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To Pay or Not to Pay ~ Which Airlines Charge For Baggage?



04 Jun 2011 | 0

When you are flying as a family there are quite a few things you must take into account when booking a flight.  I will pay more for conveniences like a flight that doesn’t connect, one that offers in-flight seat entertainment and those who don’t charge extra for luggage.

As airlines look to raise their bottom line, baggage seems to be the first perk they take away followed by snacks and entertainment. And when you are traveling with kids there always seems to be a lot of luggage – even if you try to pack light.

For those who travel frequently it may not come as a surprise that Amadeus Review of Ancillary Revenue Results, revealed this week that airlines’ revenues from baggage fees, co-branded credit cards and other sources not specifically tied to transportation grew to $21.46 billion last year.  Leading the list were United Continental ($5 billion), Delta ($3.7 billion) and American (almost $2 billion).

To help you save a bit we look at which major airlines in Canada and the U.S. charge(or don’t charge) for baggage.  While all information is taken directly from the carrier’s websites, you should always check their site before your trip to make sure that their policies haven’t changed.

Canadian Airlines:

Air Canada – For most destinations Air Canada doesn’t charge for the first bag up to 50lbs (2nd $20), but that changes if the flight is operated by a second party.  Their site states that the baggage rules of the carrier that is operating the first flight apply (if there are connectors that are operated through other airlines).   So you must read the fine print of your itinerary to see if your whole voyage is being done through them or just a portion.  For many of their flights Air Canada partners with United Airlines, who does charge for 1st bag.

Westjet – for all flights including those within Canada, flights to/from the U.S., international flights and charter flights, Westjet allows each ticketed passenger to check the first bag for free (up to 50lbs).  Like with Air Canada the second bag is $20(each way) up to 3 bags.

Porter Air - One item of checked baggage is permitted, free of charge, per fare-paying passenger.

Can Jet - For each passenger, CanJet allows up to two (2) checked pieces of 20kg (44 lbs) in combined weight and 158 cm (62 inches) each in overall dimensions (height + width + depth). Wheels and handles are included.

Sunwing – The travel provider’s site is vague but it states that they offer ‘free baggage allowance per seat paying passenger up to 32kgs’.

In The U.S.

Jetblue – Each customer may bring one bag free of charge.  All checked bags must not exceed 62” (157.48 cm) in overall dimensions (length + width + height) and cannot exceed 50 pounds (22.73 kilos).  If you’ll be checking additional bags, there is a $35 fee for checking a second bag and a $75 fee for a third bag. All checked bags must not exceed 62 inches (157.48 centimeters) in overall dimensions (length + width + height) and cannot exceed 50 pounds (22.73 kilos).

Southwest Airlines – Southwest allows two (2) checked pieces of baggage per ticketed Customer. Maximum weight is 50 pounds and maximum size is 62 inches (length + width + height) per check piece of luggage. Overweight items from 51 to 100 pounds and oversized items in excess of 62 inches but not more than 80 inches will be accepted for a charge of $50 per item.

Delta – If you are flying between from the United States to Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico the first bag is $25 and second $35.  If you are flying from the United States or Canada to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean the first checked bag is free and the second checked bag is $30.

USair -

United Airlines – United charges $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second within the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada. For many destinations internationally, the first bag is free so please check their chart to determine if that applies for you.

American Airlines -For flights from the United States to Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands AND flights from Canada to the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, there is a $25 charge for the first bag and $35 for the second.  Many international flights including those that originate in Mexico and the Caribbean offer a free first bag and sometimes second bag. Check American Airline’s chart on their site for an accurate fee.

Continental Airlines – For flights within the United States and Canada traveling to Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii, there is a $25 charge for the first bag and $35 for the second.  Many international flights including those that originate in Mexico and the Caribbean offer a free first bag and sometimes second bag. Check Continental’s chart on their site for an accurate fee.

Airtran – 1st checked bag weighing 50 lbs. or less; dimensions: 61 inches or smaller is $20, second bag $25.

Allegiant – When purchased at time of booking, a fee up to $34.99 for the first checked bag and up to $34.99 for the second checked bag will apply per person, per segment. If purchased at flight check-in, $35 for first checked bag and an additional $35 for second checked bag will apply per person, per segment. In all cases additional higher fees will apply for three or more checked bags. Bags that are “Gate Checked” will incur a $35.00 fee per bag, per segment.

*all sources are bolded*

About the Author (Author Profile)

Canadian mom of 2 busy boys (one with #ASD), photo addict, lover of adventure and wrinkly dogs. Also founder of Growing Your Baby - a parenting website.

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