Airlines are looking for ways to maximize their revenues, and Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines is no exception. Delta, like most U.S. airlines, has instituted fees for checking luggage as one of these revenue sources, and luggage also is subject to size, weight and quantity restrictions. These will vary, however, depending on the destination and the type of passenger.
Delta allows each passenger to bring one piece of carry-on luggage and one checked item on each flight. A carry-on bag must be lighter than 40 pounds, or about 18 kilograms, and be less than 45 inches, or about 114 centimeters, in total length, defined as the sum of the bag's width, height and depth. Specific dimensions of the bag must be smaller than 22 inches (about 56 centimeters) by 14 inches (about 36 centimeters) by 9 inches (about 23 centimeters). This ensures the bag will fit in either one of the flight's overhead bins or under an airline seat. In cases where the overhead bins fill up, flight attendants will check baggage that is carried on at no extra charge. Delta defines a personal item as a handbag, briefcase, diaper bag, laptop--which Delta does not allow to be checked--or other similar items. In addition, passengers can bring on a few other items that do not count as a carry-on item or a personal item: coats, umbrellas, crutches, wheelchairs, food that passengers intend to eat on the plane and one bag or box of duty-free merchandise. The carry-on baggage allowances apply only to ticketed passengers, so people traveling with non-ticketed passengers, such as infants, do not get to bring extra carry-on items for them.
Delta imposed checked bag fees in 2008, so most economy-class travelers on domestic Delta flights, which include flights to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, can expect to pay $15 for the first checked bag and $25 for the second checked bag. This applies to each leg of the trip, so a round-trip journey with two checked bags would cost $80 in fees. Passengers may check up to 10 bags, but Delta charges $125 for the third bag and $200 for each additional bag. Delta requires luggage to weigh 50 pounds, or 22.5 kilograms, or less and be of a size that is less than 62 inches, or about 157 centimeters, when the length, width and height are added together. Luggage that is over the size or weight limits will carry an extra fee: $90 for overweight luggage up to 70 pounds (about 32 kilograms), $175 for luggage between 70 pounds and 100 pounds (about 45 kilograms) and $175 for oversize luggage up to 82 inches (about 203 centimeters) total. Luggage that is both oversize and overweight will carry separate fees for each. Luggage weighing more than 100 pounds or larger than 82 inches total cannot be checked.
Delta's checked baggage requirements differ on its international flights. Economy-class travelers to Europe do not have to pay for their first checked bag, but the second bag carries a $50 fee. Passengers flying elsewhere in the world--South America, Central America, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Mexico, Canada, the Middle East, Africa and Asia--get two checked bags without charge. The size and weight requirements are the same as on domestic flights. For all of these flights, the third bag carries a $200 charge, the fourth and fifth bags carry a $350 charge and each additional bag carries a $600 charge.
Delta waives its fees and loosens its restrictions for certain passengers. Travelers who fly first class, BusinessFirst and international business class are allowed up to three free checked bags on all flights, and their weight and size restrictions are upped to 70 pounds and 62 inches, respectively, without charge. For international travelers, Delta waives the second bag fee for elite members of its frequent flier club, SkyMiles, elite members of Northwest Airlines' WorldPerks program and passengers who have a full-fare economy ticket, known as class Y. The standard weight and size requirements still apply. Members of the military traveling on orders have the loosest baggage requirements. They are allowed up to 10 checked bags--or only four on Delta Connection commuter flights--that weigh up to 100 pounds or are as large as 80 inches in total size without charge.
A few items are given special consideration by Delta. Delta will check strollers and child safety seats for free without counting against the baggage allowance, and this can be done at the gate. Some sporting equipment, such as a bicycle, is allowed at an extra fee, though large equipment like kayaks or canoes cannot be checked. Standard rules also apply to musical instruments, but Delta allows passengers to buy an extra ticket to store a musical instrument in a seat, so long as it weighs less than 165 pounds, or 75 kilograms.
Delta's luggage requirements change on a few specific routes. Travelers to Key West, Florida, may check only one bag. Travelers cannot check boxes that are not factory-sealed when traveling to Latin American locations, with the exception of Mexico, Brazil and Chile. Also, travelers to several cities cannot check baggage heavier than 70 pounds or larger than 62 inches. These include cities in the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Honduras, Jordan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.