How to Get Free Checked Baggage on Major U.S. Airlines


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Delta Airlines is another major airline that joined the ranks in upping their checked baggage fees last year.

If you weren’t paying any attention, you might not even have noticed that their prices jumped $5 for the first and second bag for each flight. Nevertheless, there are still ways to avoid paying the expensive baggage fee if you find yourself on a Delta flight.

Baggage Fees

  • First bag: $30
  • Second bag: $40
  • Maximum weight: 50 lb.

On the Delta website, you can find a detailed chart of the specific fees between specific locations. It can be a bit complex to read, so we’ve broken them down for you as best as we can:

  • Flying domestically between two US cities: You’re looking at $30 for the first checked bag and $40 for the second, both ways. That gets you between $60-$140 round trip.
  • Flying to Puerto Rico, Canada, the Caribbean, and some Central and South American Countries: You’ll pay $30 for the first bag and $40 for the second bag.
  • Flying to other international locations: Fees vary.

Your bag should also be under 50 pounds for all of these flights.

How to Avoid Delta Baggage Fees

You can use any of these four methods you can get out of paying for your bags on your next Delta flight.

Premium Ticket

The $30 and $40 fee only applies to tickets in the Main Cabin, Basic Economy and even the Delta Comfort flights.

If you purchase a seat in the First Class, Delta Premium Select or Delta One level, you’re allowed two free checked bags. The weight limit is still 50 pounds, but travelers with elite status can travel with bags up to 70 pounds.

Credit Cards

Cardholders of any of the Delta SkyMiles credit card from American Express can enjoy one free bag on all flights with Delta. These baggage benefits extend to the following credit cards:

  • Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card/ Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card/ Platinum Delta Business SkyMiles Business Credit Card
  • Delta Reserve Credit Card/  Delta Reserve Business Credit Card

Elite Status

Loyal Delta customers can also enjoy waived baggage fees with Delta.

There are four levels of elite status, and all of them have at least one free checked bag:

  • Delta SkyMiles Medallion Silver: You get one free checked bag.
  • Gold members: You get two free checked bags.
  • Platinum and Diamond: You get three free checked bags both ways.

The qualification criteria for Medallion status is calculated by accumulating a certain number of MQMs (Medallion Qualified Miles) and MQDs (Medallion Qualified Dollars)or MQS (Medallion Qualified Segments):

  • Silver: 25,000 MQMs or 30 MQS and $3,000 MQDs
  • Gold: 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQS and $6,000 MQDs
  • Platinum: 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQS and $9,000 MQDs
  • Diamond: 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQS and $15,000 MQDs

Delta is one of the few airlines that allows Rollover Miles for their Elite Status program. Each year, the miles you earn during the last year will help you reach the next status to qualify for a new Elite level.

Special Circumstances

You can qualify for waived baggage fees if you fall under any of these specific circumstances:

  • Delta offers baggage exceptions to any active US military flying under a military order (five bags) or for personal reasons (two checked luggage pieces). They also expand the weight limit and bag size for active US military travelers.
  • Some exceptions depend on what cities you’re flying to. Between the US and Canada to Panama or El Salvador, your first bag is checked in for free. However, if flying from the Atlanta airport, you’ll still have to pay $30 for the first bag.
  • All customers are allowed to check in a stroller and a car seat on Delta flights, free of charge.