Last weekend, as I waited at Gate 36 at LaGuardia Airport for our short hop to Columbus, Ohio, I couldn’t help but marvel at how rapidly we adapt to change. A year ago, when the airlines began levying baggage fees on checked luggage, consumers were outraged.But as the airlines moved in unison, the fees remained and now airlines that allow you one suitcase for free are considered generous. We paid our $15 for our beat-up red duffle, and the US Airways employee didn’t even bother to acknowledge our comment that the fee was outrageous. Instead her look seemed to say, “Boy, you guys are really old and uncool that you are still talking about this boring topic.” 

When we walked across the tarmac to climb the moving staircase into our little commuter plane, I noticed that most of our fellow passengers were actually carrying their luggage with them. I wondered how on earth they were going to get those on the plane, but everything fell into place when they walked up to a rolling baggage cart under the wing and handed their luggage to be gate checked along with the strollers.  It seemed that we had paid $15 to avoid carrying our luggage through security. 

Next time you fly, especially if you’ve left the kids at home, consider packing separately in a bag that can be gate checked. This seems to be a non-publicized option as there was no mention of it on the US Airways website. I would certainly ask if you have this option as you check in for your flight – any fee avoided is a good thing as far as I’m concerned! This is an original Traveling Mom post.

When not scouting for travel tips, Vanessa Druckman blogs about cooking and parenting at Chefdruck Musings.