Originally Posted by You
This is what I know from personal experience: United charges more if you do not print a boarding pass online. It cost only $11 for the flight to Grand Teton National Park but for the return home, we paid $15 per bag because Yellowstone does not have the Internet. So if you are going to end your trip where accessing the Internet is impossible, don't go with United. I don't like that airline. It charged me for the first bag.
If you are traveling to another U.S. city, you can't beat Southwest. That is the only one, unfortunately, that never charges for the first or second bag. The only downside: they're not able to fly outside the United States.
Unfortunately, nearly all of the major airlines now charge for every
checked bag, except that
>> Passengers travelling on paid First Class or Business Class tickets,
>> Passengers travelling on paid unrestricted
Coach Class tickets, and
>> "Premium tier" members of their frequent flier programs
may check up to three (3) pieces of luggage with no additional charge. The typical fees ($25 for the first checked bag and $35 for the second checked bag at the counter) are not too onerous, but they do add up.
The bottom line here is that most of us would do well to concentrate our flying on one airline and its alliance partners in order to attain "premium tier" membership in the frequent flyer program. In fact, it's well worth taking an extra trip or two if necessary to maintain that standing because it brings a lot more perks than just complementary checked luggage!
That said, Delta Air Lines and American Express are now advertising that, as of 01 June 2010, all Delta tickets purchased on a SkyMiles AmEx card will receive one complementary checked bag per passenger. If other airlines follow suit, this benefit could pay for any membership fees associated with the respective cards for those who don't fly enough to attain "premium tier" membership in a frequent flyer program.