7 Tips For Saving On Airline Baggage Fees

The other day we wrote about the new UPS Luggage Box, which gives users the option of checking, carrying-on or shipping your baggage for your plane trip. But over at MSNBC, they’ve come up with a whole list of ways to not get beaten down by the baggage fee system.

1. Know your policy:
Being aware of how much the airlines charge for bags is key. Factor in the fees when comparing fares because one airline might have a cheaper ticket, but they’ll end up more expensive once you realize how much it’s going to cost you to check your luggage.

2. Join a frequent flier program:
Many airlines offer some kind of frequent flier program that includes baggage fee discounts or waivers for “elite” or “preferred” members.

3. Fly on a discount airline:
Southwest and JetBlue both offer better deals than the majors on checked bags, with Southwest giving each passenger two checked bags for free and JetBlue letting you check one free bag. But then there’s Spirit Airlines, who not only charge for checked bags but who have begun charging for some carry-ons.

4. Take the train:
Amtrak lets passengers carry on up to two pieces of luggage (not including personal items like purses, strollers or computer bags) and check up to three pieces of luggage — for free. Additional bags only $10 per bag.

5. Use a luggage scale:
Having a small luggage scale at the ready can help you beat overweight baggage fees. It will allow you to precisely mete out your packed goods so that none of your bags will end up pushing the airport scale into the pricey red zone.

6. Ship your bags:
Depending on the size and weight of your luggage — along with how far you’re traveling — it might be cheaper to ground-ship your items to and from your destination. Even if it costs a few dollars more, some might find the convenience of not having to lug bags to and from the airport worth the extra expense.

7. Upgrade your luggage:
Think of this as a long-term investment. If you’re a frequent traveler or traveling with a larger number of suitcases, it might behoove you to plunk down the extra cash for more expensive, lightweight luggage. While they won’t convert your checked bags to carry-ons, they can save you several pounds in weight — which can save you tons of cash at the airport in overweight baggage fees.

7 smart ways to bypass baggage fees [MSNBC.com]