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Why Do I have to Pay an Excess Baggage Fee?

Jonathan Chum
Jonathan Chum

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Nobody has ever said that flying is cheap. If you are planning on flying somewhere, you are probably looking to stay within a certain budget. You may have been lured in by low ticket prices. Then, all of a sudden, you are being hit various fees left and right. If you understand what these fees are, you may be able to avoid them, saving a significant amount of money. One possible fee you may have to pay is called an excess baggage fee.

What is an excess baggage fee? An excess baggage fee is exactly what it sounds like. This is a fee that you have to pay because you have gone over the limit, somehow, when it comes to your baggage. We are going to cover: 

  • When an excess baggage fee is applied 
  • How you can avoid this excess baggage fee 
  • How you might be able to save money when it comes to your luggage at the airport 

Learn more about the excess baggage fee and how you can stay away from it!

When Do Airlines Apply an Excess Baggage Fee?

Every airline is different. Therefore, you have to read the regulations of that specific airline closely as you are going through the packing process. At the same time, there are a few common situations where an airline may apply in excess baggage fee. 

First, understand that unless you have a specific credit card, are flying in first class, or have a frequent flyer account, you are probably going to have to pay for every bag you check. A lot of airlines do not refer to this as an “excess baggage” fee; however, if you do not realize that you have to pay for checked luggage, you may treat it as such. It is also possible that an airline could charge you extra money for specific checked luggage. Usually, each individual suitcase has a weight limit. If your suitcase goes over that weight limit, you could be charged. 

There are also situations where you could be charged for your carry-on bag. For example, if you purchased a basic economy ticket, you may not be able to have anything more than a personal item when you board your plane. If you do, you could be charged for it. This could also be viewed as an excess baggage fee.

Finally, some airlines will also charge you money for suitcases that are shaped awkwardly. For example, if you are flying with a base, a fancy piece of artwork, or unusual sports equipment, this unusual shape could make it hard to fit on a plane. As a result, you could be charged for this as well. 

How Can You Avoid an Excess Baggage Fee?

The easiest way to avoid an excess baggage fee is to read the specific regulations of the airline and your ticket ahead of time. That way, you can pack accordingly. For example, if an airline limits the weight of each individual suitcase to 50 pounds, you should probably weigh your suitcase before you arrive at the airport. That way, you know your suitcase is not too heavy. 

Furthermore, if you have purchased a basic economy ticket, understand what you are allowed to bring on the plane with you. You will probably be allowed a personal item; however, you may not be allowed a carry-on bag. If that is the case, the item you bring with you on the plane has to fit underneath the seat in front of you. If someone else is flying with you, and they have a regular ticket, you may be able to ask them to bring your carry-on bag for you. 

Finally, if you want to avoid paying extra money to check a bag, you may be able to get it through security with you. Then, if your bag is too large to fit on the plane, the airline will simply gate check it for you. Usually, airlines do not charge you to get check your bag. Then, you can get it back when you land without having to go to baggage claim. This could save you time and money.

What Do You Need To Know About Your Luggage To Minimize Your Expenses?

Ultimately, there is a lot you need to know if you would like to avoid paying excess baggage fees. Some of the most important points to keep in mind include:

  • You should not have to pay for carry-on bags or personal items unless you have a basic economy ticket. Therefore, take advantage of this and bring as much with you on the plane as you can.
  • Airlines will often charge you money for each checked bag. You may be able to avoid paying for your first checked bag if you have a frequent flyer account, a specific credit card, or are flying in a higher class.
  • Airlines may charge of additional money if your suitcases are over the weight limit. Each airline is different, so make sure you know what the weight limit is. Then, reorganized your luggage to make sure every suitcase is under the weight limit. 

If you keep these points in mind as you go through the packing process, you should be able to avoid paying excess baggage fees. That way, you avoid being surprised when you get to the airport. 

Fly Without Having To Pay Extra Money

The flying process can be expensive. No one wants to pay more than they must for a plane ticket. Even though plane tickets are expensive, you may feel like you are buying an extra ticket just for your suitcases. If you want to fly without paying extra money, then try to bring as much of your luggage on the plane with you as possible. Then, do everything you can to minimize the fees associated with checking bags underneath the plane. You may be able to find certain credit cards that will provide you with a free checked bag at the airport.


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