In April of 2019, domestic airlines reported mishandling 212,902 pieces of luggage. That is almost 7,100 mistakes per day causing someone to lose access to their personal belongings when they need them most.
It is incompetence like this that has people asking if they should ship bags instead of checking them. Let’s see if we can find the answers to some of the more pressing questions about shipping suitcases.
Is Shipping Luggage Cheaper than Checking Them?
Most airlines allow you to carry one bag onto the plane for free though some, like Spirit Airlines, still charge even for that. To be fair, if you only have one bag, shipping your suitcase is completely unnecessary.
If you are like most of us though, one bag will not cut it. This brings us to one of our tougher questions: Is it cheaper to ship bags or check them?
In short, the answer in most cases is no, but when you get down to it, the answer is a bit more complicated than that. The variables that determine check-in and shipping fees cause a lot of fluctuation in prices for both methods.
What are the Costs Associated with Checking Bags?
How much do your bags weigh? How many bags do you have? What are the dimensions of your bags? These are all factors that determine the amount you pay for checked luggage.
Depending on what you take on board and the airline chosen, the price for checking luggage could be $18 for one bag or up to as much as $150 for three. Don’t forget, these fees are only one way. If it is a round trip, expect to get charged both ways. Then again, that is also the case when you ship your bags.
Please also note, these figures are for normal-sized bags on domestic flights. Prices increase further for over-sized and over-weight bags or for international travel.
What are the Costs Associated with Shipping Suitcases?
How far is the origin airport from the pickup destination? What is the distance from the destination airport to your drop off location? Do you want it the same day or the next day?
These variables, as well as the ones associated with checking in baggage, all help to determine luggage shipping cost. To know how much to ship a suitcase, you must have the answers to all these questions or it is next to impossible to determine the cost.
For something small that isn’t going far, you might pay as little as $50. For something larger that is going a good way, you could be looking at closer to $200 or $300.
The best way to get a price estimate is to figure out your specific luggage parameters and get a quote.
In most cases, it is cheaper to check luggage with the airline. Unless your bags are oversize or overweight, you have more than two bags, or you are flying out of the country, it will likely be cheaper to check luggage. Otherwise, shop around.
For example, golf clubs, skis, and wheelchairs are often cheaper to ship than they are to check. Like everything though, it pays to shop around and weigh your options.
If it’s Cheaper to Check Luggage, Why Ship?
Okay, so now we know that it is likely going to be cheaper to bite the bullet and check your luggage on the plane. If that’s the case, why even consider shipping your bags in the first place? The whole point is to save money, right?
There are still a few other reasons shipping your baggage might be a better option than checking it in.
The Convenience Factor
One of the biggest reasons to ship your luggage is the sheer convenience of it all. With a bit of prep work, you can have your bags picked up from the comfort of your home. Then, when you arrive at your destination, they will be ready and waiting for you.
No more waiting at the luggage carousel playing Where’s my Bag? No risk of being late because you had to check-in your luggage. No dragging heavy bags through a busy airport.
Sure you have to send luggage ahead of you and pack up a little earlier than usual, but is that really so bad when you consider the alternative?
Mishandled or Lost Baggage
It is important to note that airlines are winning the war against mishandled and lost luggage. Reports show they have made an almost 70% improvement in this area since 2008. Not bad, all things considered.
Additionally, airlines must compensate you up to $3,500 for lost, delayed or damaged luggage. For assistive devices, airlines are liable for the full value of the item. So assuming you can prove the damages are warranted you they will take care of you.
That said, there are still many reports of mishandled and lost luggage. In April 2019 alone, 5.44 out of every 1000 bags enplaned were reported as mishandled or lost.
That is not to say a luggage shipping company do not lose or mishandle packages, but it is far less likely to happen. These companies are smaller than airlines and are usually better able to give your luggage the personal care it deserves. Additionally, if your belongings get lost, the shipping company can usually find your luggage quicker than an airline.
The Round-Up on Shipping Suitcases
Whether you are shipping suitcases or checking them, the important thing is to enjoy your trip with as little hassle as possible. With luck, this article helps you do just that. You can also check out our other services to find more ways we can help you save time, money and aggravation when shipping packages.
We would love to hear your thoughts on whether it is better to ship your bags or check them, so please feel free to comment below.