As Airlines Pay More At The Pump, Travelers Must Pop for Luggage

by Cassie Sclafani, on September 18, 2018

Updated on 9/25/18:

Start cramming your carry on. Gate check your luggage. Checked luggage fees are now ascending faster than a Boeing 747.

It all started with Jet Blue. They held out until August 27th of this year, when they announced their increased checked baggage fees. Jet fuel costs were fueling their increase in operating costs, and someone had to absorb them to satisfy their stockholders. On the bright side, their “Blue Plus Fares,” which typically cost $10 to $15 more than regular fares, will still include one free checked bag.

The concept of checked luggage fees can be traced back to the recession, when carriers first gingerly floated that trial balloon, ultimately discovering it was a brilliant plan for boosting revenues.

By August 31st, United Airlines had followed suit with their investor-pleasing move, raising checked luggage fees for flights within North America, the Caribbean and Central America. Then came Air Canada and WestJet. American Airlines and Delta then followed suit. Who’s next is anyone’s guess, but be fully prepared for the domino effect.

Airline 1 bag 2 bags
American Airlines $30 $40
Delta $30 $40
Air Canada $31.50 $52.50
WestJet Between $30 and $35 Between $50 and $59
United From $25 to $30 $40
JetBlue $30 $40


Naturally, you’re probably thinking about work-arounds, and you’re not alone. Here are some popular ideas for saving on checked baggage costs:

  • Consider shipping your luggage, as costs are similar for shorter distances, and the tracking and likelihood it doesn’t go M.I.A. are in your favor. Just give yourself five days’ lead time to ensure it’s awaiting your arrival at the hotel. (And bonus – you get to avoid the baggage carousel!)
  • Check your larger bag at the gate. They never charge for this.
  • Investigate the lightweight, squishier luggage like the HOBOROLLTM by Gobi Gear or the “packing cube” style by Eagle Creek. You’ll be astounded by the amount it can hold and still fit in the overhead bin. Better yet, you’ll avoid those overweight luggage fees, since these types are luggage are so lightweight, they won’t add unnecessary pounds to the airlines’ scale.

For more information on costs for your checked baggage, feel free to call your AmTrav representative 1-800-795-8371.


By: Denise D.

Topics:Travel TipsBusiness TravelerIn The News



Get product updates, business travel news, and helpful tips from the AmTrav team.

 More →