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Google Flights' Newest Feature Now Able to Factor in Additional Hidden Baggage Costs

Dec. 09, 2018
4 min read
I feel like standing at the luggage carousel is equivalent to playing a slot machine.
Google Flights' Newest Feature Now Able to Factor in Additional Hidden Baggage Costs
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Google Flights is one of our favorite tools for searching for flights. While you can no longer use the "old" interface that we all came to love, Google Flights keeps adding new tools for finding cheap getaways. Recently, Google Flights added features such as advising travelers when to book holiday travels, indicators for when you're getting a good or bad deal and telling you when an airfare will expire soon.

One of the best recent features has been the addition of an "overhead bin access" option, which factors in the cost of carrying on a bag into the price shown in the results. This increases the listed price for ultra-low cost carriers and airlines that don't allow a carry-on bag on basic economy fares. (This tool was specifically named by American Airlines executives when the airline explained to investors why it was changing to allow free carry-on bags on basic economy fares.)

Now, Google Flights is back with another bag-fee feature to help travelers figure out the true cost of their flight: checked bag costs. If you want or need to check a bag, you can now factor the price you see in the Google Flights search results just like you could with carry-on bags.

Flight searchers can now choose 0 or 1 carry-on bags and 0 or 1 checked bags and the search results will indicate the total price of transporting you and your bags.

At this time, Google Flights will only price out the first checked bag, not a second or third bag. Also, this option is only appearing in domestic US flight searches. International flight searches only have the carry-on bag fee feature.

This new feature flips the tables on airlines that allow a carry-on bag but charge for checked bags. While these airlines did better under the prior bag filter, ultra-low cost carriers that have reasonable checked bag fees are going to come out ahead when someone opts to check a bag and not carry-on any bags.

Take for example Delta's battle with Frontier on the route between Atlanta (ATL) and Austin (AUS). If you just search flight prices, Frontier looks like it's a much cheaper option.

With the "overhead bin access" feature though, Delta's carry-on-bag-including basic economy fares look much more affordable:

However, if a traveler selects a checked bag through this new feature, Frontier looks a lot more affordable yet again — as Delta's newly-increased $30 checked bag fee matches Frontier's $30 checked bag fee when purchased at booking:

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This is a great new addition to Google Flights, and we applaud any effort to help educate travelers on the fees they might incur when traveling. After all, baggage fees are big business to airlines, with more than $4.5 billion in baggage fees collected by US airlines in 2017.

That said, not all travelers are subject to checked bag fees when they check a bag. Check out our guide on how to avoid checked baggage fees on the six major US airlines. This guide goes through the checked baggage allowances for airline elite members, credit card holders and special circumstances where a checked bag fee won't apply.

Can't get enough Google Flights features? Read more about browser extensions to add legroom to the search results, flag when a fare is a basic economy fare and easily price check a flight search on Momondo, Expedia, Skyscanner or Kayak.

Featured image by Getty Images

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