5 Ways to Minimize Baggage Fees When Flying
In the near future, people may need to get loans to be able to afford the baggage charges when they fly.
As you probably already know, Spirit Airlines is going to start charging up to $45.00 for people to take a carry-on on the airplane. With only a few exceptions, long gone are the days that your luggage will accompany you on a domestic U.S. flight without an additional charge.
Frequent travelers don’t worry as much about baggage costs as they are often taking short trips that only require a carry-on or they are premium frequent flyer members so they get free baggage check in. But, what about the family of five that only flies one or twice a year?
Fortunately, there are still ways to save money on baggage.
1. Buy Southwest Airlines tickets
The baggage cost you save by flying Southwest Airlines is amazing. At Southwest, each ticketed passenger can check two bags free of charge. Recently, some family members purchased tickets on a particular airline because they get the airline points and, as they said, “They (Southwest and another airline) both cost the same amount.” However, once you calculate for the baggage, there is a significant difference in price. This leads to point number two.
2. Calculate the total cost when you book travel — don’t forget about the baggage cost
While you’re in the vacation booking stage, you need to add all the extra charges. Decide what is the best deal based on which will give you the best price in the end (once all fees are paid), not the best price today.
When calculating the cost of travel, if you are traveling as a family you need to seriously consider the cost advantage of driving. A trunk full of free baggage might be enough reason to consider driving.
3. Consider a credit card that offers free baggage
Delta has recently announced that if you have a Delta American Express SkyMiles credit card, you won’t be charged baggage for your first checked bag. This offer takes effect as of June 1st and applies to up to nine people booked on the same reservation. If you travel very often or have a large family, the free baggage alone might be worth getting the credit card.
4. Prepay for your baggage
If you know you will be paying for baggage, go ahead and prepay online. Several airlines offer a discount when you pay online rather than at the check in counter. It is never a huge savings, but every few dollars here and there saves you money. When you book your airline tickets, always be sure to read their baggage policies before booking. If they do allow you to prepay for bags at a discount and you know you will take bags then go ahead and pay now to save the money.
As an example, with Spirit Airlines, your carry-on will cost $45.00, but if you prepay online, you’ll only pay $30.00. A little forethought can save a big chunk of change.
5. (Warning: extreme measures) Don’t take clothes on vacation
Just the other day, I thought, “If I flew Spirit Airlines, would it be worth taking any clothes on vacation?”
In my family, there are two adults and three kids. My youngest daughter is less than 2 so she doesn’t get a seat.
Let’s say that we were each going to take a checked bag and we had two carry-ons between the family and we pay at the airport.
Each checked bag would cost $25 by four passengers for a total of $100.
Each carryon bag would cost $45 by two bags for a total of $90.00.
My family total baggage cost = $190.00
Now, check this out.
For the last 5 years, our family has bought 80-90% of our clothes at second hand stores.
I just looked at our budget, and last year we spent around $150 on clothing for the entire year.
Should my family pay $190 to transport our $150 worth of clothes? If my family had to pay $190 to transport our $150 worth of clothes for a week long vacation, we would not be taking clothes on vacation. I’d probably plan an extra 2 hours into the vacation on the front end to stop at the local second hand store to stock up on clothes.
But, hey, I can be know to be frugal (or is it cheap?).
Would you ever consider buying some second hand clothes on vacation to avoid baggage fees? What are your thoughts on Spirit Airlines fees? How do you save money on baggage when flying?