Airline baggage rules: check before you fly

If you are flying this year, don’t forget to check what your baggage entitlement is. Failure to do so could resort in you facing expensive excess baggage fees at the airport – as much as £20 per kilo in some cases – or having to pay to check-in your hand luggage because it’s too big or too heavy.

Airlines set their own rules with regard to baggage allowances – sizes of baggage and weight limits are not set by the airport and there is no cross-the-board limits amongst the airlines. Don’t assume that what is acceptable by one airline will be acceptable by another. Even if you are flying with your usual airline, don’t automatically think that last year’s weight limit is going to be the same this year. Always check.

If you are booking your flights online, your flight confirmation should state your baggage entitlement – that’s if you have booked to take a suitcase and your hand baggage limits. Most of the low-cost carriers give you the option of travelling with hand luggage only and checking in a suitcase needs to be pre-booked – some airlines will allow you to pay for checked-in baggage at the airport terminal but this is usually double the online fee. Some airlines allow more than one piece of checked-in baggage, but not all do.

If you are uncertain, check your airline’s website for baggage allowances, both checked-in baggage size and weight, and also hand luggage sizes and weight allowances. Baggage limits can usually be found in the FAQ or questions section.

Don’t get caught out by having overweight luggage as excess baggage charges can make a big dent in your holiday spending money!