Tip: Weigh Your Bags Before Getting to the Airport

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Not only do many airlines charge extra for checked bags (and some airlines like Spirit and Frontier, even charge for carry-on luggage), but they’ve also become much stricter when it comes to baggage weight. This is especially important to consider if you’re taking advantage of all the cheap fare deals Norwegian and WOW Air have been offering to Europe, as these carriers charge extra for pretty much everything.

Whereas each airline has its own set of rules, typically, checked baggage on most US carriers shouldn’t weigh more than 50 pounds. However, this varies by airline, route, elite status and travel class, so make sure to check the rules of your carrier before flying.

American, Delta and United start charging $100 once your bag weighs in at more than 50 pounds. If your bag is extremely overweight, you may have to pay even more. Since you may already be paying to check a bag on domestic routes (though you can often avoid these fees if you have certain credit cards or elite status), these additional charges can add up to be more than the price of the actual ticket if you’re not careful.

Suitcase on scale
Weigh your checked bags (or all your bags) before traveling. But don’t worry, you can get a special luggage scale. Image courtesy of Dimitri Vervitsiotis via Getty Images.

Many European, Asian and Middle Eastern carriers like Alitalia, Singapore, Emirates and more charge extra for overweight carry-on baggage, so you may as well weigh all your bags to make sure. It’s best to be sure to check with your carrier to see what the baggage restrictions are so you can avoid any additional fees when you get to the airport.

The easiest way to weigh your suitcases at home or on the road is with a handheld luggage scale. Here at TPG, we like the Camry Luggage Scale and the Portable Digital Luggage Scale From Travel Gadgeteer, both available on Amazon.

Feature image courtesy of PoppyPixels via Getty.

2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card



CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Know before you go.

News and deals straight to your inbox every day.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.