Now I am being a bag

Sorry – but I am going to be a bag and moan and complain and throw my hands up in the air and say Why oh why? $60 to check a bag on a Westjet flight if you are flying on the econo lowest priced airfare. It was $30 and now they have doubled it to $60 – wow! Here was the notice that I received.

I am quite sure it won’t be long before Air Canada follows suit.

Now here is the logic behind this – by offering the cheapest posssible airfare with no frills and no bags they can keep the price down and make flying affordable. It also means that any search engine is going to pull up this option first as being the cheapest – although not necessarily the best. And let’s face it – there are many people who fly for business or just an overnight flight where they don’t need to take a big suitcase so this kind of fare would be perfect.

But what really happens is that you see this airfare with no bags and then compare it to the one with bags and figure out that you can totally do carry on for this four day girls getaway weekend. It’s easy. You roll up your dresses, smart pants and cram them into your carry on (lucky that they are wrinkle proof), then squeeze in your make up, overnight skin care routine, hair styling cream, medication. Yikes now that bag is full – but no worries. Remember you are allowed to take one carry one and ONE PERSONAL ITEM (such as a purse or a briefcase). Hello world’s biggest purse – this sucker holds a circus and expands easily so you can squeeze in that extra pair of shoes alongside your passport and evening bag, sunglasses and sunhat. You can probably even slide in your kobo, ipad and iphone.

You know you won’t be able to lift that bag up into the overhead bin but there is always someone ready to help. You know why? People just want to get on the damn plane woman so of course they are going to help you get your extra heavy carry on bag up into the overhead bin and the person sitting next to you doesn’t mind if your over-flowing handbag doesn’t fit properly underneath the seat in front. Of course the flight attendant is going to come and point that out to you and will probably have to try and find space is another overhead bin somewhere – but first of course you will have to take out your valuables like wallets, ipad, iphone – you know. Never mind the people lining up trying to get on the plane.


There could be another scenario that is maybe even worse than the one above. That is that when you get to the check in gate with your super heavy hand luggage they announce that the flight is completely sold out and that space in the overhead bins is limited so anyone who wants to check their bagcan bring it up to the check in desk. FOR FREE. For those who paid $60 to check their bag so that they could have an easy boarding process they just have to grit their teeth.

But let’s look at this in more detail – what about a flight from Calgary to Vegas. What options are there and what is the cost?

I wonder what would happen if there was free checked bags on every flight for every fare basis? Would it make for a quicker and easier getting on and getting off? Probably not! The only way this will ever happen is if we ban carry on completely and make everyone check their bags and allow one small personal item not bigger than a laptop computer. I tell you what – that plane would be ready to go in half the time!

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. Maybe you can just wear layers and layers of clothes – no excess for an extreme heavy person! Shoes and toiletries go in the hand luggage.


  2. Very timely post. I recently contacted WestJet and suggested the same thing. Don’t charge for checked bags. It’s a crazy time waster.. waiting for folks to get their bags in and out of the overhead bins. And allowing them to check for free at the gate. WestJet mentioned it’s only for the full flights. Well, they have offered it for ALL of the recent flights I’ve been on (At least five). And we had to pay. Sheesh


    1. I don’t have a Westjet Mastercard so I can’t comment but I noticed many people mentioned that they don’t have to pay for baggage because they have a Westjet Mastercard and that is one of the perks. I wonder what sort of interest they charge?


  3. Flying has become an endurance test regardless of what “class” you chose. Business Class is just bearable and with the exception of fold-to-bed seats, it is about equal to what economy service used to be.
    The thought of flying, and therefore going on a holiday, is no longer appealing to me. A sad state of affairs.
    By the way, I expect Onex, after paying five billion dollars for WestJet, has just begun the gouging.
    Time for another start up airline?


    1. Very true on so many levels – one of the problems is not enough competition so really Air Canada and Westjet run the skies. I am sure they keep an eye on each other and how much they are charging. Let’s see if Air Canada follows suit with the increased baggage charges.


  4. If I’m reading the WestJet notice correctly, it looks like this increase only applies to flights to and from Europe (transatlantic). Correct??


  5. Another perspective….I haven’t checked a bag in many years, other than a trip to the east coast when I knew my family would all need rubber boots.
    This includes 17 day trip to Europe and several trips to warm destinations, with snorkel gear. It’s a mindset. I do this this to ensure my luggage lands with me and forces me to take only what I really need and will wear. When I’m travelling anywhere for business for 2 days I really don’t want to spend extra time waiting for my bags at either end.
    Sincerely hope that fees for carry on are not in the future. Don’t think it’s fair to punish those of us who can pack lightly and don’t want to be burdened with the vagaries I’d checked baggage.


    1. good point as well. I have done Europe for 3 weeks with carry on – we were travelling place to place with a night here and a night there and I didn’t want to be burdened with too much luggage. It worked fine. Only problem when I got home I never wanted to see those clothes again 🙂


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