5 Ways to Gamble with Bag Fees – And Lose

If you’ll be traveling during the holidays (or anytime) remember this: baggage fees are optional and paying them can be something of a gamble. Here are some bets you should try to avoid.

LISTEN: Don’t be a loser!

5 Ways to Gamble with Bag Fees

1. Betting you know the fees

Fees change all the time, especially on discounters like Spirit and Frontier that raised rates for the holidays and beyond. Don’t set yourself up for a nasty surprise, check out the fees before you pack.

Best packing method ever: Sit & zip

2. Betting your bag won’t get lost.

Actually, this one’s a pretty safe bet since most bags don’t get lost but why gamble? You’re already paying a hefty fee as it is. Avoid this by foregoing a carry-on (free on most airlines) or flying Southwest (two free checked-bags).

3. Betting your carry-on is free

Again, check with your airline but know that Frontier and Spirit charge for carry-ons which actually cost more than checked-bags. You can avoid this though; a small bag that fits under the seat is free.

4. Betting the airline won’t notice a bag’s weight

Most airlines allow checked-bags weighing up to 50 pounds. If it’s overweight by a single pound, the airline will cut you no slack and charge an overweight fee of up to $200 (and even higher for international flights). Weigh your bag before you go but if you’re already at the airport, shovel  stuff into a travel companion’s bag or start wearing that extra sweater and/or jacket.

5. Betting the airline won’t notice the bag is too big

Checked-bags and carry-ons are limited to certain dimensions and the measurements must include handles and wheels. Don’t pay extra (oversize charges are similar to overweight fees) and don’t risk having your carry-on taken from you at the gate.

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Updated: June 10, 2016