Fast Fact: Airlines raked in nearly $3 billion from baggage fees last year (so don't count on them going away).
4 More Ways to Avoid Charges
The 3-1-1 Rule for Liquids and Gels
- Choose a no-fee airline. Your first checked bag flies free on JetBlue; on Southwest Airlines, you get two bags free per person.
- Take advantage of exemptions. Many airlines waive fees for elite-level frequent fliers and their companions, and for active military.
- Consider an airline-branded credit card. Delta's Sky Miles Gold American Express allows up to nine people on the cardholder's reservation to check one bag gratis for an annual fee of $95. Love Continental Airlines? Check out OnePass Chase MasterCard.
- Sleep and save. Some hotels reimburse baggage fees if you stay a certain number of nights; check websites for current promotions.
When trying to decide what's okay to carry on, remember the Transportation Security Administration's 3-1-1 rule: Pack liquids and gels in 3-ounce or smaller containers and place them inside a 1-quart ziptop plastic bag (one bag per traveler is allowed). Medications exceeding 3 ounces are acceptable in "reasonable quantities." Declare these items for inspection at the security checkpoint.