What to expect when you travel.

Airlines Raise Checked Luggage Fees

by Lacy Saye

School Tours of America Luggage and Travel Gear

Published March 18th, 2024 (please check the airlines websites for the most updated information.)

Travelers, be prepared for an extra expense on your upcoming student group travel trip – many US airlines have recently increased their checked luggage fees. Here's a quick rundown of what to expect:

Which Airlines Raised Luggage Fees?

The Rise in Fees: Delta, United, American and Alaska Airlines have all implemented fee hikes in the past few months. The increases range from $5 to $10 per checked bag.

What it Costs Now: Expect to pay around $35-$40 for your first checked bag on domestic flights with most major carriers. Second bags will cost you $45 or more. Luggage over 50 lbs. will typically cost $100 or more per overweight bag.

How Can Group Travel Leaders Prepare?

Pack Light: Since airlines still allow one carry-on and one personal item for free in most cases, you may encourage student travelers to bring smaller luggage.

Check Airline Fees: Review the specific luggage fees for your airline and route before you pack. Most airlines have their fee schedules readily available on their websites. We advise group leaders and travelers to read the fine print and understand allowances before arriving at the airport.

Beat the Price: If the flight is full and the overhead space is limited, airlines may offer travelers free checked luggage at the gate. This strategy would be the riskiest but can be beneficial for students or teachers in particular situations.

Tips for Educational School Tour Leaders

Plan Ahead: These fee increases are recent, so be sure to factor them into your final educational school tour preparation meeting to keep student travelers and their parents informed.

Airport Expenses: Cash is no longer accepted by most airlines. Prepare student travelers and parents ahead of time by coordinating a plan to avoid any surprises at the airport.

Pro Tip: Teachers and group leaders, collect luggage fees from families of travelers at your final trip meeting to cover the cost for all your student travelers in one transaction. Alternatively, advise families to provide students with a pre-paid credit card to handle the luggage fee expense.

Stay Informed!

The latest travel fee increases are new but they are subject to change, so be sure to review airline baggage fees ahead of your educational school tour. We encourage teachers and parents to review airline websites for a clear breakdown of checked luggage fees and potential airlines offering free checked bags. 


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