November 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio November 2002 Current Issue
November 2002 On TravelPLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:

On Travel

By Sarah J.F. Braley


The higher price of packing heavy...How to find inner peace in a cramped plane

Changing the rules. In an effort to work their way back to profitability, the airlines are finding new ways to get passengers to part with a few extra dollars. This includes raising (and enforcing) the amounts charged to check extra luggage. In general, all the carriers allow two checked bags and one carry-on per traveler on domestic flights; the checked bags cannot exceed 70 pounds or 62 linear inches.

Below are the major carriers’ fees for extra luggage, plus how long before departure bags must be checked.

On American Airlines, the charge is $80 per piece for the first three additional bags; $105 for the fourth, fifth and sixth; and $180 for any additional pieces. Luggage must be checked in at least 30 minutes before departure.

America West charges $75 per piece for extra baggage. Everything should be checked in at least 30 minutes before the flight, unless you’re traveling from Atlanta or Denver, where the rule is 45 minutes.

Continental Airlines allows first-class, BusinessFirst and business-class passengers to check a third bag for free. Otherwise, the fee is the same as American’s: $80 per piece for the first three additional bags; $105 for the fourth, fifth and sixth; and $180 for any additional pieces. Bags must be checked 30 minutes before departure.

At Delta Air Lines, the first additional item costs $40 per piece from Jan. 16 to Nov. 14, and $80 from Nov. 15 to Jan. 15. All year, it is $80 per piece for the second and third additional bags; $105 for the fourth, fifth and sixth; and $180 after that. Bags must be checked in 30 minutes before the flight.

For Northwest Airlines, extra bags cost $80 each for the first through third; $105 for numbers four to six; and $180 for subsequent pieces. Overweight and oversized bags cost $80 each. Customers must check bags in 30 minutes before the scheduled takeoff.

Southwest Airlines’ policy is the most generous: Passengers can check three items for free. After that, they are charged $40 for the fourth and fifth bags; $60 for the sixth through ninth; and $110 after that. Fees for oversized or overweight bags range from $35 to $70 each. Luggage can be checked in up to 20 minutes before departure; 30 minutes if you’re checking in curbside.

United Airlines has a standard fee of $75 for extra or overweight bags; passengers can substitute most sports equipment bags for one of the two items they check for free. Check-in must be completed at least 30 minutes before the flight.

Fees charged by US Airways for excess bags are $80 for first through third; $105 for the fourth through sixth; and $180 after that. Bags must be checked 30 minutes prior to departure.

‘Om’ward bound. There’s nothing like a flight in coach to make you feel as twisted as a pretzel. To help passengers unwind, JetBlue teamed with Crunch Fitness to create the Crunch Fitness Airplane Yoga card (subtitled “How to look like a real weirdo to your fellow passengers”), which is stuck in the seatback pocket on all JetBlue flights.

The card illustrates four relaxation exercises, including the “Tolasana.” (Cross your legs. Put your hands on the armrests. Straighten your arms and push your body up. Remember to breathe into the stretch. Repeat three to five times.)

You can download the card at; just click on the “Cool Stuff” section.

In the waterworks. Coming next summer is a new way to get to Newark Liberty International Airport from New York City. NYWaterway, which runs ferries from Manhattan to several spots in New Jersey, plans to launch service from Wall Street to a new terminal in Elizabeth. Riders will then take a five-minute bus trip to the airport. Further details such as how much the trip will cost, who will run the buses and the charge to go from ferry terminal to plane terminal are yet to be worked out.

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