The Carolina Queens | Ship Luggage or Check Bag?
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Ship Luggage or Check Bag?

Ship Luggage or Check Bag?

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If you thought you were mad when the airlines lost your luggage before – try paying $25 for the “privilege” now! Is your wife or girlfriend travelling with you? Make that closer to $50 for the overweight bag you just got a hernia lugging out of the trunk.

Now that the airlines charge for the first bag you check in, So is there a better way? Maybe. Have you considered shipping your luggage ahead of time to your final destination? While I can’t help you get your wife/girl to pack lighter, here are some things to consider making a final decision to check bags or ship luggage.

One important note: Shipping luggage is generally not an economical option if you’re flying overseas. Most airlines still allow travelers to check two bags for free on international flights, and shipping a bag outside the United States can easily cost as much as your airfare. The information below is geared toward domestic travelers.

Who: All major airlines

Price: This varies from airline to airline. Some airlines still allow passengers to check a single bag for free. Exceptions to this rule include American, United, US Airways and Spirit, all of whom charge $15 for the first bag you wish to check. After that first bag, you’ll have to pay on almost every airline. On AirTran, it’s $10 for a second bag; on JetBlue, it’s $20; and on American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, Spirit, United and US Airways, it’s $25.

In most cases these fees do not apply to elite fliers, passengers who have paid full fare on a particular route, and travelers flying internationally beyond the U.S., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada. In other words, people shelling out a ton of money to begin with to fly… Always check your airline’s Web site for exact terms and conditions.

Pros: Despite the new fees, checking your bags is usually still the cheapest option for travelers bringing only one or two pieces of luggage.

Checking bags is convenient if you are a last-minute packer, since you don’t need to make advance arrangements for dropping off your bag or having it picked up.

When the system works properly, your luggage departs and arrives at the same time you do.

Cons: Even if you pay a fee to check a bag, there’s no guarantee that the airline won’t lose or trash your luggage.

You’ll have to wait in line to check your bags before your flight, and then wait again at the baggage carousel after you arrive. If you have a stopover, you might get to repeat this fun more than once!

Hauling your own bags to and from the airport can wear you out, and it’s less convenient than having a shipping service do all the work for you.

If your bags are overweight or you’re checking more than two items, you could pay dearly in airline penalties — making shipping a more economical option.

So that’s the skinny on checking your bags. Tune in tomorrow for thoughts on shipping your luggage so you can compare and see what’s best for you!

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