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As a major legacy carrier with flights all over the world, Delta Air Lines keeps things fairly straightforward. Unlike with checked bags, there's no specific weight limit for carry-ons and personal items — which is good news — though you'll need to make sure your items fit within the airline's size limit. To avoid the airline's last-minute checked bag fees and hefty overweight penalties, come prepared. Here's how to avoid the crunch on your next Delta flight. 

Is there a baggage fee?

On all of Delta's domestic flights (specifically, anywhere within the 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), baggage fees start at $30 for a single checked item in economy; a second checked bag costs $40. 

That changes if you're flying internationally. On a trip to Rome, for example, the first bag is complimentary, and you'll pay $100 for the second bag. Ditto for flights to Beijing and Tokyo, though for other international destinations — like Delhi, Cairo, and Muscat — you're allowed two free checked bags. The exact fee depends on where you're flying, and can be found by using Delta's online baggage fee calculator

What’s included in the baggage fee?

One carry-on and a personal item are included in the cost of any seat in the main cabin. It's worth noting the above fees apply only to basic economy, economy, and Delta Comfort+. Once you upgrade to first class, Delta Premium Select, or Delta One, you automatically get two free checked bags — and they'll even bump up the weight limit from 50 pounds to 70 pounds.

Skymiles Medallion members, too, are always eligible for exemptions

Small tractor unit pulling Delta Air Lines luggage trucks at Seattle Tacoma airport
Credit: Getty Images

What’s the catch?

A basic economy ticket does not grant you a free checked bag. If you are traveling to Europe, the first checked bag will cost you $75, while the second increases to $100. (If you are traveling to Africa, the Middle East, or Australia, however, your first checked bag is free.) Planning a trip to South America? You'll also pay extra for your checked bag. On a flight to Buenos Aires, the first bag will be $60, and the second checked item will be $100. 

While Delta's free international checked bag fees are quite reasonable, things start to go south the minute you add additional luggage. A third checked bag will incur a $150 fee, and slightly overweight checked bags (51 to 70 pounds) will cost an extra $100; heavier loads (71 to 100 pounds) will do serious damage, coming out to $200 apiece.