Avoid Paying For Checked Luggage – Keep Travel Costs Down In 2023

Airlines1 year ago
People walking through a terminal

Whether you are a frequent flyer for business, or only travel once or twice a year for vacations, boarding a flight can be a stressful and frustrating time. And many travelers have become used to what has become a new regular announcement over the past few years – looking for passengers who are willing to gate check their bags.

But did you know that this could be a prime opportunity for you to avoid paying for checked luggage? Below we will answer the questions “What is gate checking?”, “How to Gate Check Your Luggage?”, and tell you everything you need to know about this travel hack for keeping costs down.

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What is Gate Checking?

If air carriers have limited overhead space for carry-on, they will ask if any passengers are willing to check their carry on bags at the gate. This could be a prime chance for you to lower your check bags costs on your next flight, read below to discover how!


How to Gate Check Your Luggage and Lower Your Checked Bag Costs

So, how do you gate check your luggage and how can it save you money when you travel in 2023? Well, if you are traveling for a short period, you may find that your luggage may be small enough to fit within carry on dimensions.

But if you don’t want to have to deal with lugging your bags around with you during every stage of the journey – you will be able to check your carry-on bags at the gate. So, you won’t have to worry about struggling with pulling them in and out of overhead storage and you’ll avoid paying for checked bags entirely!

The gate check luggage process provides you with the perfect option to access the benefits of checked bags without any of the cost!

You can request gate checking for your carry-on appropriate luggage up to 30 minutes before your boarding time, as long as the plane crew is ready. You should also be able to ask for the service while you are boarding and will be able to make your way onto the flight without struggling with your luggage while your onboard.


What Do You Need to Know About Using Free Gate Checking?

However, you need to be aware that you can’t just check bags of any size or weight at the gate. Free gate checking will not be effective if you try to check a full-size carry on item when your fare doesn’t cover it.

If your luggage is of an appropriate size and gate checking is covered in your air fare, then you also need to ask some questions about picking up your bags at your destination airport.

The order of operations for the airline will usually mean that gate check bags will be among the first to appear at baggage claim. But some airlines will arrange pick up of gate check luggage at the landing gate itself. You need to make sure that you know where to go to pick up your belongings when you land.


Picture of a plan on the tarmac


Is it Free to Gate Check Your Carry On Luggage?

Thankfully, for those looking to avoid checked bag costs – airlines will allow you to gate check bags for free which would otherwise qualify as carry on for your flight. This will be true regardless of your fare type.

However, if you are attempting to gate check a carry on item which is full-sized you will not be able to access the same free service unless this is covered in your ticket fare type.

However, this gate check luggage allowance does not extend to passengers who try to bring a full-sized carry-on item on board when their fare type does not permit them to do so.

If you have a basic economy ticket for your JetBlue or United flight, for example, you will not be able to gate check a full sized carry on bag for free.

If you arrive at the airport and attempt to gate check a full size carry on bag with an economy fare ticket, you will most likely find yourself facing a checked bag fee and an extra gate handling charge. So, before you squeeze all of your belongings into a baggage which is on the larger side of overhead dimensions, you should double check with your airline ahead of time.


Is it Safe to Gate Check Your Luggage?

Gate checking your bags to keep your luggage costs down doesn’t come with any extra risks to your belongings and you shouldn’t expect a service that differs all that much to traditional checked bags. This makes it a fantastic option if your complete luggage is small enough to qualify for overhead bag status.


How to Keep the Size of Your Luggage Down?

If you want to keep the size of your luggage down to cut travel costs, there are a variety of different tips you can try.

Pare down your travel wardrobe to the basics and plan each outfit for each day to make sure you don’t end up bringing clothes and shoes you won’t wear.

  • If you are going to be staying at your new location for more than a week, you should check whether your hotel has laundry facilities – this will allow you to reuse clothes and limit the amount you need to bring.
  • What inexpensive items can be purchased when you arrive? Buying travel sized essentials once you arrive can help you to cut baggage costs while you are on your way.
  • You may hate planning your packing, but making sure that you don’t overpack will help you to keep your carry on a reasonable size and let you check in your bags for free at the gate!


Where is Gate Checked Luggage Stored During the Flight?

When you gate check your carry on luggage, your belongings will be stored and treated in the same way as other checked bags. They will be taken to the cargo hold for the plane before being transported to your destination airport.


Summary – What is Gate Checking and How Does it Help You Avoid Paying for Checked Luggage?

If you are able to keep your packing to the bare minimum so that it qualifies as carry on, you can access the convenience of checked bags without having to pay the extra costs involved. But before you decide to take this route, you need to do your research to make sure that your fare allows you to access this service to help avoid extra costs when you arrive at the departure gate.

Person carrying to bags of luggage