Major airlines, from United to American, are raising checked bag fees. Here’s how to save

It now costs an extra $5 to check a bag with United Airlines — the latest airline to raise the price for checked bags.

Passengers paid nearly $6.8 billion in baggage fees in 2022, according to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Data from 2023 was not fully available.

The change went into effect Feb. 24, according to United. Your first bag — in most markets — will now cost $40 and your second will cost $50, according to the airline’s bag fee calculator. If you prepay, your first bag would cost $35 and your second would cost $45.

Days earlier, American Airlines raised its prices, too. Your first checked bag for domestic travel will cost you $40 — $35 if you pay online — and the second will cost you $45. It previously cost $30 for one bag and $40 for the second.

Alaska Airlines increased prices by $5, making your first bag $35 and your second bag $45.

If you’re flying Blue Basic on JetBlue, which raised prices by $10 for checking bags within 24 hours of departure, you’ll pay $45 for the first bag and $60 for the second. If you pay for the bags more than 24 hours before your flight, you’ll pay $35 on the first and $50 on the second.

How can you save?

Baggage fees depend on the airline. Southwest, for example, still allows two free checked bags.

You can also save by planning ahead. Paying for bags before you check in for your flight often means you can save. For example, if you fly United or American, you’ll save $5 by paying early.

If you use a luggage scale to weigh your bags before traveling, you can make sure your bags aren’t overweight, according to CNBC.

Several airline credit cards allow you to save on checked baggage, according to NerdWallet. You could also try booking first or business class if you have several bags. Depending on the airline, NerdWallet found, some higher classes can check bags for free.

Using an airline frequent flier program could help you save too, as elite status members can fly checked bags for free, according to NerdWallet.

And if nothing else, you can always leave the checked bag at home — just make sure your carry-on meets requirements.

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