Tag Archives: Baggage fees

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!

Who’s an old bag?

Well not me.

But now that I have your attention – what did you pay for your checked bag the last time you travelled? This handy chart is a great little overview of the checked bag flourishing industry.

Hmm – that’s pretty interesting. So what has happened since 2010? – LOTS.

I found that most international airlines allow one free bag – that is with the exception of a few such as Transat, Jet Blue, Frontier, Norwegian Air, Spirit, Frontier, Westjet and Wow. Some even charge for carry on such as Wow, Spirit, Allegiant and sometimes also on American Airlines for some fares.

Now when baggage fees were first charged, as you can see from the chart above, people started trying to avoid those fees by not checking luggage and bringing everything carry on. This might be OK for the business traveller who is away from home for just a few days but if you are going on vacation for a couple of weeks it can be a challenge. And if you are travelling with kids – well good luck!

How many flights have you been on when you could not even find a place for your bag in the overhead bin? And what the heck are some people thinking of when they get on board with a carry on bag that clearly would never have fit into the frame at check in if they had tried?

So what is a traveller to do? Well first of all read the rules on the airfare – many airlines now are introducing different layers of pricing for the same journey and some will include free checked bags and others will not. Check this out and see if the difference is worth it. Chuck out those old heavy suitcases and invest in some new lightweight luggage so you can make the most of the weight you are allowed.

Wear your jacket and sweaters on the flight and those heavy hiking boots. Yes it might be a schlep to take them off and on when going through security but it will save you a ton of weight in your luggage.


Ladies – you don’t have to take all those special shampoos from home – or the heavy jars with face cream. I promise you – your face won’t fall off in just a couple of weeks. Pick up the travel size items – they might not have the fancy brands but it will save weight. And if you cannot live without your Estee Lauder expensive face cream go and ask the salon if they have a trial size for you.

All in all, it looks like baggage fees are here to stay – and I am just going to blame it all on the shoes.