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How Many Free Bags Do You Need? Southwest vs. JetBlue

March 23, 2010 | Posted in: Airline News,Southwest,Travel Tips

free bags southwest jetblue

UPDATE: Cheap flight alert – both airlines have new airfare sales (see below)

We love Southwest (“Bags Fly Free”), but we love JetBlue, too – and I think a lot of people don’t realize that JetBlue still gives you one free checked-bag, too*.

This occurred to me as I was reading a newspaper blog that included this sentence: “I usually check my bags…but now, with checked bags attracting a minimum $25 add-on charge per bag (except on Southwest Airlines), I had decided to carry on my luggage…”

Wrong – but, maybe JetBlue isn’t available at the author’s airport. In any event, I just want to remind fliers that Southwest is not your only option for avoiding a budget-busting bag fee. JetBlue helps you save, too.

*I know, I know – Southwest allows two free checked-bags while JetBlue only allows one, and that’s great – but honestly, are many of you really going to lug two big suitcases on that trip to Disney World?

UPDATE: Both airlines have brand new sales – Southwest’s sale ends Mar. 25 and the JetBlue sale ends Mar. 24.

4 Responses to “How Many Free Bags Do You Need? Southwest vs. JetBlue”

  1. Paul Sawtell says:

    Remember Air Canada also offers at least 1 free bag into the US from Canada. Two if you have at least Prestige status – which thankfully I do.

    As for needing two bags – it depends on what you are doing.

    Much of my travel into the US is related to the medieval society I belong to – the SCA – and with renaissance fencing gear and clothing, not to mention real world clothes I find the current version of two bags challenging.

    In the “good old days” when I travelled from Australia to the US we had the 2 32kg (70lb) bags and that meant I could carry a small tent as well as hard suit combat armour etc.

    The reduction in bag weight has been more detrimental in itself – harder to transport armour and other gear such as swords and shields.

    I know this sounds strange to many but trying to fly with enough gear to camp for a week in a medieval/renaissance setting is much harder than it used to be – and with airlines charging for 50lb bags it is even harder to afford.

    That’s why I fly Air Canada where possible (and WestJet has a great baggage allowance too but a more limited route map for where I want to go)

    And when I travel with family (two young kids) for vacations generally we need at least one big bag each plus a bag for toys etc.

    Any sort of sport travel is hungry on baggage and with new restrictions on carry on baggage it is becoming more expensive to travel becasue of baggage charges – and that’s where Fare Compare comparison charts are handy to be informed before you get stuck in the neck with baggage fees

    Make informed choices based on total cost of travel – not just the headline fares. And maybe one day the airlines will have to advertise the all up cost (including taxes and fees) of a ticket – but that’s another topic

  2. Rick Seaney says:


    I’ve never had a letter quite like yours before – but I’m glad you wrote. I’m sure there’s plenty of folks out there with “weighty” hobbies that can relate.


  3. Ethna says:

    I travel to Ireland for four months every summer. Traveling with one carryon bag is just not feasible, and these new fees are really annoying. Being nickle-and-dimed now by the airlines takes so much of the fun of flying away from this formerly great experience.

  4. Rick Seaney says:


    Check with your airline – Continental, for example, does not charge for a first checked-bag to Europe.


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