Following on from my recent post about flying with camera gear, I thought I would look at various airline baggage restrictions (allowance seems too positive a description in most cases). Click through to see a comparison of several airlines.
Please note that this information is gathered from the airline websites on 5th October 2009 and is presented here for illustration and comparison purposes only. I had to convert some fees from Euros and USD to GBP. If you plan to travel, you should contact the airline to find out their current restrictions and charges.
I have used the restrictions and charges for Economy travel, without any special frequent flier discounts. I also used the fees associated with early payment – some airlines charge more if you pay at the airport. All the fees are per flight so if you make a return journey, you need to double the fee.
I haven’t included other fees associated with flying, such as booking, check-in, airport tax etc. Be careful with these, on one well known budget airline, a £10 fare became nearly £100 after I added a bag and the ‘extras’ such as checking-in to the flight, paying by credit card etc…
The comparison tables below show the airline website, number of bags you can check, maximum weight you can check, number of hand luggage bags and maximum size, maximum weight of the hand luggage and any charges for bags and excess baggage.
To start, I picked some of the better known budget airlines operating from the UK.
And here is a sample of ‘traditional’ airlines.
|Airline||Checked luggage||Checked allowance||Hand luggage||Max weight||Baggage charges|
|American Airlines||1||23kg||1 (56x45x25 cm) plus laptop bag, handbag or briefcase||No limit||2nd bag £31. Overweight bags £31 per bag|
|Air France||Limit not specified||20kg||1 (56x35x25 cm) plus laptop bag, handbag or briefcase||12kg||Approx £13 per kg overweight. Note that the allowance and charges vary based on route.|
|British Airways||1 (2 for flights to USA)||23kg (46kg flights USA)||1 (56x45x25 cm) plus laptop bag, handbag or briefcase||No limit||£25 per oversize bag (up to 23kg)|
|KLM||1 (or 2 if based on piece concept)||20kg plus golf bag not exceeding 20kg (or 46kg if based on piece concept)||1 (56x35x25 cm) plus laptop bag, handbag or briefcase||12kg||£4.50 - £27 per kg depending on route. Under piece concept, £137 for extra bag or £45 for excess weight.|
|Lufthansa||No limit (long haul has a 2 bag limit)||20kgs (long haul is 46kg)||1 (55x40x20 cm)||8kg||£4.50 - £37 per kg depending on route.|
|Virgin Atlantic||2||46kg||1 (56x36x23 cm)||6kg||£35 per bag over 23kg. £90 per extra bag|
Quite a variety of baggage rules and charges. Notice how the hand baggage size varies! Something to watch out for. Some airlines were very specific about bringing a coat, umbrellas etc. Most of the budget airlines were very specific about hand baggage rules.
Looking through these tables, it seems that flying with camera gear is now pretty hard and will almost always incur excess fees. Maybe the approach is to carry your over-size camera bag to the aircraft door and hand it over to be put in the hold by hand. Not ideal but better than it going through the nightmare of normal baggage handling.