What you need to know about Delta checked bag fees and how to avoid them in 2024

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Ceri Breeze/iStock Editorial/Getty Images

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When shopping for airfare, the price that pops up in your search results is often not often the final price of your trip. In some cases, you may find that you’re paying more for luggage than you paid for your boarding pass.

Even worse, the cost for baggage can be a bit confusing, as prices can vary by route. For Delta Air Lines flyers, we’ve created a digestible guide to help you understand what you’ll pay for your upcoming trip. We’ll also cover a simple trick to avoid paying checked baggage fees with Delta credit cards.

Delta baggage fees explained

Expect to pay at least $30 when you check a bag on a domestic Delta Air Lines flight. - Getty Images/iStockphoto
Expect to pay at least $30 when you check a bag on a domestic Delta Air Lines flight. - Getty Images/iStockphoto

Though there are a slew of variables that determine the exact cost, Delta’s baggage fees are relatively straightforward.

Delta allows all passengers to bring a carry-on and personal item for free — even when traveling in its cheapest fare class, basic economy. For checked baggage, the price you pay will depend on your route and what type of fare you’ve booked.

Below are a few digestible charts that can help you to quickly understand what you’ll pay when checking a bag with Delta.

Standard checked bag fees

As is the case with most airlines, checked bags become increasingly expensive the more you bring. When flying domestically (including to/from the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico) in Delta Comfort+ or Main Cabin, you’ll pay $30 for your first checked bag and $40 for your second.

For those traveling internationally, these fees will vary depending on your destination. It’s wise to use Delta’s Baggage Estimate tool to investigate exactly what you’ll pay, but you can expect the following price points.

Flying in a premium cabin (for example, domestic first class and Delta One) will generally afford you two free checked bags regardless of your route. Further, those with Delta Medallion elite status are entitled to free checked bags, though the number of bags varies based on elite tier.

Excess baggage

If you’re intent on bringing more than two checked bags per person, you’re going to pay dearly for them. For domestic travel, Delta charges $150 for the third checked bag — and $200 per bag after that (maximum 10 bags).

Things only get more expensive when traveling internationally. Here’s what you’ll pay.

Overweight baggage

Delta checked bags are subject to weight restrictions. Each bag cannot weigh more than 50 pounds without incurring an additional fee. Domestic bags weighing between 51 and 70 pounds will incur a $100 fee, while bags between 71 and 100 pounds will incur a $200 fee.

Here’s what you’ll pay when traveling internationally with overweight baggage. You can avoid these fees by weighing your bags at home with a luggage scale.

If you’re flying in a premium cabin, your bags can weigh up to 70 pounds without incurring an additional fee.

Oversized baggage

Checked bags are also subject to size restrictions. Each bag cannot be sized above 62 linear inches (you can figure this out by adding the bag’s length, width and height) without incurring an additional fee. When traveling domestically, oversized bags between 63 and 80 linear inches will cost $200.

You can also expect to pay the following when traveling internationally.

Special items

There are plenty of scenarios in which the items you’re taking with you won’t fit into a standard piece of luggage. You may need to bring your guitar for a gig in another state, check sports equipment like skis or a bicycle or even lug a Christmas tree across the country.

While your specific item may have restrictions, objects like these are typically allowed and will count as a checked bag. You can view more information on what special items Delta allows on the airline’s website.

Note that there are also items that Delta may check for free, like strollers and car seats.

How to avoid Delta checked bag fees with a credit card

A number of Delta credit cards give card members complimentary checked bags. - Rich Legg/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images
A number of Delta credit cards give card members complimentary checked bags. - Rich Legg/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images

Simply by holding the right travel credit card, you and your friends and family can skirt checked baggage fees in most cases. This can save you up to $270 each way, depending on the size of the group you’re traveling with.

The following credit cards grant the first checked bag free for you and up to eight travelers on your reservation. Each of these cards also has varying benefits, annual fees and welcome offers.

The only Delta credit card that doesn’t confer free checked bags is the entry-level Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card (see rates and fees). But if you travel with Delta regularly, the savings on checked bags alone could easily offset any of the above cards’ annual fees.

Bottom line

If you routinely check bags on Delta flights, you’re almost certainly paying hundreds of dollars per year in fees. You’ll save a bundle simply by holding the right Delta credit card. You don’t even have to use the card to pay for your Delta flights; as long as it’s linked to the account with which you booked your flight, your first checked bag will be free.

Click here for rates and fees of the Delta Gold Amex
Click here for rates and fees of the Delta Business Gold Amex
Click here for rates and fees of the Delta Platinum Amex
Click here for rates and fees of the Delta Platinum Business Amex
Click here for rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Amex
Click here for rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Business Amex
Click here for rates and fees of the Delta Blue Amex

Looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored Money chose as the best travel credit cards.

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