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The Delta Air Lines baggage fee on select flights beginning April 10, 2018, is going up. If you haven’t booked your next transatlantic flight, you might consider these alternatives to avoid the higher fees. Even if Delta airlines is your only option, you can still dodge the baggage fee.

What is the New Delta Air Lines Baggage Fee?

Delta Airlines Baggage Fee
You might pay up to $320 roundtrip in baggage fees with Delta now!
(Credit: Delta)

For any Basic Economy transatlantic Delta flight that you book on or after December 6, 2017, that departs on or after April 10, 2018, you will pay a checked baggage fee on your first and second bags.

The baggage fees apply to all U.S. and Canadian flights that go to or from the two following destinations:

  • Europe
  • North Africa

You will now have to pay $60 for your first bag and $100 for the second bag. This rate hike only applies to Basic Economy fares at this time.

If your flight departs before April 10, 2018, your first checked bag still flies free.

How to Avoid the Delta Baggage Fees (And Still Fly Delta)

How do you avoid paying $60 so your bag can fly from across the Atlantic? Luckily, you have a few different options.

The first four options will help you avoid the baggage fee if Delta is still your best flight option.

Upgrade to a Better Cabin Class

These fee increases only apply to Basic Economy fares. You can simply avoid the fee by buying a more expensive ticket with one of the following cabin classes:

  • Main Cabin
  • Delta Comfort+
  • First Class
  • Delta Premium Select
  • Delta One

In addition to avoiding the baggage fees, you can also have a more enjoyable flight experience and earn potentially more SkyMiles and Medallion Qualification Miles that can benefit you in the long run.

Pay With a Delta Credit Card

With the three personal Delta American Express credit cards or their business versions, the first checked bag for you and 8 passengers fly for free. That’s a potential $1,080 savings round-trip if all nine bags are checked.

You’ll need to use a co-brand Delta credit card that charges an annual fee:

In addition to the waived baggage fees, you will also earn 2 SkyMiles on all Delta purchases.

Pay With the Amex Platinum

For a flexible travel rewards card, your best option can be the Platinum Card from American Express. The $200 air travel credit covers you checked baggage fees. Once you land, you will also be able to skip the long security lines to pass through customs with complimentary Global Entry.

Another reason to fly with the Amex Platinum is the complimentary Delta SkyClub access when flying Delta, or you can also relax at a Priority Pass Select or a Centurion Lounge too. And, you’ll earn 5x points on your airfare purchase.

Consider the American Express Premier Rewards Gold [Expired]

Editor’s Note: The American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card has been upgraded to the American Express® Gold Card. It comes with the opportunity to earn valuable Membership Rewards Points, 4x purchase rewards on U.S. restaurants and supermarket purchases, and a limited-edition Rose Gold metal color option. Click here to learn more.

If you won’t benefit from the Amex Platinum travel benefits, you can still get a $100 travel credit with the Amex Premier Rewards Gold. With either the Amex Platinum or Premier Rewards Gold, Delta is a 1:1 travel partner so you can transfer your Amex Membership Rewards points to Delta to book an award flight.

You will also earn 3x points on all flights booked directly from the airline. Plus, two points on all U.S. supermarket, gas, and restaurant purchases.

Use the Chase Sapphire Reserve

A second premium travel credit card with a travel credit that pays your checked baggage fees is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. While the Sapphire Reserve isn’t a 1:1 Delta travel partner and doesn’t offer Delta SkyClub access, you will enjoy these three travel benefits:

  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Global Entry application fee reimbursement
  • 3x points on dining purchases

You can also earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. If you are traveling through an airport with a Priority Pass lounge location, you and two travel companions can enter for free.

Fly a Discount Airline to Avoid the Delta Baggage Fees

Delta is already one of the more expensive airlines to fly whether you pay cash or SkyMiles for your ticket. Thankfully, you have a few other options to fly from North America to Europe or North Africa for less.

United Airlines

United also serves many European and North African destinations and your first checked bag flies free. Your second checked bag costs $100 for an economy seat and $0 for a first class or business class seat.

If you pay with MileagePlus rewards points, you can expect to pay the following amount each way:

  • Europe: 30,000 miles economy and 60,000 miles first class
  • North Africa: 40,000 miles economy and 70,000 miles first class.

You can book an award flight with a co-brand United credit card or either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve as a 1:1 Ultimate Rewards travel partner.

One advantage of flying United instead of certain international airlines is that you won’t pay a fuel surcharge.

American Airlines

Your first bag flies for free (2nd bag is $100) with American Airlines on all transatlantic flights to 15 European destinations.

American Airlines award flights cost the following amount one-way:

  • Economy: 22,500 off-peak and 30,000 peak season
  • Business: 57,500
  • First Class: 85,000

If you own a Chase Sapphire, Amex Platinum, or Amex PRG, you can transfer your points to British Airways and book a partner flight. You will also avoid the hefty fuel surcharges that British Airways and Iberia can charge for long-haul flights too!

Norwegian Airlines

Norwegian Airlines is a discount carrier that flies to Europe and North Africa. Their baggage fees for international flights range from 50 euros to 100 euros ($62-$124) per bag; LowFare+ and other ticket classes let you get one or two checked bags for free.

Unless Norwegian’s flight is cheap enough to offset the baggage fees, it can still be cheaper to fly Delta after accounting for the baggage fees.


WOW Air offers discount fares to Europe, but you will still pay $59.99 to check a bag during the booking process and up to $99.99 at the gate. With a WOW basic fare, you only get one free carry-on bag and have to pay for your checked baggage.

Once again, opting for a premium fare from the WOW plus, comfy, or business lets you check your first bag for free.

If the ticket price is cheaper than Delta, you can still pay less to fly on WOW than Delta even after paying the checked baggage fees.

Summary on Delta Raising its Baggage Fee

Raising the Delta baggage fees on the transatlantic European and North African routes will make it more expensive to fly. Thankfully, these are the only routes that have the increased fees for now, and you have many options to avoid paying the fees.

Mary Renking

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Delta Air Lines is Raising Its Baggage Fee, But Here’s How You Can Avoid It
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5 Comments On "Delta Air Lines is Raising Its Baggage Fee, But Here's How You Can Avoid It"
  1. Paul S.|

    You are incorrect! The free baggage fee when booking a basic economy international flight is not waived if you use a delta gold skymiles credit card to pay for your airfare. It took several calls to find this out. This was confirmed by Delta and Amex. To get first bag free, you must opt for at least the next highest airfare class – regular economy. I had just gotten the skymiles gold card to avoid the $60 fee for my basic economy booking. That was a waste of time. By having to upgrade to regular economy and, in essence, pay for the first bag, the gold card gets you nothing.

    1. Johnny Jet
      Johnny Jet|

      Good to know! Thank you for sharing

    2. Editorial Team|

      I’m sorry for the confusion, but you should still be able to get a first checked bag for free: https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/baggage/before-your-trip/checked/first-bag-free.html

  2. Regina Gebert|

    I’m flying Indianapolis to JFK basic economy with 1 carry on and 1 personal am I still going to have to pay a fee?

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