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Checked bag changes: Frontier cuts allowance, Delta tests free luggage

Feb. 03, 2022
3 min read
Checked bag changes: Frontier cuts allowance, Delta tests free luggage
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The next time you check a bag on Frontier or Delta, you may be surprised.

With Denver-based Frontier, you may be on the hook for an overweight fee, even if you thought your bag was under the "standard" 50-pound limit.

That's because the ultra-low-cost carrier is tweaking its definition of an overweight bag, as first reported by the USA Today. Beginning on March 1, 2022, checked bags will be capped at 40 pounds each, and those that weigh between 41 and 50 pounds will be charged an additional $50 per bag, per direction.

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Bags weighing 51 to 100 pounds will be charged $100 per bag, per direction, representing a $25 increase from the previous fee for overweight bags.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Frontier's 50-pound limit will continue to apply for travel completed before March 1, 2022, as well as for all tickets purchased before Jan. 18, 2022. Everyone else will need to either pack less or pay up.

Note that the new fee structure is in addition to the charges for bringing a checked bag. You can take a look at the airline's checked-bag fee calculator on its website.

Interestingly, Frontier's move brings its policy in line with its budget carrier competitors. Both Allegiant and Spirit start charging for overweight bags beginning at 40 pounds.

While Frontier is getting stricter about checked bags, Delta Air Lines is doing the opposite.

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The Atlanta-based carrier is piloting a new project that allows passengers departing from its Boston (BOS) hub to check their carry-on bags for free. Eligible flyers will receive a text message from Delta on the day of departure with a proactive offer to check their carry-on bags, an airline spokesperson confirmed to Thrifty Traveler, which first reported the news.

Related: How to avoid checked baggage fees on major domestic airlines

Delta's pilot program is limited to Boston and will last a month, after which the airline may expand the trial elsewhere.

For Delta, the move is designed to speed up the boarding process, where full overhead bins create bottlenecks that ultimately lead to delays.

While Delta will encourage flyers to check their carry-on bags, the airline will continue to keep its fee structure for checked bags. For most domestic flights, Delta charges $30 for the first checked bag and $40 for the second, both of which must be under 50 pounds to avoid an overweight fee.

Of course, if tweaked checked bag policies bother you, there's always Southwest Airlines, which continues to offer two free standard-size checked bags for each passenger, on every fare and every route across its network.

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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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023