Obviously, if you don't want to pay baggage fees, it pays to fly with Southwest, JetBlue (first checked bag is still free) or some other carrier that has not put these charges into effect. But many times, we have to book seats on an airline with baggage fees. If the costs on airfares are similar, look at the way the airline structures its baggage fees. One might give you the first checked bag for free and charge quite a bit for the second. Others might spread the cost between first and second bags more evenly. If you only have one bag to check, the first example is a better choice. Take a look at baggage fees for major airlines
and baggage fees for budget airlines
. Rule of thumb: Many budget carriers will give you a break on airfares but charge higher baggage fees. If this is the case, you need to recognize the importance of one-bag carry-on travel.