Friday, November 21, 2008

Baggage becoming a musical money chair

Airlines are struggling in many ways, and baggage handling and fees are no exception. Northwest will initiate fees for even the first checked bag effective with December 5 flights though there seems to be a gray area (or perhaps no fees?) if your ticket was purchased before November 12th.

Horizon, a common partner airline for NWA here in the Pacific Northwest, remains free for the first bag: - Alaska Air Baggage Rules.

Suffice it to say that savvy travelers should probably start to prepare a good "carry on" strategy to keep costs lower and hassles to a minimum, since picking up checked bags offers challenges of its own.

I find that creative packing of a small roller suitcase and a large backpack gives me plenty of room for about a week of travel. For longer trips just plan a single laundry event in the mix and you are good to go with the same clothes. I used this tactic in China for my April 2008 15 day adventure and it worked just fine although I did send home a very large additional bag (at no charge on United at that time), filled with chopsticks, pillow covers, and other souvenir items.