My head is swimming. I’ve been scouring flight search engines like Dohop and Skyscanner for the flights every which way across the United States. Just when I think I’ve found a cheap flight, I look up the baggage fees for the airline and realize these fees will sometimes add over $100 to each ticket.
To make my life easier I created this table detailing the baggage fees for airlines in the US. It’s a lot easier to compare the cost of a flight when you know what each airline charges for baggage.
Baggage Fees for Airlines in the US (2013)
|Airline||First Bag||Second Bag||Carry On|
From this table you can clearly see that some airlines make life simple by keeping their baggage free (Southwest) and some like to gauge you for every last penny.
Southwest are the real winners, offering two checked bags and carry on completely free of charge. They don’t show up on flight aggregators like Skyscanner though so you need to remember to check their website for specific routes. We flew Southwest from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and they were great. While the seats are basic, checking in is easy and passengers are offered free drinks and snacks on board.
Spirit, on the other hand, will “nickel & dime” you throughout your journey and it starts with their baggage policy. Checking two bags and carrying one on board will cost you a whopping $105 more than the sticker fare! I’ve heard horror stories from people who have flown Spirit. Just read their reviews on AirlineQuality.com. There are one or two routes where we may have to fly them as they’re significantly cheaper than other airlines.
It’s worth noting that carry on allowance are a lot more generous in the US than they are in other parts of the world. Airlines policies vary but generally they allow either 25 lbs or 35 lbs. Virgin America places no weight limit on their carry on baggage. Carry on baggage should be less than 50 linear inches (height + width + depth of the bag).
Charging for carry on bags stinks! The airlines that charge you for carry on baggage will still allow you to take one small personal item, like a handbag or laptop bag, on board for free. Baby gear and mobility devices are of course free on all airlines.
In addition to charging for carry on, both Spirit and Allegiant will only allow you 40 lbs (18 kgs) per checked baggage instead of the standard 50 lbs (23 kgs) that other airlines offer.
Most people don’t travel with more than one or two checked bags but, for those that do, the cost of a third bag is significantly more. Virgin were the only airline I noticed that didn’t do this, anything up to 10 bags is still $25 per bag.
Bookmark this post if you’re planning any domestic flights within the US soon. I guarantee it will come in handy when working out the cheapest fare!
Cover image source: Wiki Images