What started with a single airline charging passengers to check their second piece of luggage has slowly evolved into a massive money making scheme netting some airlines as much as $1 Billion in additional cash.
The state of airline travel now means there are just a handful of airlines that do not charge for additional bags, and those airlines that do charge you, are getting so greedy that they are actually raising their prices again.
At the moment, United Airlines and US Airways charge $15 for the first checked bag, and $25 for the second – that fee is about to go up an additional $5 for passengers who do not prepay to check using the airline website.
Delta and Northwest (the same airline now they have completed their merger) will be charging an insane $50 for the second checked bag on international routes.
The only major airline that has (so far) resisted the urge to charge for checking bags, is Southwest. This low cost carrier has even launched a massive TV advertising campaign promoting the fact that they offer free checked baggage on their flights.
Bottom line is that a family of 4, each carrying 2 bags will pay as much as $500 if they fly abroad on some airlines. The only solution to the problem is to bring less stuff, or try and stuff as much as possible into the overhead bin.
A well maintained airline baggage fee chart can be found over at the site of Airfarewatchdog.com.