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Why is luggage expensive?

Why is Luggage So Expensive on Flights? (Tips to Avoid Baggage Fees)

Summer is here, and traveling is a massive part of the season. With travel, comes the stressful and almost unavoidable baggage of luggage (pun intended).

However, with luggage fees skyrocketing, bringing back too many gifts or souvenirs home is almost discouraging because of the expenses associated with it.

Luggage fees have become so outrageously expensive that it costs less to buy a ticket on some flights than to pay for luggage!

What is pushing luggage prices so high?

Luggage is currently so expensive on flights because of the high cost of running and maintaining airline operations. With air ticket prices so competitive, airlines are forced to lower flight costs and recover these discounts via other auxiliary services such as luggage fees. 

Read on to learn more about airline luggage fees and get tips that will help you avoid baggage fees on your next trip.

Why Do Airlines Charge for Excess Baggage? 

No one likes baggage fees. In a survey, dislike for baggage fees by travelers was ranked higher than other significant complaints like loud noises on flights. Consequently, airlines have put forward different explanations for the excess baggage fees.

One explanation is that charging for excess baggage allows individuality in traveling. Flyers can choose whether the baggage cost is worth their money or not. It is a system that will enable customers to self-sort into the package that best suits their needs. 

Additionally, with rising fuel prices and the ever-present cost of running an airline, the companies are under intense financial pressure to come up with alternatives to lower expenses and meet running costs. In comes the excess baggage charges.

High charges on excess baggage discourage most flyers from carrying any. Airlines can then reduce the number of check-in staff and luggage handlers. The planes use less fuel the operating costs of the airlines go down. 

Despite customer backlash, complaints, and political interference, baggage charges seem to be here to stay. 

How Much Do Airlines Charge for Baggage? 

Baggage charges depend significantly on location, domestic or international flight, and the airline used. 

On average, domestic flights in the US cost $30 to check one bag and $40 to prevent a second. Each additional bag will add a cost of $150 per bag. At the moment, Southern Airlines is the only airline that does not charge for luggage. 

Selected Airline Baggage Fees 2022 

American Airlines charges $25 for one checked bag, $35 for 2, and $150 for any additional bags. United Airlines have similar rates to American Airlines. 

Spirit Airlines charges between $30 and $65 for one checked bag, $40 to $65 for 2, and $85 for three bags or more.

Why is Baggage So Expensive on Flights?? 

1. High Costs of Checking Baggage

Airlines have to hire staff both at the check-in and handling the luggage to check each bag. Considering the number of flights and people who fly out daily, checking baggage can be a significant expense. This cost is covered through baggage charges.

2. Rising Fuel Costs

Fuel costs have risen to record highs due to various reasons such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Many businesses have been affected, including airlines. To stay afloat and keep providing flight services at a profit, airlines have passed on the high cost of fuel to the customer.

3. Highly Competitive Flight Rates

Flight rates have been very competitive in recent among many airlines. Airlines must keep up with the competition, maintain their client base, and attract new visitors. To do so, the companies keep the flight rates at low levels and expand the revenue streams for the airlines. Baggage charges are among these revenue streams.

Is it More Expensive to Pay for Baggage at the Airport? 

It is expensive to pay for luggage at the airport
Avoid paying for luggage at the airport

Paying for baggage is usually more expensive at the airport than if you pay for it in advance at the airline’s website. Airlines encourage customers to buy luggage online earlier and have lower rates on their online platforms.

Booking additional weight on baggage online earlier can save you up to 50% off compared to paying on departure.

What Airline Has the Cheapest Baggage Fees? 

Airlines change baggage fees all the time without prior notice. It is advisable to visit the respective website of the airline you would like to use before booking your flight.

Rates on the official websites are always up to date. These are the current rates with the best options for both local and international flights;

  1. Local Airline 

Southern Airlines has zero baggage fees on all of its flights. United Airlines charges no fees for two checked bags, but any bag over that will cost up to $200. Southwest Airlines is much more affordable at $75 for three bags or more.

  1. International Airline 

Alaska has the most affordable rates at $75 each for three bags or more. Alaska Airlines also has the most straightforward baggage fee structure, making it easier to know how much you will be paying.

Read Also: Why Are Flights So Expensive Right Now 2022?

How Can You Avoid Baggage Fees? 

1. Fly With Zero Baggage Fees

Be on the lookout for the option to book with an airline that does not charge for baggage. If you don’t have a lot of luggage, it’s easy to find flights that don’t charge for 1 or 2 checked bags. This can save you as much as $80 on one trip alone.

2. Avoid Booking Basic Economy

When booking flights, there are different options, including the basic economy. Basic economy tickets are usually affordable.

You are only assigned a seat once you get on the plane. This may not be a problem when traveling alone though it may be awkward with family or friends.

However, despite the low fare, there are other charges the basic economy doesn’t cover. Baggage fees are usually an additional cost with a basic economy ticket.

Some airlines do not include a carry-on or a personal bag on the basic economy ticket. You may spend even more if you have luggage on you. 

3. Pack Light

It is not always easy but if you want to avoid paying hefty baggage charges, pack light. Most airlines will let you bring a carry-on bag and a personal item without additional baggage charges.

Check requirements on the carry-on and private bag size regulations on the airline’s website before packing.

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