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These Airlines Are Increasing Their Fees For Checked Baggage

If you're planning a trip, this is important information.

Savvy travelers have an incredible talent for packing light. Even on long trips, these organizational wizards manage to jet around the world toting only a carry-on. And if you weren’t considering it before, the latest airline news may be the motivation you need to improve your packing skills so you never have to check a bag again.

Four airlines recently announced increases in baggage fees. JetBlue got the ball rolling by raising their fees on Aug. 27, Bloomberg reported, and a few days later, Air Canada, WestJet and United joined in with fee updates of their own.

The airlines see the price increases as more than fair. “This is the first change since 2014 and will help offset overall increasing costs and keep overall ticket prices competitive.” Air Canada spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur told the Calgary Sun.

Commuters Take To The Road And Rail In The Annual Christmas Getaway
Getty Images | Dan Kitwood

“As we continue to make investments that make travel on United better, we are making adjustments to our checked bag fees in select markets — most of which have not been changed for the past eight years,” a spokeswoman for United told Bloomberg.

suitcase photo
Getty Images | Sean Gallup

New Fees For Checked Bags

The price changes start at $5 more per bag.

JetBlue and United Airlines both bumped their fees up by $5 per bag for the first two checked pieces. The fee for the first checked bag increased from $25 to $30; the second checked bag increased from $35 to $40. JetBlue has also increased the fee for a third checked bag to $150. (It was $100.)

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WestJet is raising its fees to $34.50 for the first checked bag and $59 for the second checked bag (for travel within Canada). WestJet’s new fees go into effect next month, on Oct. 1. However, anyone who has a ticket purchased before Aug. 24 can get the grandfathered fee by speaking to an airport agent.

Air Canada will now charge $30-$31.50 for the first checked bag on flights between the U.S. and Canada. The second bag will be $50-$52.50. However, the airline will charge its old fees on tickets issued before Aug. 21 or for travel before Oct. 5, 2018.

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How To Minimize Baggage Fees

The key, of course, to not racking up baggage fees would be to fly with nothing at all, but let’s be realistic. Since it’s likely you will be flying with something, there are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind in order to keep baggage charges to a minimum.

Jill Paider, author of “Carry-On Only: Confessions from 100 Countries,” says before any trip, it’s important to make a checklist. Not only will you not forget anything, but it’s a lot more likely that you also won’t overpack. Round out your list by including basics like toiletries, medications and tech accessories. Once you have collected those items, Paider says you should then make clothing choices based on the climate, temperature and events you might run into while traveling.

Another pro tip? Paider recommends rolling clothing instead of folding it to allow for more things to fit into a suitcase.

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So, will you become a minimalist traveler now? Really, if you want to, you can do it!