October 28, 2011

Holiday Travel Tip: Baggage Fees

BF and I started swapping the major holidays with our families roughly 2-3 years ago. Every other year, we swap who's family we spend Thanksgiving with and who's family gets Christmas. With our families between Chicago & Atlanta, it's the only way we can be equal to both sides.
Also with the distance, we have to fly. BF tried to convince me to drive this year (Thanksgiving is in Atlanta/Greenville, SC) but he's never done that... He recently took a road trip with some fraternity brothers for another brother's bachelor party in Alabama and thought it wasn't too bad.
Except he hasn't taken the trip in winter.... 
Seeing as how I went to Purdue, I had to drive home for Christmas break every year.... driving through the snowy smoky mountains... not fun.

Anywho, back to my tips :)
The holidays for me are planned well in advance and I typically purchase my tickets in August/September. So I'm set for home. However, a couple girlfriends and I have decide on another trip which required a ticket purchase (Keep a look out for my post-trip analysis).
So, we got on our 3-way and scoped out ticket prices from our destinations on Bing.com. I came across several airlines with the same pricing, so it came down to earning mileage with BF's loyalty program. I went to a few of the airlines sights to check out what the additions would be. I noticed when BF and I went on Summer vaca with my fam that his airlines had HUGE additional fees, especially when it came to baggage checking. This being said, the companies can continue to post ticket prices without it so we have to do our own homework (sigh... I always hated homework).
While doing my research, I came across a bit of irony, and I WILL be using the airline names (and screen shots of their policies).

Most (if not all) allowed for one carry on and one personal item for free.
 Both United & Delta have a $25 fee for your first checked bag and $35 second checked bag.

AirTran went a little bit better with $20 fee for the first checked bag and only a $5 up charge for the second (vs. $10 increase for the second bag on the other airlines).

By far the best was Southwest which offers FREE baggage for your first 2 bags... and lets face it ladies, if you can't fit what you need for a week long trip in 2 bags under 50lbs. you might be a shoe-a-holic (or like me, and option-a-holic because I need to have OPTIONS for MULTIPLE outfits :) ).

So bottom line, I'm annoyed I have to waste my time going through all these websites trying to find my true cost (which is double whatever they charge because obviously if you take it with you on the first leg, you'll be bringing it home). Also, most of the baggage fees were at least 4 clicks through the website, and I wanted to make this easier for others.

Do you have any tips when traveling? Depending on the success of trip, I'll let you know if I have any other tips for y'all! I might even include BF (the professional traveler) who spent over a year on the road with his first company out of college.

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