7 Ways to Avoid Paying Overweight Luggage Fees - Winning the Timeshare Game

7 Ways to Avoid Paying Overweight Luggage Fees

The trend for airlines to charge additional fees for everything they can think of doesn’t seem to be changing. If anything, there are more ways to charge you extra dollars than ever before. One thing that can skyrocket your cost for air travel is paying for overweight luggage.

For example, if you’re flying Delta and have a suitcase that weighs 51 pounds, you’ll pay $90 each way, adding $180 to the cost of your trip. Heaven forbid that it weighs over 70 lbs – that would cost $175 each way, or an additional $350 for the trip!

Here are 7 ways to avoid paying overweight luggage fees.

Heavy tag on overweight luggage If your luggage is overweight, you could pay a bundle

1) Know the rules and limits

This is the most basic of all – you need to know what the fees and limits are on your specific flights. Different airlines have different rules, and sometimes the rules also vary depending on the routes you’re flying.

With most airlines in the US, the overweight luggage fee kicks in if your bag is over 50 lbs, but Spirit Airlines adds an extra $25 when you hit only 40 lbs. If you’re flying in Argentina, you could find a limit of 15 kgs, which is about 33 lbs.

The point is that you need to find out the rules for your flights. You can’t control keeping your weight under the limit unless you know whether that limit is 50 lbs, 40 lbs, 33 lbs, or some other amount.

  • This Worldwide Baggage Fee Chart is a good starting point, but double check for your flights since rules and fees do change (generally in a more expensive direction)!

2) Buy ultralight luggage

Ultra-lightweight suitcase from Atlantic Luggage Ultra-light suitcase

A standard rolling suitcase could weigh 14 pounds when it’s totally empty. If your limit is 50 lbs, that uses up 28% of your allowed weight before you even pack a thing. If you were trying to stay under 33 lbs, that only allows you a little more weight for your stuff than the suitcase itself uses.

Ultra-lightweight luggage lets you pack more of your own clothing and gear, while still staying under the limit. If you save 7 pounds on your suitcase, that means 7 pounds of souvenirs you can buy.

3) Take two smaller bags instead

You pay extra for each bag you check, but it may cost less to take two separate bags than one large one. For instance, if you’re flying within the United States on US Airways, here’s what the fees are currently:

  • First checked bag = $25
  • Second checked bag = $35
  • Overweight bag 51-70 pounds = $90

As you can see, the cost for adding a second bag is less than you’d pay for a single overweight suitcase. It’s easier on your back, too, than lugging around one enormous bag.

[adrotate group=”4″]

4) Get luggage that warns you if it’s overweight

An innovative design idea from Delsey incorporates an overweight indicator directly into the suitcase. If you see the red light after packing your bag, then you know you’re in the danger zone, and need to move or remove something, or you’ll be paying through the nose.

This is super simple, because there’s nothing extra for you to pack, and you can’t forget it. Just look at the suitcase when it’s packed, and you’ll see in an instant if you have a problem.

Helium Fusion suitcase from Delsey has built-in overweight indicator Suitcase with indicator

5) Use a portable luggage scale

Micro Digital Travel Luggage Scale from Travelon Micro luggage scale

Adding one more item to your packing list isn’t as convenient as having a suitcase that does it for you, but there are advantages to using a separate luggage scale. If you travel internationally, you’ll probably run into airlines with a variety of different luggage rules. Using your own portable luggage scale gives you more flexibility than the built-in indicator, so you can work with a variety of different limits.

Since you’re adding one more item to your suitcase, it’s important to get a scale that’s as tiny and light as possible, while being functional and durable enough to handle large, heavy luggage. Travelon currently makes the lightest scale on the market, weighing less than 3 ounces.

6) Wear or carry on the heavy stuff

Shifting some heavy items to your carry-on bag or your body can help keep your large suitcase under the weight limit.

