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The Secret to Saving Money on Airport Luggage Carts

The Secret to Saving Money on Airport Luggage Carts

Million Mile SecretsThe Secret to Saving Money on Airport Luggage CartsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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When traveling with family, it helps to have a luggage cart to make the travel experience easier.  But I *really* don’t like paying the ~$5 fee per cart!

Cheap Luggage Cart Airport
Why Pay for a Luggage Cart If You Don’t Have To?

If you have checked luggage and need an airport cart at your destination, you can find airport luggage carts near the ticket counters and at baggage claim.  However, you have to pay up to $5 or more for a cart.

Cheap Luggage Cart Airport
I Saved $4 And Got My Luggage Cart for Free By Looking Around Baggage Claim

Carts are usually free in airports outside the US, but US airports charge for them.  But here’s a way to sometimes get them for less.

Saving Money on Luggage Carts Upon Arrival

Your checked bags will take several minutes to be offloaded from the plane.  So instead of waiting at baggage claim and paying for a luggage cart, you can try to get 1 for free.

You can usually go outside to the curb or to the Departures section of the airport and you will find empty carts waiting to be returned.

Cheap Luggage Cart Airport
The Airport Arrivals Section Is the Best Spot to Find Free Luggage Carts

Folks rent the luggage carts from baggage claim after their flight, load the cart with their luggage, and then leave them around after they’ve loaded their car or taxi.  So Emily waits at baggage claim for our suitcases and I look for a cart that someone has returned.

Saving Money on Luggage Carts When You’re Leaving

You can use the same principle if you’re checking luggage on a departing flight and want a free cart. If you go outside the Arrivals section of the airport, you can get an unreturned cart from the.

Cheap Luggage Cart Airport
You Can Use Abandoned Luggage Carts for Free

Folks will have already checked their bags and discard their carts.  So you can use 1 for free!

Of course this doesn’t work all the time, but Emily and I have had more than a 50% success rate.

You Can Even Make Money!

Some airports give you an incentive to return your luggage cart.  If you have time, you can make some money retrieving abandoned luggage carts.

Cheap Luggage Cart Airport
You Can Get 25 Cents for Every Luggage Cart You Return

I could have made ~$20 returning all these luggage carts!  But Emily would not have been happy with me. 🙂

Cheap Luggage Cart Airport
You Can Make Money for Cab Fare by Returning Luggage Carts

Bottom Line

You can save money on airport luggage carts if you know the secret to getting a free luggage cart.

Folks abandon their used luggage carts in the airport Arrivals area after they’ve checked-in for their flights.  You can use a discarded cart for your checked bags at baggage claim or to check-in to your flight.

Has this worked for you?

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I was operations manager for both of the luggage cart companies and we only had people getting free carts when the employees were not doing their job by collecting the carts and refilling the machines. Only the cheapest of the cheap people do what you are describing. You are taking money away from the low paid employees when you do this.

Don't want to fess up

I haven't done this in a few years, but discovered after getting double charged on a cart rental that the machines (at least back then) didn't have a cellular connection to complete the transaction. They likely did some rudimentary checking at the time of the swipe that the expiration was good, the check digit was good, etc. , recorded the card number then would batch process all the transactions a day or 2 later (a guy goes to the machine to get a thumb drive of transactions when collecting the cash also?). you might be able to get a cart using a gift card with no money on it - the card looks good number wise and expiration date wise. Again, that was several years ago and cell connections likely got cheaper.

Yeah, my wife and I just did this in Baltimore. We had our 4-year old, her car seat, and 4 suitcases, and saw the cart just lying around. Good tip!

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