Baggage Policies for Long Haul Flights
Packing a bag right is one thing; whittling its contents down to the right weight is another challenge entirely. Then there are those pesky dimensions you read about just when you thought you had it sussed. Every airline has different checked baggage rules and these are constantly changing as airlines purchase new aircraft and restructure their pricing models – not to mention the government introducing restrictions of their own such as a 23kg cap on checked baggage to protect staff lifting heavy bags all day (UK).
As a side note, get yourself a luggage scale off Amazon. A weight checker will save the stress of a repack in the airport and besides they’re pretty cheap.
We’ve put together an alphabetised list of the checked baggage policies of the most popular airlines with our customers. All the airline baggage allowances contained within this list are included in the cost of the air ticket unless otherwise stated. As well as the airline you are flying with, your allowance also depends on your cabin class and there are additional fees for extra items. Check this out before you start packing and remember to cross check it with the website of the airline you’re flying with – these things change frequently.
Air France covers a global network of routes and their website has a baggage calculator to assist the packing process. There are no set dimensions, making it easier to take cases of different shapes, but they cannot exceed a total of 158cm across all three dimensions (a + b + c). Weight limit is 23kg.
As far as weight is concerned, British Airways’ baggage policy depends on ticket type but the dimensions are set at 90 x 75 x 43cm, inclusive of wheels and handles etc. If you don’t have much luggage to carry, consider their cabin baggage only flights. Tickets are much cheaper, perfect if you have flights to New York for the weekend.
Cathay are quite generous in their weight allowance. Two bags are included in the price of most flights and can reach a combined maximum of 30kg. Like Air France, bags cannot exceed a fixed total length. Check for cheap flights to Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific’s headquarters, with Netflights.
The total dimensions cannot exceed 300cm whilst luggage weight allowance starts at 20kg for the ‘special’ ticket class. Their online flight calculator is a nifty tool for figuring out what you’re allowed without trawling through every ticket class and related destination restrictions. Note that for flights to Dubai, the Emirates website states any one piece of luggage cannot exceed 32kg – this total weight restriction in actual fact applies to most long haul flights.
Etihad have launched a new baggage policy that divides restrictions according to route. Most have a 30kg suitcase weight limit and a 90 x 72 x 45cm restriction on dimensions (this is different for flights within the US and Canada). Check the Emirates website to see what hold luggage specifications apply to your flight.
30kg is quite a generous weight allowance and the 95 x 75 x 45cm dimensions aren’t too shabby either. A couple more centimetres might not seem like much but it’s one of the larger dimensional allowances. If you’re a Gold Silver of Black member, there are additional baggage perks to be had – if not there are fees for extra checked baggage.
The Dutch outfit based in Amstelveen starts its checked baggage weight allowance at 23kg – not the most on the list so far but not the least generous either. This piece of luggage must not exceed 158cm for its combined length, height and breadth and you can only bring one bag.
Lufthansa are with the status quo with a dimensional maximum of 158cm. Their Economy Light fare (Europe to Canada & US) allows you to travel with a carry-on only, so long as it weighs no more than 8kg (note – although you can add a checked bag on this ticket type, its expensive to do so). Lufthansa’s weight allowance is 23kg.
Two pieces of checked baggage included in the ticket prices that are a maximum of 30kg. The overall linear dimensions can’t exceed the usual 158cm but you’re allowed two pieces – a nice bonus.
Weight starts at 30kg for Singapore Airlines although this can be doubled for an additional cost. Flights to Canada and the US have this reduced to 23kg but retains the 158cm all round dimension limit.
Thai Airways’ maximum baggage allowance has been bumped from 20kg up to 30kg – just be sure to check your ticket type in case you have one of the old ones. This extra allowance is not applicable on their flights to the United States however. You guessed the dimensions – 158cm all round.
Turkish Airlines is another airline that allows more than one bag on its economy fares albeit only those departing from and arriving in a Turkish airport (i.e. a holiday to Turkey). Otherwise its only one piece of luggage, no more than 23kg in weight and 158cm in length.
Virgin are in the club that offers long haul flights with no checked baggage allowance whatsoever. The fare class a rung up from Economy Light – Economy – is capped at 23kg and has to fit with their 90 x 75 x 43cm size limitations.