Annoying! I Gave Delta $30 to Check My Bag, Then Saw 20+ People Get Their Bag Gate-Checked for Free (and What I Plan to Do About It)

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I’m normally a no-frills kind of gal.  I travel light and refuse to pay extra fees if I don’t have to.  But on this particular occasion, I decided to check my bag because I knew I was facing a short layover that would require me to change terminals.  And I’d stuffed my bag to the brim with goodies from a recent work conference.

I was tired, and I just didn’t want to deal with running through the airport with a cumbersome bag.

Upon checking in, Delta charged me $30 for my bag.  I have a couple of the credit cards that get you free checked bags, but none connected to Delta (like the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express, or Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express) because I don’t fly Delta that often.

What I didn’t consider was what happened next when I arrived at the gate!

Sometimes the Challenge of Running Through the Airport With a Heavy Bag Is Just Too Much to Handle

Delta Was Checking Bags at the Gate

If you’re a frequent Delta flyer, it makes good sense to keep a card like the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express, or Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express which come with a free first checked bag for yourself and up to 8 companions on the same reservation.

At my home airport, it’s almost always a guarantee they’ll offer free checked bags at the gate.  Because many of the flights out are on small regional aircraft where even a standard sized roller bag doesn’t fit in the overhead compartment.

But this flight was from Charlotte to Minneapolis on a plane big enough to carry 100+ passengers, so it didn’t occur to me that they’d be asking folks to check their bag for free at the gate!  In fact, I’d checked the seat map when I checked in online and saw that the flight wasn’t full.

Sure enough, though, about 20 minutes before boarding began, the gate attendant asked if anyone wanted to check their bags.  And if so, said they could do so for free.

Ugh!  I was super ticked.  Had I just waited I could have avoided paying the $30 fee.  Plus, I felt a duped into giving them extra money.  I mean I saw the agent let what seemed like over 20 people check their bag.  That’s a LOT of free bags!

Of course, I didn’t throw a tantrum or say anything to the gate agent.  But I was frustrated!  Especially because it feels like airlines are always trying to nickel and dime us passengers however they can.

I know life isn’t fair (and that’s a huge bummer 😉 ), but I thought it was a story worth telling because I’m sure many of you can relate!

So what’s my plan?  I plan to send Delta customer service a note to see if I can get my checked bag fee refunded.  I’m not very optimistic they’ll actually do anything about it, but it’s worth a try.  Maybe they’ll kick back a few bonus miles or something.  Either way, I’ll keep you posted on their response.

Has this ever happened to you?  If so, did you send in a complaint, or do you just consider these sorts of things the luck of the draw?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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Meghan Hunter is an editor for Million Mile Secrets. She covers points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. Her work has also appeared in The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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