Airlines are imposing baggage fees and penalties for heavy baggage. If your airline of choice is unlisted here, go to the home page of its website, click on a link (usually in small print within the page footer) for "sitemap" and then find baggage information. While every effort is made to keep these summaries updated, please click the links to verify your costs with information directly from the airline web pages.
Baggage fees become progressively more confusing, complex and expensive. Study the fee structure for your chosen carrier before arriving at the airport. Failing to understand these charges can damage your travel budget.
Novice budget travelers should learn to pack lightly before mastering any other money-saving technique.
Air France offers an easy-to-use online calculator that tells you exactly what you'll pay. Each passenger is allowed to check one item free of charge on international flights between Canada, the U.S., and Europe. Each item must not exceed a weight of 23 kg (50 lbs.). A second checked bag will incur a fee that varies by destination.
From the U.S. to France, the second checked bag requires a fee of $80 when paid online, $100 at the airport, or 15,000 frequent flier miles. Fees are cited in the currency of the country of departure, not the citizenship of the passenger. Air France Flying Blue members are granted additional weight limits.
All Nippon Airways
ANA allows two free checked baggage pieces in economy on most international flights. Each piece must weigh less than 50 lbs. A carry-on piece less than 23 lbs. is also permitted.
Additional bags are subject to fees that vary by currency: 20,000 Yen, $200 USD, $200 CAD, or €150. ANA requires advance arrangements with their customer service center for bulky baggage with total linear dimensions exceeding 203 cm or 80 inches or weighing more than 32 kg (70 lbs).
For flights within the U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, American baggage policies call for passengers to pay $25 USD for their first checked bag and $35 for the second bag. The third bag costs $150, with four or more costing $200 each. One carry-on is permitted at no charge.
Seasonal baggage fee hikes are also possible for flights to Central America or South America (excluding Brazil). Transatlantic, Transpacific, and Brazilian flights come with no baggage fees for the first checked bag. and a second bag is also free for Transpacific and Brazil passengers.
China Southern Airlines
The China Southern free baggage allowance for domestic travel is 40 kg for first-class, 30 kg for business class, and 20 kg for economy class. Infants paying 10 percent of adult fare receive free baggage allowances of 10 kg.
On international flights, the process becomes quite complicated. There is a different allowance chart for each of the five travel zones.
For example, between China and North America, there is a piece concept that entitles passengers to a baggage allowance for two bags, each of which is less than 23 kg (50 pounds). It sounds complicated, but the airline has supplied a series of diagrams that make this complex formula of fees a bit easier to comprehend.
If you receive a free upgrade, allowance is based on your original reservation.
For passengers in economy, Delta charges $25 USD/CDN for the first checked bag and $35 for a second when you pay at the airport ticket counter, kiosk, or curbside. Online payments are discounted $2-$3.
The second checked bag on economy flights from the U.S. or Canada to Europe is $100 USD/$120 CDN; $75 to Latin America (excluding Brazil).
Checked bags must weigh less than 50 lbs. An extra bag that goes over the limits will involve a charge ranging from $100-$300 per bag. Bags weighing more than 100 lbs. are not permitted.
For economy flights within Hawaii, the Hawaiian Airlines fee is $25 for the first and $35 for the second checked bags, and $50 for each additional bag between islands, $100 for flights between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii, and $150 for international flights.
For travel within the continental U.S. or between the continental U.S. and Hawaii, the airline will charge at $25 at airport check-in of the first bag ($23 online) and $35 for the second bag ($32 online). If you have additional bags to check, the third through sixth pieces are $125 each (no matter where you do the check-in) and the seventh piece forward is $200 a bag.
JAL permits one free carry-on bag weighing less than 10 kg (22 lbs.), in addition to two free checked bags. (Three checked bags are permitted for first-class and executive class).
For the checked bags, each must not weigh more than 50 lbs. (70 lbs. in first and executive), and there are restrictions imposed by route or class of travel that can lower that limit. Each additional piece incurs a charge of 20,000 Yen (or $200 USD/CAD) for travel between Japan, Asia, India, Oceania, Hawaii, North/Central/South America, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. That charge falls to 10,000 Yen ($100 USD/CAD) between Japan, Asia, Guam and Oceania; and 5,000 Yen ($50 USD/CAD) for travel within Japan.
For travel between Europe and North America, Lufthansa allows one free checked bag and one pair of skis per passenger weighing 23-32 kg. each, depending upon your route and class of travel. Beginning with the second bag, the charge is $70.
Within Europe or North America, the free allowance increases to two free bags. The airline uses a zone system to determine fees for excess baggage weight. If those limits are exceeded, the cost is high: €100-200 or $150-300 USD/CAD.
Frequent fliers with Lufthansa get added checked baggage at no additional cost: two bags in economy or business are checked for free, and three bags may be checked free for frequent fliers with first-class tickets.
United charges each passenger $25 for the first checked bag and $35 for the second when using United.com for travel within the U.S. Other check-ins require an additional $5/bag. Beginning with the third checked bag, the charge is $125.
On international flights originating in the U.S., United allows one free bag and charges $100 for the second checked bag. On international flights originating in Europe, the second bag incurs a charge of €35. The schedule of charges and conditions is complicated, so read carefully.