Unusual Ways to Avoid Baggage Fees

These days, people are willing to do just about anything to save a few bucks.
And, the New York Times notes, the more inventive airlines are with the fees they subject their customers to, the more travelers are willing to become wilier to avoid them.
The Times story says that most people are content just to try shoving as much as possible into coat pockets, personal items and carry-on baggage — but that can result in the dreaded Battle of the Overhead Bin. So others have gotten even more creative. The article talks about fliers who are willing to drive up to 100 miles farther just to reach an airport serviced by an airline offering free checked bags.Baggage Hall at Gibraltar Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One woman, who was moving her daughter to college for the first time, realized that paying to haul the bags cross-country would cost more than another plane ticket — those charges can really add up. So she did her research and found that Southwest, though the closest airport was 25 miles farther than she’d planned to drive, was a more realistic option because all six of her daughter’s bags could fly for free between her, her husband and her daughter.
Another option: going plastic. (Opening an airline-branded credit card, that is.) Many of these cards offer the first checked bag free for cardholders, in addition to other money-saving perks.
You can also ship your bags ahead. While it may seem like an expensive option, the cost of shipping something via UPS or Fedex can sometimes be less than the cost of the baggage fees. Plus you don’t have the hassle of wrestling your bags in and out of cars, and off the luggage carousel. They’re waiting for you when you arrive.
And for those who want to maintain the flexibility of flying whatever airline they’d like, there are solutions like vacuum sealers that suck the air out of special bags and make it possible to stuff far more into a bag than pre-sealing. You’ll have to find a way to do it on the return trip as well.
There are plenty of legislators and travelers’ rights groups hard at work trying to reduce the prevalence of baggage fees, but until then, there are plenty of ways to game the system and save yourself from getting nickel-and-dimed.
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