Q+A -November 2008
Do you have any tips for avoiding the excess fees that many airlines are charging these days?
Most U.S. carriers have adopted fee structures that golf travelers will have difficulty sidestepping, unless they’re flying business or first class. The new penalties for checking a second bag range from twenty dollars (Jet Blue) to fifty dollars (Delta). An exception is Southwest, which still allows you to check two bags for free, making that Troon North or Boulders jaunt a little easier. Also, American does not charge extra baggage fees on international flights.
Another pitfall is stiff penalties for checked luggage that weighs more than fifty pounds. Weigh your bag on a bathroom scale before leaving home, or get the Balanzza Ergo ($25, balanzza.com), a new digital luggage scale that straps onto the handle of your bag, then registers the weight when you lift it.
One way to offset baggage fees is to buy tickets from airline websites rather than through third parties. Whatever you do, don’t purchase them from the airlines over the phone—that can add at least fifteen dollars to the cost.