Avoiding Those New Checked Baggage Fees
A new headache for corporate travel may be the new higher fees for checked luggage many major airline companies have recently announced. With these new bag charges and the increase in the amount of fees that are being added to the ticket cost, corporate travelers rightfully may feel like they are being nickeled and dimed for every expense. Most of the major airlines who upped their bag fee only increased it by five dollars for the first checked bag. But the higher charges for additional checked bags vary depending on the carrier.
Thankfully, there are a few ways to combat these charges, and the higher fees may not apply to you. Whether it’s with airline brand loyalty, never buying a “Basic Fare” flight, or having the airline’s credit card, here are some ways corporate travel with more than carry-on can avoid the add-on charges for checked luggage.
JetBlue was the first of the major airlines to increase their bag fee. Their bag fees depend on the tier level of the purchased ticket. The higher tiered fares, above the basic fares, include one free checked bag. If the traveler upgrades their ticket to an even higher tier, called Blue Flex, they can check two bags free.
Other airlines who offer a free checked bag when purchasing a ticket in a higher fare class are Air Canada, WestJet, American, and Delta.
Air Canada and WestJet were charging $25 and now charge $30 for the first checked bag, but passengers in their higher fare classes get one free checked bag. Gold and Silver rewards members in their program also get their first checked bag free. Checking a second bag is not included and their price has increased from $30 to $50.
American Airlines also increased their fees, but travelers in Premium Economy can get their first bag free and American Elite members can check up to three bags free.
Delta’s bag fee is now $30 compared to its previous price of $25, but Delta Premium Select and Delta One passengers get two bags free. Delta travelers who have their SkyMiles Credit Card get one bag free when they purchase the flight with their card and a free bag for up to eight other travelers in their party.
Having a credit card with an airline is another popular way to get around the bag fee. Delta, Alaska and Hawaiian offer that perk to their cardholders.
Travelers with an Alaska Airlines credit card get their first checked bag free for themselves and up to six other passengers who are on their same reservation.
Although Hawaiian Airlines bag fees are a bit cheaper than the other major airline company’s fees, they still have them. Hawaiian World Elite Mastercard holders get their first bag free. Depending on if you are a Club, Gold or Platinum member you can also get two or even three bags free. Hawaiian Miles members who are flying between the islands can get $10 off their first checked bag and $15 off their second.
United Airlines increased their fees for the first and second checked bags by five dollars each. The best way to not have to pay those fees is by being a frequent United flyer with high standing in their membership levels; Silver, Gold, or Platinum.
Southwest Airlines remains a favorite low-cost carrier by continuing with their “Our Bags Fly Free program," allowing customers to get their first and second bag checked free. When the other airlines were announcing their new fees last month, Southwest mentioned they don’t plan to change their program even though the other airlines are doing so.
Aside from the airline programs or trying to pack light so you can carry-on your luggage, there is another option from a company called Luggage Free. This company offers a service where they ship your bags ahead of time to your destination, guaranteeing delivery. Many customers love the ease and convenience and feel that the expense is worth the value of not having to worry about airline bag fees and carting your luggage around. Instead, it is all taken care of and one less thing to worry about.