I wish I had found out about this site before the holidays, but maybe you can use it for your New Years’ travel. Luggage Limits, at http://luggagelimits.com/, allows you to provide information on your airline and travel and get luggage data for different airlines.
Say I’m going from La Guardia to Indianapolis using United Airlines. Enter that data in Luggage Limits (If you don’t know the airport name or code, just start typing in the location, and Luggage Limits will suggest it for you.) In this case, Luggage Limits asked me what kind of tickets I had (economy, etc) and proceeded to give me details on checked bag costs, carryon allowances, and the feeds for having bags that are over the checked limits. No wonder people work so hard to cram their stuff into as few bags as possible; every checked bag after the 4th one is $200 on United, as least with the economy tickets I specified. Yikes!
At the very bottom of the page, after all the cost and weight limit data, Luggage Limits has links to specific United policies about a variety of unusual luggage, from hazardous materials to mobility assistance. I think tonight at dinner I will ask my husband, “Did you know that up to 2 hockey/lacrosse sticks and 1 equipment bag is allowed in place of one checked bag?”
I tried putting in some other airlines and specifying international flights, but it didn’t seem to change the information provided much. What airlines allowed and what they charged for did vary a LOT, though.
Of course, the potential problem with this site is how up to date it is — since the airplane attack on Christmas Day, I’m sure the TSA is going to make several security-related changes. So start with this site to get information on how tightly you have to pack your luggage, but after that do a followup visit to TSA.gov.