These days, many airlines see checked luggage as an additional revenue stream, so it's important to be aware of the allowances offered by the airlines in your route.
As a general rule, most long-haul international flights will include a checked luggage allowance. Domestic flights (especially within North America, Australia and New Zealand) will not have an allowance and you will have to purchase it at additional cost.
There are two methods airlines use to allocate luggage allowance:
The Piece Rule
- on international flights to/from North America, luggage is limited by the piece rule: 2 pieces of luggage, one not exceeding 62 inches (sum of dimensions) or a total of 106 inches. However, each airline is free to do whatever they want with the rule, so check with the airline you are flying for details. Each bag can be up to 50lbs.
- on flights within North America, almost all airlines charge for checked luggage (JetBlue is a notable exception).
- some international carriers also charge for checked luggage, so be careful. You can always ask us BEFORE the tickets are issued to check the allowance so that you have the correct information.
The Weight Rule
- for the flights not touching North America, the rule is by weight. Carry-on luggage is almost always limited to 5-8kg. Checked luggage is also limited. Some airlines may offer a total of 20 kg / 44 lbs allowance which includes checked luggage and carry on, some may offer differently. Make sure to check and you can also ask us BEFORE the tickets are issued to offer the information regarding the luggage.
Many airlines allow only ONE carry-on so the "personal items" such as purse, shoulder bag or camera need to go in that carry-on. Umbrellas and coats don’t need to be stashed in carry-ons.
Excess luggage can add a lot of money to the cost of the trip. Fees often increase if you have to pay for it at the airport so make sure you're aware of the allowances offered for your flight and the amount of luggage you have. Most airlines will allow you to purchase extra allowance via their websites or call centers.
- Tag it. Put your name, phone number and email address on (and in) every piece of luggage you carry.
- Inventory. Make a list of what is in every bag before you leave. Leave a copy at home and bring one with you. If something happens to your luggage, the list will help you get full value of any airline or insurance reimbursement.
- NEVER put any valuables in checked luggage
- Make your bag stand out. Use a colored tag on it so that you can recognize it on the conveyer belt. All those black cases do look the same.
- Keep ALL your important documents - valuables, passport, money, boarding pass - on your person.
- Buy travel insurance.
- Pack things you are prepared to lose.