Unless you’re someone who isn’t averse to ‘roughing it’ and has a special talent for being able to fit 3 weeks’ worth of essentials into a carry-on backpack, the chances are good that you’ve had a run-in with the scales at the airport at least once before.
There’s nothing more embarrassing than having to unpack your personal items in the departures hall, because you’re a couple of kg’s over the limit. No matter how meticulously you could have packed everything, guaranteed, when you’re under pressure trying to figure out what to leave and what to take, nothing really fits back again where it was before.
If you will be traveling soon, make sure you brush up on exactly what is allowed in terms of baggage size and weight, and more importantly – which flights offer higher baggage allowances and what you can expect to pay if you are over. We provide you with some insight below.
What is the Average Baggage Allowance?
The average baggage allowance for international flights is 22 kilograms for checked luggage. This sounds pretty generous, however, if you keep in mind that the average bag weighs around 6 – 8 kilograms, this means that the items which you add to your bag shouldn’t weigh more than 15 – 17 kilograms in total.
If you’re only packing summer clothes and a few pairs of shoes, you shouldn’t have too much trouble staying within these boundaries, but if you’re packing winter clothes like jackets and thermals, electronics and other goods as well, you might have a bit of a problem.
If you think it’s best to pack a larger bag, think again. Not only will these bags weigh a lot more, they’ll also make it more likely for you to pack more than what the baggage weight limit will allow. After all, most airlines won’t accept bags any bigger than 55cm x 38cm x 20cm (some may insist on even smaller than this, so be sure to double check this when booking your ticket).
Keep in mind that first and business class passengers are often granted 10 kilograms extra when it comes to baggage allowance. Also, each passenger, regardless of cabin class, is allowed to take one carry-on bag and one other item of a personal nature, weighing no more than 8 kilograms, (such as a coat, handbag or a laptop) onto the plane with them.
What Happens if I Go Over the Weight Limit?
Unless you manage to charm your way out of it, you’ll likely have to pay extra in this instance. How much extra you’ll need to fork out will vary from airline to airline. Some charge per extra kilogram, whereas others may charge a flat per-item rate. Again, you’ll be able to find more information on each airline’s policy regarding baggage allowance penalties online when booking your ticket. It’s worth taking a look so at least if there is no way around going over the limit, you’ll know exactly what to expect.
If you are not willing to pay the fee, you may also elect to unpack items from your bag and leave them behind with a friend of family member. In order to avoid this time-sucking (and embarrassing) exercise, it’s definitely worth weighing your luggage before heading to the airport, or sticking to a smaller bag to make sure you aren’t tempted to overpack!
Which Airlines Offer the Largest Baggage Allowances?
Airlines that fly through Eastern hubs, like Emirates (20 – 30 kgs) and Qatar (30 kgs) often have the largest luggage allowances. Other more lenient airlines include British Airways (32 kgs per bag), Aer Lingus (32 kgs per bag), Qantas (30 kgs per bag) and Singapore Airlines (30 kgs per bag).
What if I’m Emigrating?
Obviously, if you’re emigrating or if you’ll be spending a sizeable amount of time at the destination to which you’re travelling, you’ll have a lot more luggage than someone who is going on holiday for 2 weeks. In many instances like this, as long as you contact the airline ahead of time, they’ll make an exception for you and increase your baggage allowance somewhat.
Ultimately, if you know that you’ll be travelling heavier than the average person, it pays to do some research before booking your flight ticket. The good news is that cheap ticket comparison websites, like Cheap International Flights, provide you with baggage allowance information before you pay.