Checked Baggage Fees Are Heading Skyward

There's plenty to hate about flying as it's done today, and yet it's still the best option most of us have for getting far away fast. The airport is a hassle, the seats are getting smaller, and they don't even feed you much anymore, but the airline industry figures you don't really have an alternative. That's why you're about to see higher prices for checked baggage in four major U.S. airlines.

USA Today reports that this month, American, United, Delta, and JetBlue have raised fees to check your luggage by about $5. It seems like a small bump, but if you're traveling with a group or a family, that can add up fast. Pile it on with animal companions, overwhelmed children, cabin crud, and TSA aggravations, and it's not hard to wonder if there's a better option.

There may be, but it could involve calling your elected representatives. This past spring, a Department of Transportation undersecretary spoke about regulatory burdens at a trade luncheon, meaning airlines don't like paying extra to keep you comfortable. USA Today offered some tips for avoiding the increased baggage fee, but ultimately, you may not want to travel out of a carryon or sign up for an airline credit card just to get what used to be normal service.

There is one constant, at least: Southwest Airlines still lets passengers check two bags for free. Their flights aren't always the cheapest available, but when it comes to your travel experience, sometimes the cheapest way to pay is with money.