The only way to avoid fines is by keeping safely within your airline’s baggage carriage regulations.
As you get your things together for your trip, packing can become a test of endurance and resourcefulness. However, ensuring that your luggage falls in line with regulations can prevent a lot of stress and hassle at the airport.
During booking there are timely reminders about baggage restrictions from your airline. Airlines increasingly penalise those who stretch, bend or break the rules. Overweight or oversized baggage is now seen by some airlines as a highly profitable source of revenue.
The cabin baggage allowance differs slightly between the carriers. It is therefore important that you check the exact regulations of the airline you are flying with. It is also worth keeping in mind that the rules can change over time, so it is useful to skim read these regulations afresh every time you fly.
Many airlines now have a strict one-piece of hand luggage rule while some will tolerate a separate handbag or laptop bag.
Some airlines have a weight restriction on hand luggage, while others are only concerned with dimensions.
When checking whether your hand luggage falls within the dimensions stipulated by your airline, it is important to remember that the handles and wheels are included in the measurement.
If you are unsure of the size or weight of cabin luggage then before going through security, check at the Bag Drop desk.
Should your hand luggage exceed the maximum dimensions or weight, you will be forced to check it in as hold luggage against a fee. This can be costly, as the airlines tend to charge a much higher price for luggage allowance that is purchased at the airport rather than booked in advance.
Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that, if your hand luggage is too big to fit under the seat, you may still be asked to put it in the hold, even if it adheres to the airline’s regulations. This can happen on a busy flight, when there is no more space in the overhead lockers. In this event you will not be charged for placing your luggage in the hold. However, it might be worth considering beforehand whether there are any items in your hand luggage you want to keep with you during your flight. It is a good idea to have these within easy reach, so that you can remove them quickly prior to handing your bag over to the airline staff.
If you are unsure what items you are allowed to carry in your hand luggage for safety reasons, please also see our page EU cabin regulations.
As with cabin baggage, every airline’s limits vary. Check with your airline before you fly or with your travel agent if you have booked through them.
It is best to weigh your bag before leaving for the airport. If you haven’t, as a last resort use an unattended check-in desk.
Don’t be tempted break the rules. If you’re struggling to fit everything into cabin luggage and are a couple of kilos over, you will be charged to put it in the hold at a much higher rate than if you had checked it in.
Please also read our page EU cabin regulations if you need more information about the type of items that can or cannot be transported in your hold luggage.