Be sure to check up on checked-bag fees

The pockets of holiday season travelers flying within the United States this year might get picked by the domestic airlines’ latest trend: charging for luggage.

All but two of nine major national airlines flying out of San Francisco International Airport charge up to $25 for the first bag fliers check, and in a couple of cases a third bag can cost as much as $100.

Southwest allows the first two bags for free, then charges $50 for the third. JetBlue checks the first one for free, then charges $30 for the second.

Furthermore, airlines sometimes charge per pound for bags that outweigh 50 pounds.

“The rule of thumb, I say, is about 20 kilos [about 44 pounds],” said travel agent Glenn Talken from AirTreks, which specializes in international trips. “And the cheaper the airline, the more likely it is they’re going to charge to check the bags.’’

Most airlines offer to waive the baggage fee if the traveler buys an upgrade, and two of them — Delta and Continental — knock off $2 for checking in online.

Talken also said he refers all his clients to the website www.luggage, which allows them to enter an airline and then spells out the rules for them accordingly.

And do not try to sneak on with two carry-ons. Most of the airlines now only allow one plus a personal handbag.

Despite the increasing fees, SFO spokesman Mike McCarron said traveler numbers this year have increased by 4 to 5 percent.

Sky-high for the holidays

Travelers need to include the cost of getting to the airport, parking at SFO and checking baggage in their holiday budgets.

Parking: $14 per day

  • Can use FasTrak


  • First bag: $25
  • Second bag: $35
  • Carry-on: 1


  • First two bags: Free
  • Bags three-nine: $50
  • Carry-on: 1
  • Virgin America:

  • Bag one through 10: $25
  • Carry-on: 1
  • Delta:

  • First bag: $23 online, $25 in person
  • Second bag: $32 online, $35 in person
  • Carry-on: 1
  • JetBlue:

  • First bag: free
  • Second bag: $30
  • Third bag: $75
  • Carry-on: 1
  • Alaska:

  • First through third bag: $20
  • Four and up: $50
  • Carry-on: 1
  • Continental:

  • First bag: $23 online, $25 in person
  • Second bag: $32 online, $35 in person
  • Carry-on: 1
  • US Airways:

  • First bag: $25
  • Second bag: $35
  • Third-plus: $100
  • Carry on: 1
  • American Airlines:

  • First bag: $25
  • Second bag: $25
  • Third-plus: $100
  • Sixth-plus: $150
  • Carry-on: 1
  • Source: Airlines, SFO

    Bay Area NewsLocalSan FranciscoSFO

    If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
    Find out more at

    Just Posted

    Advocates with the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition hold a rally outside City Hall before the Board of Supervisors were to vote on a resolution supporting the creation of a public banking charter on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
    Should San Francisco run its own public bank? The debate returns

    Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, momentum was building for San Francisco to… Continue reading

    Apprenticeship instructor Mike Miller, center, demonstrates how to set up a theodolite, a hyper-sensitive angle measuring device, for apprentices Daniel Rivas, left, Ivan Aguilar, right, and Quetzalcoatl Orta, far right, at the Ironworkers Local Union 377 training center in Benicia on June 10, 2021. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters)
    California’s affordable housing crisis: Are labor union requirements in the way?

    By Manuela Tobias CalMatters California lawmakers introduced several bills this year that… Continue reading

    People fish at a dock at Islais Creek Park on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
    What Islais Creek tells us about rising sea levels in San Francisco

    Islais Creek is an unassuming waterway along San Francisco’s eastern industrial shoreline,… Continue reading

    Organizer Jas Florentino, left, explains the figures which represent 350 kidnapped Africans first sold as slaves in the United States in 1619 in sculptor Dana King’s “Monumental Reckoning.” The installation is in the space of the former Francis Scott Key monument in Golden Gate Park. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
    What a reparations program would look like in The City

    ‘If there’s any place we can do it, it’s San Francisco’

    Officer Joel Babbs, pictured at a protest outside the Hall of Justice in 2017, is representing himself in an unusually public police misconduct matter. <ins>(Courtesy Bay City News)</ins>
    The strange and troubling story of Joel Babbs: What it tells us about the SFPD

    The bizarre and troubling career of a whistle-blowing San Francisco police officer… Continue reading

    Most Read