How to Avoid Airline Baggage Fees During Holiday Travel

Posted on 11/02/2010

There are few things more annoying than airline baggage fees. Not only did you spend big bucks on your airline ticket for holiday travel, but now you’re being forced to pay extra because you need to bring some stuff with you. Want to keep holiday travel costs down? Here are ways to avoid airline baggage fees during holiday travel.

Fly Southwest or JetBlue - According to, Southwest and JetBlue are the only airlines left that don’t charge for checking your first bag. And Southwest doesn’t charge for the second bag either. So if you must check bags, consider these airlines even if the ticket price is a little bit higher.

Pay Online - If you pay for your checked bag online you can cut the cost of baggage fees. With Spirit Airlines, you can save $6 when you pay online verses at the airport. For USA 3000, you’ll pay $15 online or $25 at the airport.

Have Gifts Shipped - If gifts are what’s causing you to check bags, consider having them shipped instead. Over the holidays lots of companies offer free shipping and it will mean less stuff to fit in your bags.

Stick to One Airline - Some airlines reward their loyal customers with special status. That “elite” or “premier” status comes with perks like free bag check. According to SmartMoney, travelers with at least 20,000 elite-qualifying miles on one airline this year can qualify for the perks.

Utilize Carry-On Space - Not all overhead bins are created equal. Some airlines allow larger carry-ons because they have bigger bins. Expert say United, American, US Airways and Continental allow carry-ons that are 22 by 14 by 9 inches, while airlines like JetBlue, Alaska and Southwest have more space. For those airlines baggage can measure 24 by 16 by 10 inches. The more space you have for carry-ons the less likely you may be to have to check bags which may be your ticket to avoiding pesky fees.

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