Baggage charges may seem to be the new reality both in Asia and beyond, but there are still a few ways to give them the slip.
Maximise Your Miles: Achieving elite status on one airline helps you avoid fees on that carrier and increases your baggage allowance, but also gives you privileges with other alliance members.
Think Ahead: You’ll save if you prepay for a checked bag while booking with airlines like AirAsia and Jetstar.
Know Your Friends: If you’re travelling in Asia, you’ll get ample allowance from major carriers but pay up for low-cost carriers; in the U.S. the opposite applies. A JetBlue ticket includes one free checked bag; Southwest Airlines passengers can check two bags free.
Team Up: If you’re travelling with someone, pack in tandem so that one person carries on the other checks. Fill the checked bag with toiletries, shoes, bulkier items or anything that won’t make it through a security checkpoint.
Shop Till You Drop: Hitting Siam Square or Chatuchuk Market to refresh your wardrobe? Minimise what you bring (you’ll want to wear your new clothes, anyway) and pack a foldable bag into a carry-on suitcase. Pay to check it on the return leg only.
Not All Bags Are Created Equal: carry-on bags that meet dimension requirements on certain flights won’t always fly with others; if you haven’t used the bag with a certain carrier before, call ahead to ensure it’ll fit.
Do Your Duty, Free: Bags packed to the limit but no gift for the in-laws? Buy duty-free, which won’t go against your weight limit.