An airport staff checking the luggage tag

How to Check A Bag at the Airport (5 Things to Know)

Wondering how to check a bag at the airport?

If you’ve never flown before, or maybe you’ve flown but never checked bags, then it might be a little confusing what exactly you’re supposed to do. Learning how to check bags at the airport is actually pretty simple.

Just arrive at the airport with your packed bags that you plan to check, walk up to your airlines ticket counter, and ask to check the bag. They will then weigh it to make sure it’s within their weight guidelines, and allow you to go on with your carry on bags.

Here are some more things to know when checking baggage at the airport.

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5 Tips for Checking a Bag at the Airport

1. Know the Size Limit for Checked Baggage

The limit for checked baggage will always depend on the airline you’re flying with. Of the five major airlines in the United States, only Southwest Airlines currently allows coach passengers to check two free bags. The other airlines will charge about $25 for your first checked bag, and $35 or above for your second.

The size allowance is, however, uniform for most of the airlines. Each bag should not exceed a measurement of around 62 linear inches or weight around 50 pounds. The linear inches are calculated by adding up the length, width and height of your suitcase. See our carry on baggage chart for info on U.S. airlines carry-on size restrictions.

2. Check if You Qualify for Free Checked Bags

Although checked bag fees are a serious source of income for most US airlines, some exemptions are made. You may enjoy these exemptions if you are a frequent flyer, if you hold your airline’s branded credit card, or if you are active duty military or family.

3. Know the Bag Fees

You can typically check additional bags at no extra charge if you have a business or first class ticket. Airlines like Alaska, United, Delta and American Airways allow people in this class at least one free checked bag. When flying with a premium ticket, other benefits include increased weight allowance.

You can carry up to 70 pounds per suitcase with a premium ticket on United, Delta and American Airways. Remember that each airline has a baggage policy that must be adhered to, and checking the airlines website will give you the most up to date information. There are also seasonal restrictions that may crop up during ticket booking.

4. Be Careful With Oversized and Overweight Luggage

If your suitcase is larger or heavier than the standard allowances, you may have to pay an extra fee. However, there is a limit to just how big your bag can be. You cannot travel with a suitcase heavier than 100 pounds in any of the above-mentioned airlines on domestic flights. The airline also reserves the right to refuse any oversize or overweight baggage for international flights.

5. Know the Overweight Baggage Fees

A woman weighing her luggage

Oversized baggage fees will depend on the airline. For American Airlines, you will be charged a minimum fee of $200, depending on your destination, for any oversized baggage. For Delta Airlines, you will have to pay $100 for luggage up to 70 pounds while that up to 100 pounds will cost you a fee of $200.


Knowing how to check bags at the airport is super easy. You literally just walk up to your airline’s ticket counter with your bags, and they’ll take it from there! However if you’ve never done it, you wouldn’t know!

That’s it for this guide to how to check a bag at the airport.