70lbs, 50lbs, 40lbs what is the right MAX weight for a bag (not just for cost)?

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how much is too much for bag weight spirt air

I cannot imagine anything worse than flying Spirit Air other than maybe Ryan Air. Either way I would rather drive, take a train or a bus (or walk & swim even). I am clearly not a fan of their pricing structure and the airline. In addition to, that is, their bag weight MAX limit of 40lbs.

delta std bag fees

Delta has, as we should know and like many airlines, a std. 50lbs MAX weight limit. There are lots of exceptions but this is the basic one for most including the free bag fee waiver with the Delta AMEX cards airline travel cards.

Even when Lisa & I are flying business class with Delta I tend to always do my best to NOT go over 50lbs as what I have found is the bag folks tend to really beat up my bags when they are over that limit and around 40lbs is even better.

So what is the perfect weight and would it bug you if Delta were to drop the MAX limit without charge to 40lbs? Have you found that your bags suffer more the more they weigh? Have you ever had to take stuff out at the airport to avoid an over weight fee? Shout-out and let me know! – René
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Editorial Note: 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 any card issuer.

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11 comments

  1. I would have serious issues on my ski trips. I take 2 bags (one has my skis) and it’s all I can do to keep them both under 50 lbs. My ski boots are too heavy to lug around in my carry-on backpack and I don’t want a 3rd wheeled bag. I actually can’t pack my clothing bag as fully as I’d like as it would be over.

    I’ve had to rearrange items a few times and once or twice move something to my carry-on to avoid fees – even though my scale at home indicated the bag was < 50 lbs.

  2. About the only time I check bags when I travel with my Bike Friday folding bicycle (once or twice a year). When I have everything in the bike suitcase (a Samsonite Flite) it comes to about 54 lbs. When Medallions got 70lbs on TATL flights I was very happy because I don’t have to worry.

    Since they’ve lowered it to 50 lbs I can get by transferring stuff into by clothes bag but that is not optimal if one bag is delayed.

    There is no physical way for me to get the weight down below 40lbs. If there was a nominal fee for bags between 40 and 50lbs I could live with it. If they charge the std overweight fee then I would be very upset.

  3. This would be bad for me. I have one “case” which is usually 60+ pounds. Since I carry my close in a Pelican case it can be over 50lbs when I am gone 5+ days in the winter. Why a Pelican case? Water proof, mostly Delta proof, floats, and will not rip like fabric. 40lbs and I would be paying big time. 2 bags at 70lbs for Diamond is great!!

  4. 30 lbs in a daypack-style carry-on for a two-week vacation is an absolute max for me, including a small extra daypack (25 lbs if it’s not expected to be below freezing). Don’t typically fly for skiing since I live within an easy drive to Jackson Hole, Sun Valley and Park City; and I rent my scuba gear on location. For a business trip I’ll go as high as 35 lbs, but any heavier than that and I ship ahead – 15 lbs for a 4 day trip is more typical. Haven’t checked a bag in 15 years other than when I’ve progressively moved my kids across country.

  5. Oh man 40 lbs would not cut it flying for work. As it is sometimes flying coach I have to throw tools away coming back from jobs. Nothing gets weirder looks than unpacking a hammer and three rolls of gaff tape and tossing it in the trash.

  6. Folks, why aren’t you shipping the items in advance? It makes life a lot easier if you are not trying to carry everything with you.

  7. @Kent C We use that same scale also and can’t say enough good things about it as well – incredibly useful and lightweight/easy to use. This has saved our family from the aggravating and inconsiderate “repack your bags at the check in counter” scenario that we’ve seen happen.

  8. @LumpyLump
    If you get free shipping, then have at it. I understand less aggravation has value though. What’s your cutoff? $100 per bag to not have to check them? $150 per bag? There is also the risk you take by having them delivered to a hotel or condo. Think how many hands are touching your bags. If you think the chances of losing your bag from airport to airport are bad enough is it worth the extra stress to hope they end up at your destination?

  9. I feel the pain year-round paying extra bag charges across the globe for my kid-skier. To keep up with competitions in many countries he needs a skibag with 3 pairs of skis at a minimum, weighing around 50 lbs.
    All clothing and gear goes into a second bag weighing around 50 lbs – boom! … $100 per leg for tatl or tpac many times a year.
    The rest of his (heavy) stuff like boots is being carried-on and mostly sneaked thru, i.e. in Europe, where carry-on weight limits apply.
    Many times it’s controlled chaos at check-in, because of items having to be transferred between bags, although he always travels with a handheld scale and knows exactly what will/can go thru and what will not.

  10. No to 40 pounds. I normally will check 2 at 50 and one at 70 pounds. My next project, I am an advertising photographer, will take me to Paris, Hamburg, Milan then Sorrento. I will check 2 at 50 and 2 at 70 pounds. The 4th case is for the extra lighting I’ll need for Sorrento, it is a 5-7 day video project.

    I lament the days I could check 3 bags at 70 pounds for free. Then it dropped to 2 at 70, and now 2 at 50.

    Steve Thornton
    +1 404-231-9900 – USA
    +39 0287 365202 – Milan, Italy
    http://www.stevethornton.com/

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