Travel Industry Spotlight: Baggage Allowance Fees

What were once viewed as loose guidelines to make travelling easier and keep the customer happy are now tightening as airlines and frequent flyers see the value of unbundled tickets. ‘Baggage Allowance’ – two words referring to airline luggage policies that vary dramatically between different carriers as consistent industry standards are non-existent.

It was once common practice for airlines to encourage tourists to participate in the activities that their countries were known for, including sports. For this reason, the first item of sports equipment brought onto the plane (skis, golf clubs, fishing equipment, etc.) were free or cheaper than an additional bag. Within the past few years, airlines have gradually stopped this practice and passengers can now end up facing exorbitant costs in unexpected fees if they do not research restrictions before heading to the airport.

While strict enforcement of luggage allowance, in both weight and dimensions, has been common in Europe for the past few years, the emergence of similar practices are becoming common place in other parts of the world.

According to the Bureau of Transportation, domestic airlines within the U.S. alone earned $3.35 billion in luggage fees last year, increasing by an estimated 89% in the last three years according to IdeaWorks. These fees result in big bucks for the airlines’ bottom line and it looks like they will continue to increase.

Source: Market Watch

It is time to take a look at the different practices from some of the main airlines across the world.

Air Canada

Checked Baggage: (standard economy fare): One item, 50 lbs limit

Fee for excess baggage: Between $20 and $100
Carry-on luggage: One bag, 22 lbs limit and one personal item, 22 lbs limit
Sporting equipment: Depends on the item. Some have handling fees.
Music equipment: Can be checked if it meets size and weight restrictions

 

Air New Zealand

Checked Baggage: (standard economy fare): two pieces, 50 lbs per piece

Fee for excess baggage: $150 and above
Carry-on luggage: One item, 15 lbs
Sporting equipment: No charge if within permitted baggage allowance otherwise standard excess charges apply

Music equipment: No charge if within permitted baggage allowance otherwise standard excess charges apply. Subject to oversize / overweight charge if applicable

 

American Airlines

Checked Baggage: (standard economy fare): Charges may apply depending on destination

Fee for excess baggage: Overweight baggage $100 per piece, oversized baggage $200 per piece
Carry-on luggage: One bag and one personal item
Sporting equipment: Additional charges depending on the item
Music equipment: No charge if within permitted baggage allowance otherwise standard excess charges apply

 

British Airways

Checked Baggage: (standard economy fare): One item, 50 lbs limit

Fee for excess baggage: Between $150 and $450
Carry-on luggage: One bag and one personal item, 51 lbs limit
Sporting equipment: Between $150 and $300
Music equipment: “Special tariff” not disclosed online

 

China Southern

Checked Baggage: (standard economy fare): One item, 50 lbs limit

Fee for excess baggage: $20 per piece

Carry-on luggage: Limit 11 lbs
Sporting equipment: Not disclosed online

Music equipment: Not disclosed online

 

Delta

Checked Baggage: (standard economy fare): One item, 50 lbs limit, between $0 and $25

Fee for excess baggage: Second bag, between $0 and $100, third bag, between $100 and $285, plus special handling and additional fees for bags that do not meet size and weight restrictions
Carry-on luggage: One bag and one personal item
Sporting equipment: Between $0 and $150 depending on the item
Music equipment: No charge if within permitted baggage allowance otherwise standard excess charges apply

 

Emirates

Checked Baggage: (standard economy fare): Two items, 50 lbs each

Fee for excess baggage: between $123 and $175 per additional piece

Carry-on luggage: One piece, 15 lbs limit
Sporting equipment: Not disclosed online

Music equipment: Not disclosed online

 

Fiji Airlines

Checked Baggage: (standard economy fare): One item, 50 lbs limit

Fee for excess baggage: Oversized and special handling fee $100, $120 per extra piece, $50 surcharge for each piece weighing 50lbs to 66 lbs

Carry-on luggage: One piece, 15 lbs limit (not uncommon to have your carry-on weighed and in the Nadi Airport it can be weighed at check-in and again when going through security gates)
Sporting equipment: Additional fees for sporting equipment even if within checked allowance

Music equipment: Not disclosed online

 

Japan Airlines

Checked Baggage: (standard economy fare): Two items, 50 lbs each

Fee for excess baggage: between $60 and $450

Carry-on luggage: One piece, 22 lbs limit
Sporting equipment: between $100 and $150

Music equipment: Not disclosed online

 

Lufthansa

Checked Baggage: (standard economy fare): One item, 50 lbs limit

Fee for excess baggage: Between $150 and $450
Carry-on luggage: One item, 15 lbs limit
Sporting equipment: No charge if within permitted baggage allowance otherwise standard excess charges apply
Music equipment: Not disclosed online

 

Qantas

Checked Baggage: (standard economy fare): Two items, 50 lbs limit

Fee for excess baggage: $175 per extra piece, $75 heavy charge
Carry-on luggage: One item, 15 lbs
Sporting equipment: No charge if within permitted baggage allowance otherwise standard excess charges apply

Music equipment: Not disclosed online

 

South West

Checked Baggage: (standard economy fare): Two items, 50 lbs limit

Fee for excess baggage: $75 for a 3rd checked item
Carry-on luggage: One bag and one personal item
Sporting equipment: Depends on the item

Music equipment: Can be carryon or checked if it meets size and weight restrictions

 

Virgin Atlantic

Checked Baggage: (standard economy fare): One item, 50 lbs limit

Fee for excess baggage: first extra bag $100, overweight $60, 70 lbs limit

Carry-on luggage: One piece, 22 lbs limit
Sporting equipment: One free piece, 50 lbs limit

Music equipment: Not disclosed online

 

Virgin Australia

Checked Baggage: (standard economy fare): Two items, 50 lbs limit per item

Fee for excess baggage: first extra bag $150, overweight $100, 70 lbs limit

Carry-on luggage: One piece, 22 lbs limit
Sporting equipment: Can be included as part of your check baggage allowance, certain sporting equipment is charged at 50% of the full excess baggage rate

Music equipment: Can be carry-on or checked if it meets size and weight restrictions

 

As you can see from this varied group of airlines, there are no industry standards and if you arrive at the airport naive to the baggage policy applying to your flight, you could be asked to pay over $100 to see that your baggage makes it onboard.

  • Before you fly, check your baggage allowance with the airline you are travelling with. Airlines often change and update baggage information.
  • JNR takes no responsibility for incorrect information or the baggage policies of airlines
  • This information was taken from individual airline websites and based on similar destinations

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

 

Photo: “Budget Airways @ Changi Airport, Singapore” by William Cho is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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