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Delta baggage fees and how to avoid paying them

June 18, 2022
12 min read
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Checked baggage fees are common these days. These fees can be confusing, but the Delta Air Lines baggage fees are easy to understand thanks to clear policies and charts.

While Delta checked bag fees can add up quickly, there are many ways to receive your first — and many times even second — checked bag for free.

This comprehensive guide will cover all the information you need to know about the Delta baggage policy.

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Delta carry-on guidelines

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

All passengers on a Delta flight can bring one carry-on bag and one personal item, free of charge. Personal items — such as a laptop bag, briefcase, small backpack, diaper bag, etc. — must fit under the seat in front of you. Meanwhile, you can store a larger carry-on bag in the overhead bin.

However, per the Delta carry-on guidelines, on Delta Connection flights with 50 seats or fewer you're only allowed a personal item. You'll need to check your carry-on luggage as you board the plane, but there's no charge. And you'll typically get this baggage back upon deplaning.

Carry-on luggage must not exceed a combined length, width and height of 45 linear inches. And your carry-on bag can't be more than 22 inches long, 14 inches wide and 9 inches high. All measurements include any handles and wheels. However, size restrictions don't apply if your carry-on is a small musical instrument.

With the Delta carry-on guidelines, there's also no weight restriction for your bag unless you are traveling from the following locations:

  • Singapore: 15 pounds or less.
  • Beijing: 22 pounds or less.
  • Shanghai: 22 pounds or less.

There are also a few exceptions where you can bring additional items on board for free. For example, if you're traveling with a child, you can check a stroller or car seat at the gate. Alternatively, if you booked a seat for your child (required for those 2 and older) or if there's an open passenger seat in your row, you can bring a Federal Aviation Administration-approved car seat on board.

Related: What is Delta Air Lines elite status worth?

Delta baggage policy

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

With the Delta baggage policy, passengers can check up to two bags per flight. But some passengers have to pay a Delta checked bag fee.

The fee varies based on route and fare class, and those with Delta elite status or a Delta credit card might also be able to get the fee waived. Your baggage's length, width and height must not add up to more than 62 inches.

Delta baggage fees for flights within the United States

For those traveling within the United States, here's how much you can expect to pay for a first or second checked bag:

First bagSecond bag
Basic economy, Main Cabin and Comfort+ 
General member$30.$40.
Delta Medallion Silver memberFree.$40.
Delta Medallion Gold memberFree.Free.
Delta Medallion Platinum or Diamond memberFree.Free (and third bag free).
Premium Select, first class and Delta One
General memberFree.Free.
Delta Medallion member (Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond)Free.Free (and third bag free).

The Delta baggage weight limit is 50 pounds per bag for passengers booked in basic economy, Main Cabin and Premium Select and 70 pounds per bag for passengers flying Delta One, first and business. Additionally, passengers with Delta Medallion elite status have a 70-pound weight limit per bag before they face extra fees.

There are some exceptions to the above rules, though. For example, all passengers traveling to or from Key West, Florida, are limited to just one checked bag. Additionally, the fee for the first checked bag doesn't apply if you're traveling to or from the United States and Canada to either Tocumen International Airport (PTY) or El Salvador International Airport (SAL)

Related: Easy ways to earn more Delta SkyMiles

Delta baggage fees for flights between the United States and most international destinations

The Delta checked baggage fee varies based on your route for travel between the United States and most other international destinations. You can check the fee of an already booked flight or one that you are looking to book here. But here's an overview of what to expect:

First bagSecond bag
Basic economy, Main Cabin and Comfort+ 
General member$0 (select basic economy routes have a fee).Check fee.
Delta Medallion Silver memberFree.Free.
Delta Medallion Gold memberFree.Free.
Delta Medallion Platinum or Diamond memberFree.Free (and third bag free).
Premium Select, first class and Delta One
General memberFree.Free.
Delta Medallion member (Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond)Free.Free (and third bag free).

The Delta baggage weight limit for international flights is also 50 pounds per bag for most passengers. However, if you are flying in first class or Delta One, the baggage weight limit is 70 pounds per bag.

Military baggage fees

If you're an active member of the United States Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard — regardless of whether you're traveling on military orders or for leisure — you won't have to pay the same fees as above. And those traveling on military orders can check a bag up to 80 inches in combined length, width and height.

