How to Avoid Baggage Fees on Delta Airlines

How to Avoid Baggage Fees on Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines is not immune to the dreaded checked bag fee. If you aren’t careful, you could pay a ton when checking bags on your next Delta flight. Here are a few methods to help you avoid those extra fees.

How Much Does a Checked Bag Cost?

Delta levies checked bag fees that are similar to other major U.S. carriers like American Airlines and United Airlines. The chart below lists checked bag fees when departing from a U.S. gateway. The fee is per bag, each way.

Region/CabinBag1Bag2Maximum Bag SizeMaximum Bag Weight
Domestic/Main Cabin$25$3562 inches50 pounds
Domestic/Delta One, First, Business$0$062 inches70 pounds
To central America and the Caribbean/Main Cabin$25$4062 inches50 pounds
To central America and the Caribbean/Delta One, First, Business$0$062 inches70 pounds
To South America, China, Japan, Guam, Hong Kong, Palau, Saipan, Singapore, South Korean, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and South Africa/Main Cabin$0$062 inches50 pounds
To South America, China, Japan, Guam, Hong Kong, Palau, Saipan, Singapore, South Korean, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and South Africa/Delta One, First, Business$0$062 inches70 pounds
To Europe, Israel, and North Africa/Main Cabin$0$10062 inches50 pounds
To Europe, Israel, and North Africa/Delta One, First, Business$0$062 inches70 pounds
To the Middle East and India/Main Cabin$0$10062 inches50 pounds
To the Middle East and India/Delta One, First, Business$0$062 inches70 pounds

Check Delta’s website for checked bag exceptions and additions to the above list.

How Many Bags Can You Check for Free?

Delta SkyMiles Medallion members with elite status as well as SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus Members are eligible for complimentary checked bags when traveling within the United States and Canada according to the chart below. See the chart at Delta’s website for free baggage allowance when traveling to other countries.

 # of Free Checked BagsMaximum Bag SizeMaximum Weight of Bag
Diamond &Platinum Medallions traveling domestically in Delta One, First, or business362 inches70 pounds
Diamond &Platinum Medallions traveling domestically in Main Cabin362 inches70 pounds
Gold Medallions and SkyTeam Elite Plus traveling domestically in Delta One, First, or Business362 inches70 pounds
Gold Medallions and SkyTeam Elite Plus traveling domestically in Main Cabin262 inches70 pounds
Silver Medallions and SkyTeam Elite Plus traveling domestically in Delta One, First, or Business362 inches70 pounds
Silver Medallions and SkyTeam Elite Plus traveling domestically in Main Cabin162 inches70 pounds

Can You Avoid Baggage Fees?

There are other ways to avoid checked baggage fees, even if you’re not a Delta SkyMiles Medallion elite member:

Co-Branded Credit Cardholders: American Express is the bank that offers Delta-branded credit cards. If you hold the American Express Delta Gold, Platinum, or Reserve card, you get one free checked bag for yourself as well as one complimentary checked bag for up to eight other passengers on your reservation. That’s quite a benefit for families! The bag must not exceed 62 inches in total length plus width plus height and it can’t weigh more than 50 pounds.

Delta levies checked bag fees that are similar to other major U.S. carriers
Delta levies checked bag fees that are similar to other major U.S. carriers

Active U.S. Military Personnel and Dependents: Active duty U.S. military personnel on orders to or from duty stations and dependents traveling with them or active U.S. military dependents traveling separately on relocation orders may check bags at no charge. If you’re traveling on military orders in Delta One, First, or Business, you can check five bags for free. If you’re traveling in Main Cabin, you can check four bags for free. In both circumstances, the bags can be no more than 80 inches in total length plus width plus height and weigh 70 pounds or less.

If you’re traveling on personal business in Delta One, First, or Business, you check three bags for free (no larger than 62 inches and 70 pounds each). In Main Cabin, you can check two bags for free (no larger than 62 inches and 50 pounds each).

Starwood Crossover Rewards Program: If you’re a Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum elite member, sign up for the Crossover Rewards Program, which offers a free checked bag when flying on a Delta flight. This perk is valid for you and up to three other passengers traveling on your reservation.

Check Your Bag at the Gate: Sometimes when a flight is oversold, the airline will offer to check bags for free at the gate. This is meant to ease the burden of finding overhead space once the aircraft begins boarding and to make sure the boarding process proceeds smoothly. If you’re willing to take a chance, bring your bags to the gate area and wait and see if an announcement is made. If it’s not, you can always approach the gate agent and ask to check your bags for a fee.

  • Magic Voice

    Andrea, you write, “If you’re a Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum or Gold elite member, sign up for the Crossover Rewards Program, which offers a free checked bag when flying on a Delta flight.” Are you sure that applies to Starwood Gold? The Starwood Crossover rewards site (https://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferredguest/account/benefits/delta/confirm.html) says:

    “SPG Platinum and Gold members earn 1 Starpoint for every dollar spent on eligible Delta flights. Plus, SPG Platinum members enjoy elite benefits when traveling with Delta, such as priority check-in, Priority Boarding and first checked bag free.”

    That seems to mean that Gold does not get the free checked bag.

    • RewardExpert

      Thank you for noticing this. You are right, Gold does not get you first checked bag free. This benefit is available to Platinum members only.