If you haven’t visited the Alaska Airlines baggage information page in a while, you should take the time to familiarize yourself with current rules. Knowing the ins and outs of baggage policies makes it possible to save as much time and money as possible when flying, and this guide to 2021 fees and allowances can help with that.
From up-to-date bag size restrictions to every potential fee and waiver, here’s every baggage policy you’ll need to know before flying Alaska Airlines.
In this post you'll learn:
Alaska Airlines Carry-On Rules
Alaska Airlines passengers are allowed two free carry-on items per flight: one personal item and one standard carry-on bag.
In 2021, carry-on bags must be no larger than 22” x 14” x 9”. Current size guidelines stipulate that your total bag measurement (length + height + width) should not exceed 45 inches (linear).
There is no size rule for personal items, but Alaska Airlines lists purses, laptops, and briefcases as examples of acceptable carry-on items. Lap infants are not g iven separate baggage allowances, so diaper bags must be counted toward the standard carry-on allowance.
Other items that can count as a carry-on bag but that may exceed size restrictions (as long as they still fit safely on board) include:
- Human Organs
- Art/advertising portfolios
- Delicate scientific equipment
- Fishing poles
- Small musical instruments
Items that can be brought on board that do not count toward the carry-on limit include:
- Coats, hats, and umbrellas
- Food to be consumed on the flight
- Child restraint seats and transportation devices such as car seats and strollers
- Properly documented service animals
- Mobility and medical assistive devices such as wheelchairs, breast pumps, and walkers
Alaska Airlines Checked Baggage Rules for 2021
- Alaska Airlines allows a weight of 50 pounds and linear measurement of 62 inches for standard checked baggage. Bags weighing and/or measuring more than this will be charged additional fees (outlined in the section below).
For bags within the standard size and weight restrictions, the fees are as follows:
|1 bag||2 bag||3 bag||3+ bags|
Items exempt from checked baggage charges include:
- Strollers and car seats
- Pineapple from Hawaii
- Mobility and medical assistive devices
- Wine—for Mileage Plan members through select US airports only
Fees for checked baggage may be paid at any airport counter or during check-in online. If your flight is eligible for self-tagged baggage, you can print your luggage tags at home beforehand or at a self-tag kiosk to save yourself time in lines (note: size and weight fee restrictions still apply).
It’s useful to know about the Alaska Airlines 20 minute baggage guarantee. Alaska Airlines commits to getting its customers their checked bags within 20 minutes of their plane’s arrival at the gate. If this time guarantee is not met and a customer is kept waiting at baggage claim for their luggage, they are eligible to receive either a $25 discount code or 2,500 bonus miles.
Baggage Fees for Trips that Include Multiple FlightsIf you’re flying to a destination with one or more stops along the way you may have to pay additional baggage fees if any of your layover(s) are more than 12 hours. In the event that your layover is longer than 12 hours you will need to claim and recheck your baggage. If you had to pay for additional or oversized baggage in a previous leg of your trip, then you’ll likely pay for it again in this scenario. Any layover under 12 hours, Alaska will book your luggage all the way through to your final destination.
Excess Baggage Fees
Bags weighing more than 100 pounds and/or measuring greater than 115” (linear) are strictly prohibited, but checked-baggage may exceed the standard limits as long as it does not exceed these maximums. Oversize and overweight baggage incurs additional charges.
Here is a chart of price per bag for checked luggage that exceeds size allowances.
|< 50 lbs and < 62”||Yes||Standard|
|51 – 100 lbs||Yes||$100|
|63 – 115”||Yes||$100|
|> 100 lbs and/or > 115”||No||–|
If a bag weighs more than 50 pounds and measures more than 62 inches, only $100 is charged. Special baggage items including firearms, sports equipment, fragile/bulky items, musical instrument, and big game have their own restrictions, so make sure you know those as well. Also see seasonal checked baggage limits per person during peak travel times.
These Credit Cards Reduce Baggage Fees
Many travel credit cards reimburse cardholders for incidental fees associated with flying, and that includes checked bagged charges. The following major credit cards offer annual baggage fee reimbursement:
- American Express Platinum: $200 annual reimbursement
- American Express Gold: $100
- Bank of America Premium Rewards: $200
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: $300
- Citi Prestige: $250
Many cards also offer luggage reimbursement for lost or stolen luggage, which is probably worth looking into if you do a lot of traveling or are flying with valuables.
Credit Cards That Give You 1 Free Checked Bag
Alaska Airlines has a few airline-branded credit cards that you can use to automatically get free checked bags rather than having to get your payments reimbursed. These cards, associated with Bank of America, are:
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Business
- Alaska Airlines World Elite Mastercard
Each of these cards offers its members one free checked bag. This baggage fee waiver applies for up to 6 guests traveling in the same reservation. In addition to free checked bags, Alaska Airlines credit cardholders can earn miles, get cashback on in-flight purchases, take advantage of Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare, receive discounted lounge passes, and more.
Waivers and Loopholes
Travel cards aren’t the only way to hack the system. Some flyers that do not hold qualifying credit cards can still have baggage fees waived through Alaska Airlines if they meet certain guidelines. These include:
- Active duty US Military personnel and dependents: first 5 bags free (see more exemptions below)
- First Class flyers, upgraded before baggage has been checked: first 2 bags free
- Flyers traveling within Alaska: first 3 bags free
- Elite Mileage Plan members: first 2 bags free
- Club 49 (a Mileage Plan program for Alaska residents) members: first 2 bags free
To qualify for military discounts, individuals must present valid military ID at the time of baggage check. In addition to free checked bags, active duty military personnel and their dependents have overweight and oversize fees waived for bags weighing up to 70 pounds and measuring greater than 115.”
Knowing Alaska Airlines Baggage Fees and Policies
Find out if you qualify for baggage fee exemptions, whether your baggage meets acceptable guidelines, and what you are allowed to bring with you before you board your plane. Be an informed traveler to make the most of every flight.