Checked Baggage Fees of 4 Top US Airline Carriers

Carry-On LuggageWhile doing research for my Airline Flight Delays and Cancellations post, I came across a lot of references for checked baggage fees, thus I decided to do more research and gather info for the same four U.S. carriers: American, Delta, Southwest, and United. Of course, check with your carrier, as these rules and fees can change without notice, especially right now when they are all being so cheap.  (do I sound like an announcer though, lol?)

Panic - LuggageMost of the time we don’t usually have to worry about checked baggage fees as we don’t usually check bags. I have the packing process down to a science, even if we got to Europe, lol. The only time we would check a bag is if we are going to a tropical place or island and need suits/trunks, shorts, different types of shirts, suntan lotion, and snorkel gear. Anyway, since I found I lot of information, I figured I would share it and hope that it may help someone else while planning their trip.  Here is what I found by each airline carrier listed in alphabetical order. These are definitely not the order of preference. as we can’t stand AA, they are horrible. If you want to know why we feel this way, read my Horrible Experience as First Class Passengers post. But I digress, sorry.

American Airline

Checked Baggage Fees - American1st checked bag is complimentary for:

  • Eligible AAdvantage® Citibank card members (on Domestic American Airlines flights only)
  • Eligible US Airways MasterCard® and US Airways Visa® card members (on Domestic US Airways flights only)
  • AAdvantage Gold
  • OneWorld Ruby

1st and 2nd checked bags are complimentary for:

  • AAdvantage Platinum
  • OneWorld Sapphire members and any companions traveling with you (excludes corporate bookings)
  • TrueBlue Mosaic members
  • Confirmed Business customers
  • Confirmed Premium Economy customers

1st, 2nd, and 3rd checked bags are complimentary for:

  • Confirmed First customers on 3-cabin aircraft*
  • AAdvantage® Executive Platinum
  • AAdvantage® Platinum Pro
  • oneworld® Emerald
  • Active U.S. military and/or dependents with ID traveling on orders (1st – 5th bags free of charge)
  • Active U.S. military with ID on personal travel

If you don’t fall into one of these lists, here are the charges per bag.

Region Bag 1^^ Bag 2^^ Bag 3 Bag 4+
Domestic $30 $40 $150 $200
Mexico $30 $40 $200# $200
Haiti $0 / $30* $65** $200# $200
Cuba $0 / $30 $0 / $65** $200# $200
Caribbean (except Cuba and Haiti) $30 $40 $200# $200
Central America $30*^ $40 / $65** $200# $200
Guyana and Suriname $30 $40 $200# $200
South America (except Guyana, and Suriname) $0 / $45* $65** $200# $200
Transatlantic $0 / $75* $100 $200 $200
Transpacific $0 $100*** $200 $200

Delta Airlines

Checked Baggage Fees - Delta

Baggage category Fee Max Weight
First checked bag $30 50lbs
Second checked bag $40 50lbs
Third checked bag $150 50lbs
Fourth(+) checked bag $200 50lbs

Excess Baggage Within the U.S.

Be ready for your trip. See the cost to bring extra bags if you’re flying domestically within the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico.
Excess Baggage Guidelines

Type of Bag

Fees and Rules (Each Way)
$150 USD
BAGS 4 TO 10
$200 USD each
51-70 lbs. (23 kg – 31.75 kg) – $100 USD/CAD*

71-100 lbs. (32 kg – 45.36 kg) – $200 USD/CAD*

Bags exceeding 100 lbs. (45.36 kg) are not permitted

63”- 80” (161 – 203 cm): $200  USD/CAD*

(linear inches: length + width + height)

Bags larger than 80” (203 cm) are not permitted

Find requirements for all special items, including items like golf bags, ski equipment, wheelchairs, and more.

Find requirements for prohibited or restricted items, including items like firearms, explosives, weapons, battery or fuel-powered devices, and more.

 Southwest Airlines

Checked Baggage Fees - Southwest

They state that they do not charge for your first or second checked bag! That’s right, no checked baggage fees! While bag fees have become the norm amongst their competitors, they’ve stayed true to their reputation as the maverick of the airline industry by not charging for bags. Your skis and golf bags fly free too! I love this about Southwest and one of the reasons we actually fly them a lot, even though we usually on carry-on. Plus they have no change fees for flights. It is nice to have some flexibility if our plans change.  Definitely good for the last two years of nightmares.

United Airlines

Checked Baggage Fees - United

United Fees & Policies
Carry on bag: Free
First checked bag fee: $35
Second checked bag fee: $45
Additional bags fee: $150 each (up to $200 on some international routes)
Overweight bags: $100 51-70lbs
$200 71-100lbs (up to $400 on some international routes)
Oversize bags: $200 (up to $200 on some international routes

American Airlines - BaggageI hope this information is beneficial and helps you decide between carrying a bag on the plane or dealing with checked baggage fees on your next trip. Again, check with your carrier before making any decisions. Safe travels.


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3 thoughts on “Checked Baggage Fees of 4 Top US Airline Carriers

  1. thank you for this informative post.. nowadays, it is good to be diligent about checking all these.. and we try to see how we can best optimize what we carry with us on domestic flights (though it has been three years now since we boarded any flight.. – any trips we have taken since have been road trips)

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