  • Have a bunch of guidebooks? Pack them in your carry-on bag. It may be harder on your shoulders, but it could be easier on your wallet. Easier still, buy a Kindle, and then you can carry an entire library of books in one tiny e-reader.
  • Going on a hiking trip? Wear your hiking boots on the plane. This could slow you down at the airport security line, but it will save both weight and space in your suitcase.
  • Avoid doing this at the airport. Don’t wait until you get to the airport and they weigh your luggage to start shuffling things around. Repacking on the floor of the airport terminal is no fun at all. (Believe me – been there, done that!) Check everything out using your luggage scale before you head to the airport. If you need to repack, it’s a lot easier to do in your hotel room.

7) Take less stuff

Of course, you could always go for the obvious! šŸ™‚

Comments? Questions?

Have you ever gotten hit with overweight baggage fees? Have any favorite travel tips on how to avoid them? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Travel is one of the great joys in life, but can sometimes involve difficulties or frustrations. This is the first in a regular series of Travel Tips for this blog, to help make your travel adventures as smooth and easy as possible. Stay tuned for more!

Category Groups


  1. Annamae Holda

    I’m curious to find out what blog platform you’re working with? I’m having some minor security problems with my latest site and I would like to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any solutions?

    • Hi Annamae – I’m a big fan of WordPress. It’s capable, easy to use, and has a ton of plug-ins for additional functionality. Best of luck with it!

      • Hi Dieanne,

        Checked Baggage Allowance. Economy: up to 2 pieces, each with a maximum weight of 23 kg (50 lbs.) and maximum sum of dimension equal to 158 cm (62 in.) Is on this particular airlines that I will be traveling in October. I’m allow up to a total of 100 lbs of weigh, am I reading that correctly? I will not pack 50 lbs in each suitcase; I know i have to weigh the suitcase. I am a first time flyer. Thanks for stating to buy hygiene products once I reach my destination.

        I have also learned to buy lightweight luggage and I want to think you for that.

  2. I simply want to mention I’m new to blogs and seriously savored this web-site. More than likely Iā€™m going to bookmark your blog post . You definitely come with very good well written articles. Kudos for revealing your web-site.

  3. My daughter is going to Costa Rica for 9 days and they want a carry on but it is just to much! Boots clothes extra shoes toiletries. And don’t want to pay the 25.00 extra .Is that both ways can help any advice! Anyone

    • Hi Aquilla –
      Thanks for your message! Yes, the luggage fee will apply both ways, so if your daughter needs to check a bag both ways that would be $50 extra. A couple of things I usually do that might help are:
      (a) Wear the boots on the plane. It may not be fashionable, but my hiking boots are bulky and heavy, and take up way too much luggage space. So I wear them, and pack smaller shoes instead. You can do the same with any bulky jackets or sweaters, too.
      (b) Buy toiletries once I get there. I’ll take anything important and hard to find with me, but it’s always possible to buy shampoo, soap, etc. at your destination instead of carrying it.

      Hope she has a great trip! – Deanna.

  4. Jen

    If you check two suitcases is it $25 plus $35 for the second bag or is it $35 for the both together?

    • Hi Jan –

      Airline prices are quoted per bag, not per combined. If an airline says $25 first bag and $35 second bag, that means you’d need to pay $60 for the two.

      Hope that helps! – Deanna.

  5. Dina takla

    If my second bag is empty, shall I pay 35$ ?

    • Hi Dina –
      If you check the bag, then you have to pay the fee. They’ll charge you even more if it’s overweight, but they won’t waive the fee just because it weighs little.
      – Deanna.

  6. Beautiful post it is about the luggage weight fees. Last time my son went to US From UK he faced this problem there there was $50 extra for overweight luggage he was gone be sad while.

  7. tarnya porter

    hi wonder if u can advise

    im flying with egyptair bisuess class n can have 2 suitcases at 32kgs
    But iam moving bk 2 Egypt so have another 2 suitcases but i cant find any info as 2 if they can be 32kg as well or have be under like 27kg which is what i weighted the 2 extra cases at
    i have emailed egyptair but they wont help
    hope u can help as i would like 2 pack my cases now

Leave a Reply to Deanna Keahey Cancel reply

Thanks for sharing! All comments are held for moderation, and manually approved before they appear.