FareCompare’s updated baggage fee chart

Feeling a little confused about what each airline charges for bags? What about your first checked bag? Do you pay more for a second? What does an airline define as an overweight bag?

Fare aggregating site FareCompare has recently published its domestic airline baggage fee chart, and it’s a pretty handy list. If you’re trying to decide between a couple of airlines for an upcoming trip, check this chart first and see if you wind up coming ahead by choosing one airline over another. Just remember that many of these airlines don’t charge you when you book your ticket, so this won’t actually affect your travel budget until you actually show up at the airport and they tell you how much more to shell out for your big check-in suitcase.

The chart is broken down into two columns: Carry-on bags, and checked bags (and pets). A quick scan shows that Spirit Airlines is still the only airline that insists on charging people for their carry-on ($20 to $45).

All airlines have restrictions on the size of your carry-on, although most of them either have very liberal weight policies or do not specify a weight limit on your carry-on at all. That is, of course, except for Virgin (remember how I had to carefully weigh my bag to fit their requirements when I went to Europe a couple of years ago?).

All airlines allow you to carry on “one personal item”—amusing that both an umbrella and a women’s shoulder bag would qualify…

It looks like most airlines charge between $20 and $25 for your first piece of checked luggage. Your second piece of checked luggage will cost you at least as much as the first, although most airlines charge a hair more. You start paying some hefty fees though, when you have luggage that’s too big, weighs too much, or you travel with a gaggle of suitcases like Paris Hilton on her way to film a new reality show on location.

One surprise I didn’t expect was that Southwest isn’t the only airline to provide an allowance for free checked luggage. JetBlue doesn’t charge for your first checked bag! That’s where the similarity ends, though. While Southwest doesn’t charge for the second item, JetBlue charges $30. But hey, that first one is free.

As usual, traveling light pays off. Two people traveling round trip can easily save $80 on a trip by learning to pack just their carry-on.

Here’s the chart. Keep it handy next time you need to book your flight:  http://www.farecompare.com/how-to-shop/domestic-baggage-fee-chart.html