If you want to avoid an excess baggage cost during your next trip, the first thing you will need to do is go to the airline’s website and read their policies carefully. Extra baggage price varies from airline to airline and from route to route, so never assume that your baggage is within the allowance.
You will also want to do a “test pack” before you fly and note the bags’ dimensions and weight. It’s useful to have a luggage scale at home to get an accurate idea of your bags’ weight and avoid unpleasant (and expensive) surprises at the airport.
When do extra baggage charges apply?
As a traveller, you will want to know in which situations extra baggage charges apply, since there several things that could qualify as excess luggage. Here’s a list of the most common things that can incur extra baggage charges:
- The total size or dimensions of your luggage: Although baggage allowances vary from airline to airline, most carriers consider excess baggage any bags that are larger than 167cm (62 inches) once length, width, and height are added up together.
- Number of bags: Most carriers allow 1 to 2 checked bags per passenger. If you want to check more bags, you’ll need to pay extra for them.
- Weight: In most cases, any baggage that weighs over 23kg (50lbs) incurs extra charges. Most airlines charge a specific amount per additional kilogram over your luggage allowance, with average rates going from £10 to £15 / kg.
excess baggage price
- Flight time: Some carriers may charge different extra baggage fees for short, medium, and long-haul flights. For example, British Airways charges £25 for additional baggage in short-haul flights, but the excess baggage price can be as high as £60 for long-haul destinations.
excess baggage fees
- Your ticket type and fare: Basic and discounted fares are more likely to incur higher excess baggage fees than business fares.
It’s also important to note that cabin luggage or carry on can also be subject to extra baggage costs. Generally speaking, your carry on total dimensions shouldn’t be larger than 114cm (45 inches). Weight allowances usually range between 7kg and 10kg (15lbs to 22lbs).
How to avoid paying an extra baggage fee
If you know for a fact that your baggage is going to be over the airline’s allowance, you can still save some money by paying the fees in advance. Some airlines allow excess baggage payment beforehand, usually online at the time of booking or before you check in. Excess baggage charges added at the check-in counter at the airport are usually much higher. For example, British Airways charges for excess baggage are £25 if paid online, but £65 if paid at the airport. Similarly, low-cost airlines like Air Asia allow you to pre-pay online for excess baggage up to 4 hours before departure and save 50% compared to the charges you’d have to pay at the airport.
Lastly, remember that you have the right to be compensated for luggage delays or if your bags are misplaced, and that includes extra baggage even when flying with low-cost carriers.