Baggage Fees and Baggage Weight Limits

Baggage Fees and Baggage Weight Limits
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Dealing with baggage fees and baggage weight limits can be a daunting experience even for the most experienced travelers. Given that baggage weight limits for both carry-on and check-in baggage and their respective fees vary across airlines, you need to do your homework to avoid paying any extra fees or any other inconveniences.

This article serves as a guide for the fees, sizes and limits associated with your baggage when traveling on 6 major airlines – United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta, American Airlines, Air Canada and WestJet.

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United Airlines

The United Airlines baggage policy varies depending on several factors. Passengers flying economy class can carry 1 personal item and 1 carry-on item at no cost (purse, briefcase, laptop bag) each as long it meets the airline’s baggage policy as highlighted below.

Carry-on baggage size and weight criteria for passengers

  • Bags that measure a maximum of 45 inches including wheels and handles. These bags must also fit in easily under the seat ahead of you or in the overhead
  • For personal items, the following criteria apply: Fit easily under the seat ahead of you or in the overhead, and measure a maximum of 36 inches
  • Items such as diaper bags, umbrellas, jackets, child seats, strollers, crutches and wheelchairs, do not count toward your carry-on baggage limit

Checked baggage

United Airlines checked baggage policy includes 2 regular size bags that measure a maximum of 62 inches and weigh a maximum of 50 lbs. in total. Fees may apply for checked baggage, and are generally determined by your destination and type of fare you purchased such as status with an affiliated carrier, US military personnel, etc.

For US domestic flights, the standard checked baggage fees are:

(All fees are in US$)

  • $30 for the first bag
  • $40 for the second bag
  • $150 per bag for the third and any additional bag

For international flights, there are generally no fees applied for the first bag, but it is $100.00 for the second. However, $60 for the first bag and $100 for the second is charged to international Basic Economy checked baggage, and some routes do allow two checked in bags as standard luggage.

Excess baggage and overweight baggage

(All fees are in US$)

Charges for excess baggage (third and additional bags)start at $150, and baggage that weighs more than 50 lbs. incur charges of:

  • $100 to $200 per bag that weighs more than 50 to 70 lbs.
  • $400 per bag that weighs more than 70 to 100 lbs.
  • Bags weighing more than 100 lbs. will not be accepted as checked baggage
  • Fess for excess baggage on international flights are between$200 and $400
  • Oversize bags that measure between 63 to 115 inches incur charges of $200 per bag, and bags that measure more than 115 inches are not accepted
  • The fees for sports equipment vary, but items such as golf bags and fishing equipment are generally considered as one item and are charged starting at $30

Southwest Airlines

The Southwest Airlines baggage policy states that passengers flying on regular base fares can carry 1 personal item and 1 carry-on item at no cost as long as they meet the baggage criteria. Carry-on baggage should:

  • Measure less than 51 inches
  • Fit easily in the overhead or can be tucked away under the seat in front of you

Checked baggage

The Southwest checked baggage policy includes up to 10 bags maximum, where the maximum dimensions of each bag are 62 inches and 50 lbs. maximum weight. Fees do not apply to the first and second bag as long as they meet the weight and size criteria, and all bags can be checked for free if you are an active US Military personnel or and/or dependent.

Excess baggage and overweight baggage

(All fees are in US$)

Charges for excess baggage are $75 per bag for the third bag and any additional bags. Passengers traveling to/from Montego Bay, Mexico City, Belize, Costa Rica and San Jose from November 16 through January 16 are limited to 2 checked bags. For bags that weigh more than 50 lbs., fees will be: under

  • $75 extra per bag for bags weighing 51 to 100 lbs.
  • Non-acceptance of bags exceeding 100 lbs.
  • Oversize luggage charges for bags that measure between 63 and 115 inches are charged $75 per bag, and bags that measure more than 115 inches are not accepted. The fees for sports equipment vary, but items such as golf bags and fishing equipment are generally considered as one item, and associated fees may apply.

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines carry-on bag policy states that each passenger can carry 1 bag and 1 purse that fit in the overhead bin or be placed under the seat ahead of you, and measure 45 inches.

The airline’s checked baggage policy allows passengers to check in 2 bags as standard, and up to 10 bags at the most, each measuring 62 inches or 157 centimeters and weighing 50 pounds or 23 kilograms maximum.

In terms of fees, passengers flying from United States to United States Puerto Rico are charged $30 for the first bag and $40 for the second bag. Passengers flying to and from United States and Canada pay US$30/C$ 1 for the first bag and US$50/$ 1 for the second checked bag.

Considering that the baggage rates for Delta Airlines greatly vary according to country, it is best to head to the Delta official website to know exactly what rate applies to your travel itinerary.

American Airlines 

American Airlines allows passengers to carry 1 personal item such as a purse and one carry-bag as carry-on baggage, each measuring no more than 45 inches including wheels and handles.

For checked baggage, the airline permits 2 bags as standard, 10 bags maximum, and 5 bags max for certain countries such as Mexico and Brazil. Regardless of the country, each bag should measure 62 inches and weigh no more than 50 lbs.

(All fees are in US$)

Fees do apply and mostly depend on the type of fare, but start from $30 and $40 for the first and second bag to US domestic (including Canada, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico and free for both bags if traveling Transpacific. Excess baggage fees do apply and start at $150 to $200 and for the first bag.

Air Canada

Air Canada allows passengers to carry 1 personal item such as a purse or laptop as carry-on luggage, where the item should measure 46 linear inches maximum. The airline’s checked baggage policy allows 1 bag as standard, which should measure no more than 62 inches and weigh 50 lbs. max. Excess baggage rates when flying Air Canada start at US/C$100 extra per bag that measures between 51 to 70 pounds.

WestJet

WestJet allows passengers to carry with them in-flight 1 personal item and 1 carry-on item, each that measures a maximum of 45 inches, and fits under the seat in front or in the overhead compartment.

WestJet’s checked policy allows 2 bags as standard and 4 bags maximum, each measuring 62 inches and weighing 50 lbs. maximum. Excess baggage fees when flying WestJet are approximately C$30 for the first bag, C$50 for the second bag and C$100 for the third and each additional bag.

Baggage Fees and Baggage Weight Limits 3

Conclusion

Knowing the baggage dimensions, weight, and fees that may apply before you leave home can really help prevent any surprise costs when you get to the boarding gate.

The weight limits and fees of the aforementioned airlines may change from time to time, so it is strongly advised that you visit the airline’s official website just to be certain of what you can carry and the price you will have to pay for your baggage.

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