How Can I Avoid Excess Baggage Charges?

Felicia Dye

To avoid excess baggage charges, determine what an airline's luggage rules are in advance. Adhere to all the rules by carrying only the number of bags that are allowed and making sure that they do not exceed dimension and weight restrictions. Remove unnecessary items if your luggage is too heavy and take advantage of your carry-on allowance. If you use multiple carriers on trans-global flights, make sure that you meet the baggage rules of each one.

Baggage fees can vary depending on the airline.
Baggage fees can vary depending on the airline.

There are a number of ways to avoid excess baggage charges, but those that apply will vary depending on your circumstances. In all cases, it is important to know what the luggage allowances are. Remember that you need to consider the number of pieces and the weight. If your luggage is too heavy, you will have to pay excess baggage charges. Also be aware that if you are allowed two pieces of luggage at 50 pounds (22.73 kg) each, you are generally not allowed to consolidate that allowance and carry a single 100-pound (45.45-kg) bag unless you want to pay for an overweight luggage fee.

If your luggage is too heavy, you will have to pay excess baggage charges.
If your luggage is too heavy, you will have to pay excess baggage charges.

Make smart packing choices so that you carry the items that you need while still complying with the luggage regulations. Avoid packing unnecessary items such as clothes hangers and items that are still in the packaging. Doing so is a wasteful use of space and can add to the weight of your luggage. If you are going on an extended trip and you plan to pack a lot of bottled liquids, such as shampoos and body washes, consider limiting the amount you take and purchasing more later in your travels.

You may find yourself in a dilemma because you want to purchase gifts to have upon arrival, but you may not be able to pack them without being liable to excess baggage charges. Consider buying your gifts from shops at the airport after you check in. Unless your purchases are excessively large, you should be allowed to travel with them free of charge. Another option is to purchase your gifts in-flight.

If the luggage that you plan to check in is too heavy, take advantage of your carry-on allowance. Most airlines will allow you to carry one piece of luggage onto the plane free of charge. This is generally allowed in addition to one personal item, such as a laptop case or briefcase, so you do not have to sacrifice access to belongings that you may need during your flight.

If you are traveling trans-globally and purchase your tickets through an online airfare discounter, try to avoid using multiple carriers. Otherwise, you run the risk of paying excess baggage charges when transferring from one airline to another. This can happen because the baggage allowances can differ from one country to another. For example, if you leave Washington, D.C. and fly to Paris on one airline you may be allowed two checked bags. When you attempt to complete your trip from Paris to Prague on another airline, you may only be allowed one piece of luggage, meaning you would need to pay for the second piece.

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