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Cheapflights.com releases comprehensive, mobile-friendly guide to baggage fees

BOSTON – Airline baggage fees have been around for years. Yet, somehow, they still cause confusion and, for some, some budget surprises. However, savvy travelers can plan ahead, and possibly even save, if they dig into the fine print from the airlines. What is the cost for one or more bags? Do I have to factor in weight and size limitations? Does it cost more to bring one heavy bag or two lighter bags? Do I have to pay for skis or car seats? What are the baggage fees and policies for flying international vs domestic? What will fees add to the cost of my flight? To help travelers get a better handle on this tricky aspect of flying, the travel experts at Cheapflights.com have spent hours and hours compiling Check mate: A guide to airline baggage fees and policies, their comprehensive and mobile-friendly resource detailing the rules and costs for traditional economy class seats on 79 airlines around the world. The guide also offers advice on how to save on baggage fees and tips for traveling with larger items such as sporting equipment, strollers, car seats and medical equipment.

As part of its research, Cheapflights polled 400 Americans and Canadians and found that 66% prefer to carry on their luggage for domestic flights, perhaps reflecting that bag fees are shaping travel habits. When it came to international flights, however, people were almost evenly divided with 49.5% preferring to carry on their luggage and 50.5% preferring to check it. In terms of how much to pay, among those polled, 41% of travelers felt it appropriate to pay $25 or less to check baggage. A slightly smaller group (38% of travelers) were comfortable paying $50 or less, while 14% were willing to pay up to $75 to check their bags and only 7% were willing to pay as much as $100 to check their bags for a flight.

The range of responses to the survey fit with the wide range of rules for the airlines. From total baggage allowances to weight limits to different policies for domestic flights (in the airlines’ home country) to international flights, there’s a lot to know and understand for each airline. Here are a few key takeaways:

Second Bag Flies Free
For those who really want freedom from checked bag fees, check out these airlines that not only offer the first checked bag for free on both domestic and international flights but in fact offer a second checked bag for free.

  • Air India
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Emirates
  • Japan Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines

Other airlines, such as Etihad, Aurigny Air Services, Eva Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways let passengers check 2 bags if the total weight is less than 66lbs (30kg). And Korean Airlines, Philippines Airlines, China Eastern and Turkish Airlines permit 2 checked pieces if the total weight is 44lbs (20kg) or less. Hawaiian Airlines doesn’t charge for a second bag on international flights while Korean Air includes two free bags on domestic flights if the combined weight doesn’t exceed 44lbs (20kg).

The Carry-On Club
Some airlines take their à la carte pricing model to the extreme, including only a personal item that fits under your seat as part of the price of the ticket. If you want to bring a larger carry-on, these airlines will add these charges:

  • Allegiant Air – $15-$25 (depending on destination)
  • Frontier Airlines – $30-$35
  • Spirit Airlines – $35
  • Wow Airlines – $20-$40

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