This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.

Delta Air Lines has made the most money of any airline in bag fees this year. How much? $430 million! At $25 per bag that is a bunch but Spirit is talking about $100 per bag soon. YIKES! Back to Delta, If they can keep that pace up, we are talking 2.3 million PER DAY in just bag fees. Break that down even more it is almost $100,000 per hour/24-7! Impressive numbers to say the least. Now as a Delta loyalist I want the airline to make as much money as they can. But, at the same time, I want Delta Points readers NOT to be a part of the 2.3 million windfall each day. A bit of a dichotomy I know, but follow with me here.

So how do we avoid the fee then?

#1) The most obvious step, if you are going to fly Delta, is to get their Delta branded AMEX card. You at least get one checked bag up to 50 lbs free (plus 1 each for up to 8 more passengers with you on the same itinerary). Or, keep in mind, if you redeem FlexPerks points for a trip they will kick in $25 to cover bag fees too!

#2) Understand the carry-on rules. You get one carry on, that may not exceed 22″ x 14″ x 9″, and one personal item. You should see the size of purse Lisa uses when we fly. You could put about a dozen puppies in the thing. Guys, you know a small backpack will work just fine right as “1 item of a similar or smaller size to those listed“. Between the two of you, you can pack a bunch and NOT check a bag. Don’t have a backpack? Buy one as one checked bag fee will offset this.

#3) Get status. Silver is not that hard to reach. Just getting two Delta Reserve cards (personal and biz) and charging $1.00 on each card gets you 20k MQM’s. Then you only need to fly 5k more to reach Silver. Make Gold+ and you get 2 bags free not just one with Silver. [edit: as reader Stils points out, Silver Medallion plus any Delta AMEX cards does get you 2 bags free]

#4) Get creative. You can check one bag free international. But, if you sign up here, and pack your putter and clothes in your golf bag and book on KLM flights, you get 2 bags. Sure you have to buy a golf case, but hey luggage is luggage, right?

#5) Ship your stuff. Most of the time it is cheaper to pay the airline, but if prices go up more, think about USPS or FedEx (earn bonus points here for them btw) or even UPS. Crazy but true!

Other bits. You can, as my friend Michael W always says, look to scottevest.com and “wear” a ton of your stuff. That is not for me but what ever you do, DO NOT pack heavy. The fee for 50-70 is a whooping $90 and 70-100 is $175!

So those are my tips to save you some cash in bag fees. Do you have some tips and tricks to avoid the fee? Please comment below and help your fellow Delta Points readers out! – Rene

PS – Be sure to check out this UPDATED post about bag fee’s!

 

Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
RESERVE/PLATINUM/GOLD
from American Express®
Click here for more information

Share

Join the 1000+ Delta Points daily e-mail subscribers

Posted by rene | 19 Comments

19 Responses to “Ways to AVOID bag fees on Delta Air Lines & Skyteam flights!”

  1. Annalise says:

    One of my pet peeves is the abuse of the carry-on, so I appreciate this post. Once I hit Silver, I always checked my bags. Simply put, I can only recall one instance in the last 45k miles where I didn’t get to the rental car line ahead of other passengers who had carried on or ramp checked their bag.

    Sometimes the best is to just pack smart. I love Eagle Creek Envelopes and the rest of their system. I can pack for 10 days in a carryon with that system, including 2-3 pairs of shoes if needed. For overnight trips, I can use just one envelope the slides nicely in my computer bag to even carry it all in one!

    We have all been guilty of packing too much at some point, but the better you learn what you really need, the easier it is to avoid fees, be it heavy baggage, an extra bag or otherwise.

  2. stils says:

    Two other points that I’ve found recently: If you are a Silver Medallion and have the DL Amex you get 2 free checked bags per person on your itin. Also as a silver Medallion one of your checked bags can be 70lbs.

  3. Delta Points says:

    @Stils – yes! Should have put that in too as you are right. So, FO+DL/AMEX=DL GOLD now ;-)

  4. THEsocalledfan says:

    With status, I don’t need to worry about it, but if I didn’t, I would simply get a carry on through security that is pretty big. Then, wait to board the aircraft until the end. Then, gait check.

    Always amazed most don’t do this.

  5. robertw says:

    Here is the tip I tell everyone that works on every airline (except spirit) Take your time boarding the plane if you want to check a bag for free. By the time you try to board most likely at the gate they will offer to take the bag at no charge. Often these days they will make gate announcements about checking bags for free due to full flights which these days are virtually every flight.

  6. Nick E says:

    I’ve seen more and more Delta GA’s ask about checking bags even BEFORE they start boarding. In fact, the other day, I saw an older lady go up and ask about checking her bag at the gate, and they did it without any hesitation. So as long as your bag can fit through the X-ray machine at TSA (lack of) security,, drag it through and then try to gate-check it.

  7. Great post & thanks for the mention!

  8. Delta Points says:

    @Michael – thanks for a great blog! – Rene

  9. Kathy says:

    I have a question about the Delta free bags. I am booking an award ticket for my son with my skymiles for an upcoming trip. My husband is using his skymiles for the same trip. We both have Delta Platinum Amex cards. I will not be traveling on the trip. My husband gets his bag for free since he is a card holder. Will my son get his bag for free? Is there a way to to tie their res together?

  10. Delta Points says:

    @Kathy – you need to travel with him to get it free (ie the amex card holder or the medallion member).

  11. Kathy says:

    Thanks for clarifying.

  12. [...] when they visit the blog. The one post that got the most attention from Delta corp computers was THIS post about how to avoid bag fees. Delta has a bunch of luggage rules and I have blogged about them [...]

  13. Chris Pittson says:

    Do I have to pay for the trip with my AMEX Deltacard in order to get 1st bag free? My work is sending my wife and I on a nice vacation and they paid for the trip. We do have the trip linked to our Skymiles cards if that makes a difference.

  14. Delta Points says:

    @chris – no. With unided yes.

  15. Rob says:

    If I used AMEX Points to book Delta flight can I just show them the Delta Credit Card at bag check? Also can I use delta skymiles to pay for bag check?

  16. Delta Points says:

    @Rob – just make sure your Delta AMEX is in your profile at “My Delta” and you should auto get a free bag at check-in

  17. Alex says:

    For international flights, you already get one bag free. Will the Delta AMEX get you your second bag free?

  18. Delta Points says:

    @Alex – I think the answer is YES but you could run into issues coming back to the USA and having to pay – here is why. The AMEX T&C says free bag on Delta operated flights. Delta Delta baggage page only specifically mentions a Silver Medallion who has the Delta AMEX gets an extra bag above the std. allowance. Again will post when I get more firm info and txs for a great question!

  19. […] the tray table is good size. The overhead space is so-so but as long as you are inside the “Size Check” size you can get your bag into the overhead on the “C/D” side. The lack of AVOD […]

Leave a Reply

home top

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which DeltaPoints.com, a division of RDL Enterprises LLC, receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). DeltaPoints.com does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.