Delta Air Lines has made the most money of any airline in bag fees this year. How much? $430 million! At $25 per bag that is a bunch but Spirit is talking about $100 per bag soon. YIKES! Back to Delta, If they can keep that pace up, we are talking 2.3 million PER DAY in just bag fees. Break that down even more it is almost $100,000 per hour/24-7! Impressive numbers to say the least. Now as a Delta loyalist I want the airline to make as much money as they can. But, at the same time, I want Delta Points readers NOT to be a part of the 2.3 million windfall each day. A bit of a dichotomy I know, but follow with me here.
So how do we avoid the fee then?
#1) The most obvious step, if you are going to fly Delta, is to get their Delta branded AMEX card. You at least get one checked bag up to 50 lbs free (plus 1 each for up to 8 more passengers with you on the same itinerary). Or, keep in mind, if you redeem FlexPerks points for a trip they will kick in $25 to cover bag fees too!
#2) Understand the carry-on rules. You get one carry on, that may not exceed 22″ x 14″ x 9″, and one personal item. You should see the size of purse Lisa uses when we fly. You could put about a dozen puppies in the thing. Guys, you know a small backpack will work just fine right as “1 item of a similar or smaller size to those listed“. Between the two of you, you can pack a bunch and NOT check a bag. Don’t have a backpack? Buy one as one checked bag fee will offset this.
#3) Get status. Silver is not that hard to reach. Just getting two Delta Reserve cards (personal and biz) and charging $1.00 on each card gets you 20k MQM’s. Then you only need to fly 5k more to reach Silver. Make Gold+ and you get 2 bags free not just one with Silver. [edit: as reader Stils points out, Silver Medallion plus any Delta AMEX cards does get you 2 bags free]
#4) Get creative. You can check one bag free international. But, if you sign up here, and pack your putter and clothes in your golf bag and book on KLM flights, you get 2 bags. Sure you have to buy a golf case, but hey luggage is luggage, right?
#5) Ship your stuff. Most of the time it is cheaper to pay the airline, but if prices go up more, think about USPS or FedEx (earn bonus points here for them btw) or even UPS. Crazy but true!
Other bits. You can, as my friend Michael W always says, look to scottevest.com and “wear” a ton of your stuff. That is not for me but what ever you do, DO NOT pack heavy. The fee for 50-70 is a whooping $90 and 70-100 is $175! – René
PS – Be sure to check out this UPDATED post about bag fee’s!
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.