Luggage delivery services are silly because I figure it’s just cheaper to fly it back on the plane. But there comes a time where you’ve gotta back it up.
Most people will never need a luggage delivery service. The only time it might be worth it? When you’re moving, you’ve used up all of your checked baggage quota, and you’re going away for a very, very long time. We’re talking years, here.
So I decided to compare four luggage delivery services over three different routes, to find out if it's actually better to send your luggage after you’ve exceeded your allowance, instead of dragging it with you on the plane. Generally, it can be (but not always) and if you can keep it under the normal checked baggage allowance, even with the associated fees, that’s usually the best and the cheapest. This is especially true with domestic moves.
In general, out of all the services, we found Luggage To Ship was consistently one of the cheapest, along with Send My Bags. The issue with the latter is its lack of international options but it was the most economical in regards to shipping things from the U.S. to the U.K. And pro tip: Luggage To Ship offers a $20 discount if you decide to drop off your bag rather than scheduling a pickup. (There are great conveniences in luggage delivery.)
Each delivery service has different types of shipping for delivering bags, so brush up on all the available options at hand and read the fine print closely. When checking airline prices, we only accounted for total excess and baggage fees.
New York to California
|American Airlines||Luggage Free||Luggage Forward||Luggage To Ship|
|25 lbs / 11 kg||$150||$55||$69||$64|
|50 lbs / 23 kg||$150||$110||$99||$94|
|75 lbs / 34 kg||$350||$165||$119||$114|
It is cheaper to ship if you're over the checked bag allowance for sure. If you actually manage to stay under 70 lbs / 32 kg, the total airline fee is actually $250. Go over and it's an extra $100, making it a grand total of $350. It'd also worth noting that Virgin America actually has all of these prices beat for domestic flights.
Send My Bags was not included because it doesn't operate domestic routes.
California to Singapore
|Singapore Airlines||Luggage Free||Luggage Forward||Send My Bags||Luggage To Ship|
|25 lbs / 11 kg||$225||$128.75||$164||$169||$130.37|
|50 lbs / 23 kg||$225||$257.50||$284||$269||$211.44|
|75 lbs / 34 kg||$375||$386.25||$399||$309.86||$284.04|
Shipping is cheaper until the weight hits the normal weight for a checked bag. Then it's almost practically worth it to drag it on the plane. The main exception, however, is Luggage To Ship's prices when everything starts getting a little bit heavy.
New York to London
|British Airways||Luggage Free||Luggage Forward||Send My Bags||Luggage To Ship|
|25 lbs / 11 kg||$85||$135.25||$164||$99||$135.21|
|50 lbs / 23 kg||$85||$270.50||$279||$169||$206.6|
|75 lbs / 34 kg||n/a||$405.75||$389||$197.62||$288.88|
The British Airways' rates noted in this chat only apply if the excess bag is prebooked online. Costs at the airport are $25 higher, making it $100 if checked in at the last-minute. Overweight bags are permitted for an additional $100, making it a grand total of $185. The main caveat is that British does now allow bags heavier than 70 lbs / 32 kg onboard.
Given British's low excess and overweight bags, it is almost ridiculous to ship, proving once again, that doing your homework about the different available rates can really pay off. But if you do ship, only use Send My Bags once you start shipping boatloads of things.