When we save for a vacation there are many costs to consider. Some are essential such as accommodation and food and some are add on considerations such as tours, activities or spa treatments. So it is annoying to pay additional fees to an airline when you have already paid for your ticket.
This is when we have to be savvy and do a little research. You don’t have to pay all these fees. There are still some airlines that will not charge for your first bag and some that are cheaper than others. I used this search phrase in my browser: ‘airlines that don’t charge baggage fees’, and found that there are sites that can help narrow down your search. Here are two that list some of the airlines that will or will not charge a bag fee.
The sites don’t give a complete list for all airlines internationally, but you will see that you have choices. For instance, where most airlines charge in the region of $25 + for your first checked bag, JetBlue and Southwest charge $0. In fact Southwest doesn’t charge you for your second bag either.
- Read fees carefully and you will see that airlines such as US Airways will charge as follows: They will charge $25 for your first checked bag if travelling within the US, or to Canada, Latin America, Caribbean, Bermuda, South America (but not Brazil). However, if you travel to any other international destination, then you have no baggage fee for the first checked bag.
- Some of the smaller airlines are charging for carry on bags. That is just crazy, because you are not only carrying your own bag, but stowing it yourself. Check to see if the airline is charging this fee and either change airlines or try to avoid a carry on.
- Free checked items. There are some items that may not carry a fee such as medical devices or child safety devices. You could possibly check a car seat or stroller free of charge.
- Watch out for cheap airline tickets because you could spend your savings on the baggage fees.
- Weigh your bags before arriving at the airport to avoid any nasty surprises and make sure you know what your weight and luggage allowances are. This is also something that differs for every airline.
- Upgrade your ticket. If you fly a lot you might want to consider joining a few airline mileage rewards programs. If you are a Gold or Premier Rewards member you can often upgrade your seat for free. This also upgrades your luggage allowance. We did this with Alaskan airlines for our trip to Los Angeles.
- Airline alliances. Airlines that belong to an alliance, such as Star Alliance carriers for instance will honor the perks of their members/partner airlines. So you may be an elite rewards member with US Airways but flying Lufthansa. Both belong to the Star Alliance. Ask Lufthansa to honor a baggage fee or seat upgrade if you are entitled to it on US Airways.
In a nut shell there is a lot we can do to save on travel costs. Just think outside the box and research. Phone the airline customer service or sales office and verify fees or the possibility of waiving them.
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Author: Principle writer – Celeste Wilson
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