How to Avoid Last Minute Extra Baggage Charges at the Airport
The flying bus in 2022 is an annoying and wallet-draining experience. Depending on which airline you’re flying with, you may have to pay for everything from Wi -Fi and headphones to apple juice and advance seat privilege . And it’s really a rare flight where you can leave without paying any baggage fees, whether it’s because your suitcase is too big or just because it exists.
But some travelers have found creative ways to get around airlines charging us crazy money for travel essentials (such as clothes).
Avoid Extra Baggage Fees with a Duty Free Bag
If you want to take an extra “bag” on board and avoid additional fees, make it plastic. Preferably tall, strong, opaque, with the inscription “Duty Free” on the side. Because, as flight attendant Miguel Muñoz told Express.co.uk , “duty-free bags do not count as hand luggage” – a fact that many travelers are unaware of.
While most airlines charge for your suitcase and carry-on, they don’t charge for a bag full of stuff you just (wink) bought at the airport. Any bag that looks like it came from one of the shops at the airport will do, but it’s better if you can’t see through it.
The use of your Duty Free bag can be planned in advance (for example, I’m intentionally going to use it as extra carry-on for my books, umbrella, and workout shoes that I won’t even be wearing ). Or you can save it for those emergency moments at check-in when your luggage weighs more than the established limit and the airline wants to charge you for excess weight. At this point, you remove some of the heaviest items and put them in your handy fashionable Duty Free bag. As Frommer points out, “It’s not against the rules. It’s just a loophole.”
Munoz (who did not name the airline he works for) admits to using the method himself on vacation to avoid extra fees. “When I see people coming on board with a bag from a duty free shop that looks very full, I always assume that they are using it for this purpose, since it clearly contains more than one perfume or a bottle of wine. But many crew members do not know this and will not understand. If you come on board with one piece of luggage that you are allowed to and a duty-free bag with some of your belongings, no one will say anything.”
Well, now they can. Since this hack has also gone viral on TikTok, airlines may start to follow it. Take advantage of this while you can. (And when that method doesn’t work, there’s always the ” stuff your clothes in an empty pillowcase ” hack.)