I’ve been playing a bit of a ‘shell game’ today… looking at the calendar and planning my travel to upcoming trade shows that I will attend and/or exhibit at in 2009.

airplanespendyskies1Trade Show dates / times / badge requirements?  Check!

Hotel? Check!

Plane travel? Urgh!

In January I will be attending the Atlanta Gift Show then flying to New York to exhibit and teach at Printsource.  This requires one-way flights from Portland to Atlanta.  Then one-way from Atlanta to New York.  Then one-way from New York to Portland.

As I have done in years past, I check and compare prices and schedules online, see what works best for me and then book my travel.  You probably do the same thing.

This year things have gotten a whole lot trickier! With the state of competition in the airline industry, fuel costs, etc.  Many airlines now charge fees to check bags.  Personally, I feel the first bag should be free — always.  I mean, now more people will try and carry on bags that won’t fit in the overhead, making boarding the plane take longer and “airplane rage” increase.  But no one asked me.

Instead, trying to stay afloat like the rest of us, airlines are getting creative with fees. Southwest has made a marketing campaign out of not charging for the first bag.  What used to be assumed, is now touted as this big favor to their customers.

What is my point – you may be wondering.  Be sure to factor in the cost of checking bags when working on your budget for business (or personal) travel. Many times it will still be cheaper to pay to check a second bag rather than shipping it, but just be informed so you aren’t unpleasantly surprised.

Expedia.com has a great page showing each airline and their fees for bags and food.  CLICK HERE

airplanesuitcasefees1

I have bookmarked it and will take the fees into account when the prices of the tickets on different airlines are similar.  I’m estimating an extra $200 in bag fees for my Atlanta / New York trip in January — I guess this is what we have to expect in our brave new world… but it takes a little getting used to!

Happy and informed travels!

~ Tara