Paying extra baggage fees at the airport is pretty common these days. In fact, airlines continue to rely on baggage fees and similar other charges to improve their profitability. In 2012 airlines in the USA collected about $3.5 billion as baggage fees. Most passengers end up shelling extra bucks either due to improper packing or sheer bad luck. However, with thoughtful consideration you can avoid paying those hefty fees. Here are some tips to help save a ton of money.
1. Choose your airline carefully. Different airlines impose different restrictions. For instance, SouthWest allows you to carry two bags free of cost whereas JetBlue allows only one. Be careful when choosing budget airlines. You might end up saving few bucks but what if the extra baggage fee exceeds the amount saved. There’s no point in flying with such airlines.
2. Buy an electronic hanging scale to double-check the weight of your baggage. If it exceeds the airlines’ restrictions, make other arrangements. It’s advisable for you to avoid carrying unnecessary items onboard. For instance, instead of carrying a couple of heavy books go for an e-book reader. Pack your baggage wisely. Distribute the weight properly in different bags so that these do not exceed the limit.
3. Don't fly Air Asia. They charge for everything from pillows and blankets to not printing out your ticket before you arrive.
4. When you check-in, have an extra bag. If the suitcase weight exceeds the limit, use the extra bag to dump some of your heavy stuff. Once you have done this, get the suitcase re-checked. This way, you will be able to avoid the extra fees.
5. Be tactful when your baggage exceeds the imposed restriction slightly. Talk to the particular airline employee checking the bags and request gently to do away with the minor difference.
6. Airlines are smart. These days, they closely watch out for heavy carry-on bags when you check-in. Be careful with this. Choose a light weight carry-on bag and make it appear as if there’s nothing heavy in it. Try boarding in during the rush hour to avoid unwanted attention.
7. Besides this, use the right bags for packing your stuff. Lightweight luggage is increasingly becoming popular these days. Carefully pack your electronic items such as laptops, DVD player and tablets. You can go for mini travel bottles to pack your toiletries. Next, before packing any stuff such as towel, napkins or hair dryer, see if the hotel in your destination supplies this. It helps save space in your baggage.
8. You can even ship your baggage to the hotel in advance to avoid extra fees. It helps keep your luggage protected and prevents any chances of loss, theft or misplace. Furthermore, there are certain items that airlines allow for free such as car seats and children’s strollers. Try and conceal some of your stuff in here. You can save plenty of space for your carry-on
9. Take few clothes in your luggage. You can always wash your clothes during the journey to save money. Similarly, avoid carrying unwanted jewelry. In case you want to take some, wear them.
10. If you are an elite flyer, use frequent flyer programs to avoid extra baggage fees. Your loyalty is sure to be rewarded.
Pack your items carefully and be a smart traveler. Just follow the above mentioned tips and you are sure to get away with baggage fees at the airport.