Common baggage fee surprises
Baggage fee rules are not that complicated, but each airline can have very different fees and baggage limits, and those fees may change at any time. Most surprises can be avoided by going to your airline’s web site and reading the rules. If you don’t take the time to review the rules, you may face unexpected fees, especially in one of the following situations:
•Trips involving different airlines: On a round trip ticket, you will be subject to baggage fees for both the outbound and inbound portions of your trip, so if you are using different airlines for each direction, you will be flying under different baggage fee rules.
•Trips involving international travel: Baggage fee rules and even baggage size and weight limits may be very different in different countries, even for the same airline. This means that your total fees for the outbound flight may be very different than the total fees on the return flight.
•Travel with a lap child: With the exceptions of a car seat or a stroller, lap children (children under the age of two who can travel for free on the lap of a paying adult) do not have any free carry-on items.
•Different fees for some domestic destinations: Some airlines charge different fees (often higher fees) for some destinations, even for a domestic flight.
•Flight cancellations and re-bookings: If your flight is cancelled and you have to be booked with another airline, you will be traveling under that other airline’s rules and may face additional baggage fees.
•Changing ticket status after check in: If you check in with a ticket that requires a checked bag fee, but you later upgrade your ticket to one that does not require a fee, some airlines may not refund that fee.
•Sports equipment and oddly shaped items: Large sports equipment items such as skis and surfboards, as well as oddly shaped baggage items, may have higher fees than regular luggage.
•Paying higher fees at the airport: Often airlines charge lower checked bag fees if they are paid in advance online.