$75$75Skis and golf bags are free
Spirit AirlinesOne Free$35$40Overweight Bags 41 – 50lbs: $69

Overweight Bags 51 – 100lbs: $99

Oversized Bags 63 – 80″: $100

Special items over 80″: $150

Bicycle: $75
Surf Board (2 max in one bag): $100

Golf Clubs: Same as check bags. Overweight charges may apply

Skis/Snowboards: Same as checked bags. Overweight charges may apply
United AirlinesOne Free$35$45$150Overweight Bags up to 70lbs: up to $200

Overweight Bags 70 – 99lbs: $400

Oversized Bags 62″+ will be charged depending on the destination (use the baggage fee calculator)
Airline baggage fees for airlines in the United States

How To Avoid Airline Baggage Fees

As we said earlier, one way to avoid baggage fees is to join an airline’s frequent flyer’s program. How much you can save will vary from airline to airline. But it’s worth looking into.

For this discussion, though, we’re going to assume that you aren’t a member of any airline’s frequent flyer program.

Depending on how many bags you’ll be carrying, the fees the airlines charge might be worth the costs.

But consider this.

What if you have a number of bags? If you’re traveling with a family with LOTS of bags, that could add up quickly.

Are you a golfer and plan on using your equipment on the greens? You’re going to pay through the nose if you let the airline check it.

Perhaps you plan on taking a ski trip and want your own skis. You’re going to pay a hefty penny to get it on the plane.

Use Lugless to Save On Airline Baggage Fees

Let’s say you have 1 carry-on, one checked bag at 50lbs, one oversized bag at 75lbs, 1 set of golf clubs at 50lbs, and one large set of golf clubs at 65lbs.

Just to make things interesting, we’ll put throw in a set of skis at 30lbs, large skis at 65lbs, a snowboard at 35lbs, and a large snowboard at 67lbs.

Before you get caught up in the details of carrying two sets of golf bags and two sizes of snowboards, we’re using these items to simulate baggage size.

Let’s use this scenario.

Delta Airlines is a major airline. And they have a baggage calculator.

So what were going to do is see how much it would cost to ship these items.

Using the calculator, it would cost $1,720 to put these on a Delta Airlines plane from Philadelphia International to McCarran International in Las Vegas.

Ouch!

screenshot of delta airlines baggage fee

If that hurts to look at, just remember – you have to get these items back home.

Let’s look at a better option.

Lugless Cost to Ship Items

Now, we’re going to ship these same items using Lugless. If the price is lower than $1,720, I’d call that a win.

To help you see how the process works, I’ve gone through the whole process to find out how much these items would cost to ship from Philadelphia to Las Vegas.

Lugless Start Page

After creating your account, you’ll be presented with this screen.

starting page for lugless
Lugless Destination Page

On the next page, you’ll enter your travel details.

You’ll choose your departure city, arrival city, and the date you’ll arrive in your destination. They’ll need this info to price when they can deliver your baggage.

lugless airport options
Lugless Baggage Selection

On this screen, you’ll select the type baggage you’ll need to ship.

What’s nice is that you can select golf bags, ski, and snowboards specifically. Some of the airlines in the chart have pricing and accomodation specifically for these items. Others view them as checked bags and will hit you with oversize and overweight baggage fees.

Nonetheless, on this screen, you select all the types of bags you’ll be sending. Then move on to the next screen.

lugless luggage
lugless golf options
lugless skis
Lugless Pricing

Once you’ve selected your baggage options, you’ll be presented with pricing from the major carriers.

You’ll notice that prices change depedning on the shipping company and the date you want your bags to arrive.

In my example, I will be arriving on Sunday, June 11. Since FedEx and UPS don’t ship on Sunday, the first available day is Monday. If I’d like, I can choose another day during the week.

lugless price
Lugless Support Plan

After you select the shipping you’d like to use, you have the option to get a support plan.

This is optional.

But one thing to note is that even selecting the “Minimal” option which is no cost, you still get doorsetp delivery.

That means that FedEx or UPS will drop your bags off right at your destination (we’ll get to that next).

lugless support 1
lugless support 2
lugless support 3
lugless support 4
Lugless Destination Information

After you select your protection level, you’ll be asked to enter your destination information.

This is really cool.

For my destination, I’ll be staying at The Venetian Resort on The Strip. Lugless will arrange for the delivery companies to bring it straight to you.

Think about how convienient this is.

When you get I get off the plan, I just get my rental car (don’t believe it if people tell you that you don’t need a car in Vegas. No, you don’t “need” it. But you’ll be really sorry if you don’t rent one) and go to the hotel.

lugless destination
Lugless Checkout

After entering your destination information, you’ll be sent to the checkout screen.

At this point, it seems appropriate to compare pricing.

I seleccted the cheapest price, which also happened to be the one that delivered the day after arrival. I also selected the Essential Plan which is the most popular and middle option.

Let’s compare Lugless’ price as compared to checking these bags on Delta Airlines:

  • Lugless: $362.99
  • Delta Airlines: $1,720
lugless checkout page 1
lugless checkout page 2

It’s clear, using Lugless is going to save you a lot of trouble and aggravation. And if you pick the right protection plan, FedEx will come to your home and pick up your bags.

So no lugging your luggage into the car, dragging it through airport and security, then paying an astronomical fee to get it on the plane.

Signup to Use Lugless

Hopefully you can see that using Lugless is a much better option than checking your bags on just about every airline that you might use in the United States.

It costs absolutley nothing to sign up. Run through the wizard and see if using Lugless will be cheaper than checking those same bags with the airline.

Use this link to get started shipping your bags and spend your savings on your vacation.

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