Basic economy, Main Cabin and Comfort+Premium SelectFirst class and Delta One
Military ordersFive free bags (up to 100 pounds per bag).Five free bags (up to 100 pounds per bag).Five free bags (up to 100 pounds per bag).
Personal travelTwo free bags (up to 50 pounds per bag). Three free bags (up to 50 pounds per bag).Three free bags (up to 70 pounds per bag).

Overweight and oversize baggage fees

If you are checking a bag that exceeds the above weight or dimensions, you'll face extra fees (although there's an exception for some special items) in addition to the baggage fees.

With the Delta baggage policy, for flights within the United States (including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico), you'll be charged the following:

Overweight bag

  • 51 to 70 pounds: $100.
  • 71 to 100 pounds: $200.

Oversize bag

  • 63 inches to 80 inches: $200.

Delta won't accept your checked bag if its weight exceeds 100 pounds or if its length, width and height add up to more than 80 inches.

If you're checking a special item (such as sporting equipment, musical instruments or medical supplies), you'll want to check the fee for that particular item. Many special items don't have an excess fee attached to them, so you'll only need to pay the regular checked bag fee. For example, ski and snowboard equipment often count as a regular checked bag.

Excess baggage fees

If you need to check more baggage than the standard amount, Delta will allow up to 10 bags per passenger for flights operated by Delta or Delta Shuttle and up to four bags on Delta Connection flights (on a space-available basis).

Unless you are eligible to check three bags for free — per the above table — for domestic flights (including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico), you'll be charged $150 for the third checked bag and then $200 per bag for bags four through 10.

Prices to carry excess baggage on international flights vary depending on the route. However, some common routes cost the same as domestic pricing, such as flights to Canada, the Caribbean and Central America.

Excess bags must also be within the standard weight and dimension requirements. Otherwise, you'll also face extra fees based on the excess weight or size.

Related: 5 things you need to know about Delta SkyMiles

How to avoid Delta checked bag fees

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Although Delta Air Lines charges passengers a fee to check bags, there are many ways for your bags to fly for free.

Elite status allowances

Those with Delta Medallion status — Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond — benefit from a checked-bag-fee waiver. When traveling domestically, those with Silver status can check one bag for free, Gold can check two bags for free and Platinum and Diamond receive up to three bags at no cost.

When traveling to or from the U.S. or Canada, Medallion members in Comfort+, Main Cabin or basic economy can check one additional bag up to 50 pounds over the standard cabin allowance. And Medallion members in Delta One, first class or Premium Select can check up to three free bags at 70 pounds per bag.

Up to eight companions traveling on your reservation can also benefit from your elite baggage allowance on Delta-operated flights. However, for flights departing from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) or Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), this benefit doesn't apply.

Related: How to change or cancel a Delta Air Lines flight

Credit cards

Several Delta credit cards give you a first checked bag free when flying Delta, including:

This first-checked-bag benefit can save you $30 per one-way or $60 on a round-trip flight. Up to eight additional companions on the same reservation as the cardmember can reap this benefit. For example, if you have four members in your family, that's a savings of $120 each way or $240 for a round-trip flight.

If you have an eligible Delta credit card and Delta Medallion status, you'll also be able to check a second bag for free while traveling within the U.S. and Canada.

Related: Want a piece of aviation history in your wallet? Here’s why you need to consider the new Delta card offers

Book a premium cabin

As you can see in the charts above, those flying in the front of the plane can check several bags for free. If you booked a Premium Select, first-class or Delta One seat, you can check up to two bags for free. However, you'll still face extra fees if your bag exceeds the standard size or weight.

Use card travel credits to cover fees

While many Delta travelers already have one of the Delta credit cards — which waive the fee for the first checked bag — there are a few other ways to cover the cost of checking your bag.

For example, several travel rewards cards come with annual statement credits toward travel purchases, which you can use toward Delta's checked bag fees. One popular card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve, with which you'll receive up to $300 in annual travel credit.

There's also The Platinum Card® from American Express, which allows you to pick an airline of choice at the beginning of the year to receive airline fee credits. So long as you enroll in this benefit and select Delta as your airline of choice, you could reimburse your baggage fees with this credit.

Related: Carry-on vs. checked bags: Which is the better choice?

Bottom line

The Delta checked baggage policy is pretty straightforward and there are many ways to waive the fee for you and your traveling companions.

Additionally, Delta offers a baggage guarantee. Based on this guarantee, if your checked bag doesn't arrive at the baggage carousel within 20 minutes after a domestic flight, you'll receive 2,500 bonus miles. This is a unique opportunity to hold Delta accountable and earn bonus miles when it doesn't live up to your expectations.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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