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Routinely, the biggest logistical challenge when traveling with kids (especially those still in car seats) is absolutely the rental car process. However, a close second can be dealing with all of the bags and luggage that comes along with the traveling little ones. I have heard from many families who would ship items ahead of time to their final destination to avoid dealing with the luggage. I never had quite so many bags as to necessitate that option, but I could see how it would be possible to get to that point.
In the last year or so many airlines including US Airways, American Airlines, and United have started up baggage delivery services that could be a viable option for families who don’t want to manage their bags all the way through the travel process. You do still have to bring your bags to the airport, but once they are checked in their are out of your hair until they arrive at the hotel or other accommodations at the other end of your journey. I will focus on US Airways in this post as that is the service that a reader tried out and emailed me about, but note that they all operate in a similar fashion and with similar fees since they are run by Bags VIP.
How it works:
- Book your trip on usairways.com
- Go to maketraveleasier.com/usairways to schedule and pay for Bags VIP delivery
- Check your bags at the airport and pay airline baggage fees (if applicable)
- Be sure to place your Bags VIP order at least one hour before your scheduled departure. For immediate residential delivery, you should waive the delivery signature.
When you check in, just check your bags at the US Airways ticket counter and pay any baggage fees, which are not a part of the baggage delivery fee. An indicator will print on the bag tag indicating you have signed up for the service. The local Bags VIP delivery agent will use the baggage description you provided when booking your delivery order along with the indicator to identify your baggage and quickly get it to its final delivery destination. Once you’ve arrived at your final destination’s airport, you can bypass baggage claim and head directly to your hotel, home or wherever your travels may take you.
Delivery is not offered for locations more than 100 miles from the airport. The delivery fee is per US Airways reservation and is fully refundable if you cancel more than 24 hours in advance of your scheduled flight departure. Cancellation requests placed within 24 hours of the scheduled flight departure will receive a refund for the entirety of the original purchase, but a $15 fee will apply. Residential deliveries for flights after 11 PM will be made between 8 AM and noon the next day.
If you don’t have elite status, a premium cabin ticket, or a credit card that exempts you from the checked bag fees the airline charges, then you will still have to pay those charges on top of the fees charged by the VIP baggage service. The fees listed below are solely the fees charged by the baggage service. As you can see, if you are a family traveling with lots of bags then the per bag charge greatly decreases.
Deliveries up to 40 miles from the airport are the standard rate with delivery in 4 hours. For deliveries 41 – 100 miles, add $1 per mile over 40 miles and allow up to 6 hours after your arrival.
- $29.95 for one bag
- $39.95 for two bags
- $49.95 for three – 10 bags
Bags VIP will deliver your bags from any U.S. airport they serve, plus when you fly from select U.S. territories and international airports. You can see a full list of available destinations here.
A Mommy Points reader, Nadine, recently used this service and wanted to share her thoughts with other families who may be considering this option. Here is what she had to say.
I used this service yesterday and it was fabulous and I thought you might want to write about it to help other families. Our flight was due to arrive at Boston Logan from Phoenix at 11:08 p.m. – we actually were 10 minutes late. We mostly had carry-ons, but had one big bag that we checked both because it had liquids, and to make it easier to get through the airport as a family. I had to work the next morning, and I knew my 6 year old would be a mess, so we used this VIP bag service. We didn’t have to wait for our luggage and when we woke in the morning, the bag was waiting for us. $29 well spent.
I think this service could be super useful if you are going on a trip with a bunch of luggage, as we did on the ski trip shown below. We were able to manage the luggage, but had my husband not been traveling with me, this would have been invaluable! I could also see it being useful if you were traveling with a bunch of materials to give a presentation, or if you were moving and bringing lots of your stuff via checked luggage, etc. I have not yet used this service myself, but will file it away for the next time we are on a trip where I think it could be useful. Of course, I still would not recommend checking anything that you need immediately, or within the first day or so of landing.
Have you used one of these services on a trip? How did it go for you?