There may be times that you would like to check a number of bags when flying. For example, you may be moving across the country for a new job, or you're a college student heading to or from school.
Most U.S. airlines will let you check up to 10 bags, and with some carriers it may be worth the price, but the fees on other airlines will make you look at other options.
I've been asking people to guess which airline offers the best rate on 10 bags when traveling on a domestic flight in coach class. The No. 1 guess has been Southwest. Wrong.
While Virgin America doesn't have an extensive route map, it was clearly the cheapest for extra bags, since the total for 10 checked bags would be $250. The airline charges $25 per bag for up to 10 bags, and the first bag may weigh up to 70 pounds. The second through 10th may weigh up to 50 pounds each.
On Southwest, 10 bags would cost $460, with the first two bags free, the third through ninth bags costing $50 each and the 10th or higher bag costing $110 each. Continental and United charge $860 for 10 bags.
(Continental offers a $5 discount for checking the first two bags online.)
American charges $1,110 for 10 checked bags. The total for 10 checked bags on Delta would be $1,580 to $1,585. US Airways fees are similar to Continental's and United's, although it allows only nine checked bags.
Remember that you'll be covered for $3,300 per passenger for luggage liability on domestic flights, whether you check one or 10 bags. You'll also want to keep in mind that you do have to keep within size and weight restrictions for checked baggage, typically 50 pounds or less and a maximum of 62 inches when you add length, plus width, plus height, or you'll face additional charges.
If you intend to take a number of bags, check baggage fees before you book. If you find a fare that's slightly higher on an airline that charges far less for extra bags, it makes sense to pay a little more for the airfare. If the checked-bag rates are high, you'll save the most by allowing for extra time and sending your bags by ground shipping. We checked FedEx shipping for 10 bags from Dallas to San Francisco, and it would cost $2,138 for standard next-day delivery. Three-business-days ground shipping, however, would cost $395.
In other news, Hertz is offering to match any weekend or weekly rate offered by a competing major car-rental company plus give you $50 off a future rental. The offer is valid at participating airport locations in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Cars must be picked up by Jan. 31 to qualify for the offer. Customers must reserve a car with another car-rental agency and bring a printout of the reservation to the Hertz check-in counter. You must also reserve the Hertz rental in advance. The $50 discount will be valid for one year. Restrictions apply.
While Hertz rates can be more expensive than competitors' prices, the company usually has decent rates on weekends. Even if the future rate is a little higher, having the $50-off voucher could still make for a nice discount. Visit www.hertz.com, click on "Special Offers" and then on "Take the Hertz Ultimate Challenge."
Source: McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.