Travel Smarts

Not-so-friendly skies: Watch out for sneaky baggage fees during holiday travel

Not-so-friendly skies: Watch out for sneaky baggage fees during holiday travel

During the busiest travel season of the year, we're always thinking of ways to travel smarter. One of those ways is to know the luggage costs before arriving at the airport. 

Forget scrambling and stressing and rearranging your belongings at the check-in counter. We did the work for you with a roundup of the luggage fees on major airlines — carry on and the first two checked bags — for domestic travel.

Among the highlights: Southwest Airlines is still the only carrier with no baggage fees, although you can check one bag free with Jet Blue. At $20 each for first and second checked bags, Frontier's fees are a few bucks less. Most airlines allow one carry on for free and charge $25 for the first and $35 for the second.

Although Spirit brags about its cheap fares, the airline will get your money in the end through baggage fees. Spirit charges $35 even to carry on a bag, and that fee can get as high as $100 if you don't book online.

It's worth noting if your bag is oversized (bigger than 62 linear inches) or overweight (for most airlines, that's more than 50 pounds), you'll pay even more. Fees also vary for international travel. 

Here is the breakdown:

American
Carry on: Free
First checked bag: $25
Second checked bag: $35

Delta
Carry on: Free
First checked bag: $25
Second checked bag: $35

Frontier
Carry on: Free
First checked bag: $20
Second checked bag: $20

JetBlue
Carry on: Free
First checked bag: Free
Second checked bag: $40

Southwest
Carry on: Free
First checked bag: Free
Second checked bag: Free

Spirit
Carry on: $35 with online booking; $40 at reservation center; $50 at airport kiosk/counter; $100 at gate
First checked bag: $30 with online booking; $35 at reservation center; $45 at airport kiosk/counter
Second checked bag: $40 with online booking; $45 at reservation center; $55 at airport kiosk/counter

United
Carry on: Free
First checked bag: $25
Second checked bag: $35

US Airways
Carry on: Free
First checked bag: $25
Second checked bag: $35

Virgin America
Carry on: Free
First checked bag: $25
Second checked bag: $25

Tumi
Plan ahead by knowing the cost of checking your luggage before you get to the airpot.  Tumi/Facebook
Spirit Airlines
Spirit charges hefty baggage fees, even for carry on. Spirit Airlines/TerminalU
Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines is the only carrier that doesn't charge for carry on or checked bags. Southwest/Businessweek