"I have children, little children, that they require toys, you know, extra clothing, so that's why I have to pack more than usual," said Smith.
And sometimes, she admits it's a little too much, as with one recent trip where she faced a surcharge until she moved some clothes around.
"I did have to take some items out and I had to take some baggage on the plane," said Smith.
Pack too much and you'll pay. Today's baggage fees are stiff, with some airlines now charging $15 for your first checked bag, $25 for a second, and as much as $100 for a third and that's each way. That doesn't even include the fees for going oversize or overweight. Travel expert Greg Hobica suggests considering other options like shipping some ahead.
"They're going to charge you a lot less than the airlines are," said Hobica.
Another tip is to put the suitcase on the scale before you even leave the house. If it's over 50 pounds you might want to consider packing a second bag.
"It may be cheaper to have a second bag that's not overweight than one bag that is overweight, so divide and save,"said Hobica.
And throw in an extra bag that will keep you going from over the weight limit on the way home with souvenirs and gifts.
"Carry a light weight tote in your suitcase empty," said Hobica.
And even before you book the flight, check the fees, as well as the fare.
"Depending on your situation, the more expensive ticket may be the cheaper ticket?ironic, but it's true," said Hobica.
For example, a $100 ticket with two round trip baggage fees ends up more expensive than a $150 ticket with no baggage fees. Shonda Smith says she'll definitely be doing the math before flying in the future.
"I think I'll be a little bit more careful," said Smith.
Web Extra Information: Baggage Fees
Delta allows passengers to check two bags and one carry-on bag plus a personal item. You can check one bag per passenger free of charge when traveling in the U. S., the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. If traveling outside the U.S. you can check two bags free of charge. You'll be charged an excess baggage fee each time you go over any one of the free allowances.
For example, if you have an extra piece of baggage that goes over the weight limit and the size limit, then you'll be charged 3 times: once for the extra bag, once for going over the size limit, and once for going over the weight limit.
Fees are for each additional bag, each way.
The fees listed below apply to all areas of travel, however some areas may have additional restrictions.
Quantity Amount Fee: Travel within the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico
Bags 3, 4, and 5
Bags 6, 7, and 8
Bags 9 and 10
Travel outside the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico
Bags 3, 4, and 5
Bags 6, 7, and 8
Bags 9 and 10
51-70 pounds $80 each
71-100 pounds $150 each
Over 100 pounds not permitted
Size Amount Fee
62-80 inches-total of length plus width plus height
Over 80 inches-total of length plus width plus height not permitted
Northwest allows each passenger one piece of checked baggage without charge. The second bag on domestic flights costs $25; after two bags, each additional costs $100. There is a long list of charges for baggage that exceeds 50 lbs. The charges vary by destination and can add up quickly.
Domestic Travel (within the U.S./Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean)
- Coach Class: Effective May 5, 2008, each ticketed passenger is allowed one (1) piece of checked luggage.
- Coach Class: For tickets purchased on/after July 10, 2008 for travel on/after August 28, 2008, each ticketed passenger is allowed one (1) piece of checked luggage for a fee of USD $15 each-way and a second pieced of checked luggage for a fee of USD $25 each-way. Third and subsequent pieces will be assessed a fee of USD $100 per piece each-way.
- Each piece: 50 pounds (23 kg) with linear dimensions not to exceed 62 inches (158 cm)
- Northwest Airlines' Silver, Gold and Platinum WorldPerks®
- Elite customers, SkyTeam Elite customers and passengers booked in full fare classes (Y or B) may check two bags free of charge. Customers seated in First Class may check up to three bags free of charge. Luggage in excess of these special free allowances will be charged a fee of $100 per piece each-way.
- Get answers to frequently asked questions about Northwest Airlines' Luggage Allowance.
- First Class: Each ticketed passenger is allowed three (3) checked pieces.
- First two (2) pieces: 70 pounds (32 kg) with linear dimensions not to exceed 62 inches (158 cm) per piece.
- Third piece: 40 pounds (18 kg) with linear dimensions not to exceed 45 inches (115 cm).Note: The same checked luggage allowance applies to children and infants paying at least 50% of the adult fare. Infants traveling free of charge are permitted one (1) carry-on diaper bag, free of charge.
UNITED: United charges each passenger $15 for the first checked bag. Oversized bags (beyond 50 lbs.) incur a fee of $125. The schedule of charges and conditions is complicated, so read carefully.
AMERICAN AIRLINES: Updated Checked Bag Fees
- Customers who purchased domestic economy class tickets May 12, 2008, through June 14, 2008, may check one bag for free and check a second bag for $25 each way. Customers who purchase domestic economy class tickets on or after June 15, 2008, will be charged $15 each way for the first checked bag and $25 each way for the second checked bag.
- Checked baggage weighing over 50 lbs/23 kgs but not more than 70 lbs/32 kgs will be charged at the rate of $50 per piece.
- Checked baggage weighing over 70lbs/32 kgs but not more than 100 lbs/45 kgs will be charged at the rate of $100 per piece.
- Baggage weighing more than 100 lbs/45 kgs will not be accepted as checked baggage. Checked baggage which is larger than 62 in/157 cm will be charged at the rate of $150 per piece.
- Baggage measuring more than 115 in/292 cm will not be accepted as checked baggage.
CONTINENTAL: Checked Baggage
NOTICE: $25 Fee for Second Checked Bag
- Continental has implemented a $25 fee for customers checking a second bag when traveling on Economy fare tickets purchased on or after April 5, 2008 for travel within the 50 U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada. The $25 fee also applies when traveling on Economy fare tickets purchased on or after May 8, 2008 between Mexico, Bahamas, Caribbean, Central and South America* (excluding Brazil) and the 50 U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada.
- Customers who travel with checked baggage in excess of the baggage allowance will be charged $100.00 per piece. Additional, overweight and oversize charges are accumulative per piece. Note: For travel between U.S. and Brazil, Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands, no more that three additional pieces will be accepted.
Overweight Baggage: Economy Class
- Customers who travel in Economy Class with checked baggage over 50 lbs (23 kg) and not exceeding 70 lbs (32 kg) will be charged at the rate of $50.00 per piece.
- These charges are in addition to any charge assessed for additional or oversized baggage.
- Baggage weighing more than 70 lbs (32 kg) will not be accepted as checked baggage.
- Customers who travel with checked baggage exceeding 62 linear inches (157 cm) (total length + width + height) will be charged at the rate of $100.00 per piece.
- These charges are in addition to any charge assessed for additional or overweight baggage.
- Baggage measuring more than 115 in (292 cm) (total outside dimensions; length + width + height) will not be accepted as checked baggage.