Packing heavy bags could hit you hard in the wallet, as fees hit the $400 level, according to a report by USA Today.
This week, the publication released its annual survey of airline fees, showing costs keep going up and up for passengers.
The highest fee? American Airlines charges $450 for an overweight checked bag weighing 71-100 pounds on its Asian flights.
Other airlines have also gotten in on the fees. For an overweight checked bag weighing 71-100 pounds, Continental Airlines charges $400 on most international flights. United Airlines charges $400 for checking bags weighing 71-99.9 pounds on flights to another continent.
On "The Early Show" Wednesday, Ben Mutzabaugh, USA Today travel reporter, said most airlines are justifying the high fees by saying they need the fees to recoup the fuel charges for carrying such heavy luggage on long flights.
He added, "I think they really are just trying to discourage heavy bags. It's difficult for them to handle. The good news to this is, so few people are traveling on itineraries like that with such heavy luggage, it affects a small portion of us. Most of us are likely to pay fees domestically that are much lower than those international ones that are the eye-popping numbers of $400 to $450."
However, the average American in the U.S., Mutzabaugh said, will pay $20 to $25 for a checked bag or $20 to $35 for a second bag.
He said, "That's possibly an extra $120 per trip just on bag fees. It's less expensive than that $400 number, but can add up especially for a family traveling for the holidays."
What extra fees could catch you this travel season?
- Carry-on baggage fee: Mutzabaugh said, "Do you know you have to pay to carry a bag on for Spirit Airlines? If it doesn't fit under the seat front of you, they may charge you $30 to $40 to put it in the overhead bin for you."
- Seat assignments: "Believe it or not," Mutzabaugh said, "on some airlines it can cost $7 just to choose your seat or $15 to $20 to book an exit row.
- Online booking fee: "Allegiant Airlines, it's a small carrier, they fly to a lot of cities, but they're not super-big. They charge $16.99 (for an) online booking fee. The only way to avoid that is buy your ticket at the airport."
So how can you avoid those fees?
Mutzabaugh suggests trying Southwest because they have a campaign that permits two free bags. JetBlue, also, doesn't charge for the first checked bag.
He also suggested trying to concentrate your flying for the year on a single airline or applying for an airline credit card with perks like free checked bags.
Mutzabaugh said, "There's still some hoops to jump through, but there are some ways you can avoid some, if not, all of the fees."
"Early Show" co-anchor Chris Wragge joked, "You can also grow wings or (try a) magic carpet. Those are some of the other options."