In a recent Blog I suggested that rather than checking empty or relatively empty bags in some cases it is more economical to not take bags with you, other than carry-on, to the U.S. and to cheaper to buy a new bag or set of luggage there. We did this on our last trip picking up a nice 24″ piece of roller luggage at BB&B for $49.00 (on sale from $99.00). Result was a $20.00 savings over bringing an empty bag to the U.S. and got a new piece of luggage to boot.
Don’t Assume “Free Baggage” Is The Best Deal
When you compare flights, make sure you factor in airfare plus all of the baggage fees in your totals. Consider the number of bags allowed, weight limits, and exemptions. Sites like LuggageLimits.com and IFlyBags.com let you enter your departure and arrival locations, and search different airlines to see what they charge for checked bags, overweight items, exemptions, and more.
Once you do the math, you’ll see that free bags may not be so free after all. For example, a non-stop round trip weekend flight from Chicago to Tampa goes for around $424 on Southwest, with free checked baggage. But a similar flight on Americancosts $348. If you’re checking one bag for $25, your total comes to $398. Even though “free checked bags” seems like the better deal, you’re actually paying less with baggage fees!
Blog Note: Checked “oversize” and special handling rates if you are planning on taking golf clubs, bicycles, ski’s etc.
Always remember that the difference may be in the details. Fees might look the same, but have very different results. For young families traveling, Deltaallows any strollers, car seats etc. to be carried on or checked without it counting towards your baggage total. American Airlines extends a similar policy, but it applies to “non-ticketed children” (under 2 years for domestic flights), and even then, it’s only good for 1 stroller and 1 car seat for that “non-ticketed child”. Any extra strollers and car seats will count as additional checked baggage, with fees that climb up to $150!