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Airline Luggage and Travel Tips

Mar 16, 2008
What are the size and weight restrictions for my luggage?

- Since the Airlines luggage restrictions are going through a recent period frequent change, you should check directly with your Airline as to size, weight and number of bags that you can check and carry-on.

- In many cases, the Airlines have added new limits on both carry-on and checked baggage. You should check, but most Airlines limit their carry-on bags to a range of 14" to 16" high, 21" to 24" wide, and 8" to 9" deep. The lower limits are for under seat storage and larger limits for the more generous overhead compartment. A 45" total (height+width+depth) can be used as a basic guideline to see if your bag will be allowed as a carry-on.

- Most Airlines have a carry-on weight limit of 40 pounds and a checked baggage weight limit of 70 pounds.

- Some Airlines allow you a larger size and weight for your first bag, but have more restrictive limits for additional bags.

- Many Airlines limits vary if you are taking a domestic or international flight, are flying first, business or coach class or if you are a member of their premium membership clubs.

- All limits are much more strictly enforced then in the past. Bags are weighed at check-in and many Airlines have placed bag-sizers at their gates. If your carry-on bags are too big, you will have to check them and that might cause them to be classified as "extra bags" which usually carries an extra charge. If you bags are too heavy, you can be charged a rather high overweight luggage charge.

How many pieces of luggage can I take with me?

- Just because you sneaked it on once, do not always expect to get away with it. More rigorous enforcement of the rules and more and more bag-sizer stations will likely catch you now. This is especially true during the holidays and other peak flying times when the Airlines are watching closely since the planes are full and everyone is trying to sneak lots of stuff on the plane.

- During periods of high security, you may be required to check items you would normally be allowed to carry onboard the aircraft.

- Most Airlines allow for a combination of three bags to be divided among your carry-on and checked baggage. You will want to check with your specific Airline, since there are differences in their allowance programs. The Airlines also look at some items differently; some will count a laptop or briefcase against your allowance, while others will not.

- You may be allowed to bring more luggage free of charge if you are traveling on a first or business class ticket or are a member of the Airlines premium membership club.

- If you plan on bringing extra luggage, you had better check with the Airline to see if they will allow it on the plane. Even if you are willing to pay an extra fee, they can still refuse your extra luggage if the plane is already full. If you do receive permission to bring the extra luggage, have the person granting the permission note this on your reservation and be sure to get their name.

- If you are changing Airlines during your trip, you will need to take into account the luggage limits for all the Airlines you will use. What is acceptable to one Airline may bring an extra charge on another.

- Check the regulations when making connecting flights in European or other foreign countries. You may be held to more restrictive luggage limits while flying within the area than you did flying into the area.

- If you are flying on a commuter Airline for any leg of your trip, you will need to know their luggage limits. Many commuter Airlines have limited space and only allow carry-on baggage, they also have more restrictive weight limits.

How can I avoid extra charges for my luggage?

- Know the luggage limits on all the Airlines you will use on your trip and try to stay within those limits.

- Do not over pack, overweight bags have caused a great many injuries to baggage handlers. To try to discourage people, the Airlines often charge a hefty fee for handling an overweight bag.

- If you really need the items, then you should check into paying the extra bag fee. It is usually cheaper to divide your items into two bags and pay the extra bag fee than pay one overweight bag charge. You might also avoid the embarrassment of having your luggage explode because they are packed too full.
About the Author
Ranju is the assistant editor of TRAVEL-ENTERTAINMENT and is an "Under the Radar" Internet Entrepreneur who's been quietly selling various products for the last 8 years. Get more money-saving travel tips at TRAVEL-ENTERTAINMENT
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