Bag fees have long been a major gripe for passengers, and most do all they can to avoid paying them. That sometimes means shipping bags ahead, though the most common way flyers dodge these fees is by cramming as much as possible into their carry on bags and avoiding checked baggage altogether.
Just last week, both JetBlue and United hiked single bag fees from $25 to $30, with the second checked bag increasing from $35 to $40, and any additional bags going up from $100 to $150. And other airlines will likely follow, giving travelers more incentive to avoid checking a bag.
Carry-on size allowances are pretty standard across most airlines, with dimensions at American, JetBlue, Alaska, Delta, Hawaiian, and United all at 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches.
Of course, some carriers are a tad more generous.
Carry-on crammers will find Southwest allows slightly larger bags, measuring 10 inches x 16 inches x 24 inches, as highlighted in a new report by bag storage service LuggageHero. Those extra inches could mean an extra pair of shoes and a few more tightly rolled outfits. Heavy packers will also appreciate Southwest’s two free checked bag policy.
Spirit Airlines comes in 2nd place with 10 inches x 18 inches x 22 inches, followed by Frontier with 10 inches x 16 inches x 24 inches, though these carriers charge extra for carry-on baggage. United is sometimes lax about basic economy passengers with carry-ons, though technically the policy is to charge the checked bag fee plus an extra $25 penalty.
Traveling carry-on only isn’t without its problems. You’ll have to limit the amount of liquids and gels (and now powders, too) that you pack. Plus, finding space for all those clunky carry-ons certainly slows down the boarding process. Sometimes there is no space and you’re asked to gate check.
But for most, eliminating bag fees and the need to wait around a baggage carousel upon arrival is reason enough to pack only a carry-on.
Above image by Zoff via Shutterstock