Air Travel Packing Tips
Check-In Airline Luggage Restrictions
Air travelers need to be familiar of their check-in airline luggage restrictions, as it can be costly to exceed them.
The baggage allowance varies greatly between airlines, which can be challenging if you are travelling with more than one airline in one trip - or with different airlines on regular basis. You will then have to find the one with the lowest airline luggage weight limit and not exceed it to avoid extra charges by the other airlines.
The checked baggage allowance does not only vary between airlines. The airlines luggage restrictions vary between different classes and routes as well. The check-in baggage allowance is usually more generous for business and first class than for economy class.
The airline luggage restrictions can also be different if you are flying on domestic or international flight. This is often because many domestic planes are smaller than the planes used on international routes.
Then again, the airline luggage restrictions can even be different depending on which international flight you are on, for example if you are flying within Europe or on transatlantic flight.
Airline Luggage Restrictions
Comparing the check-in airline luggage restrictions can be challenging, as there are so many exceptions.
In many cases, the weight of your check in bag is more important than the dimensions. Most airlines though state that your check-in bag should not exceed certain combined dimensions (i.e. length + width + height). You should aim to stay within both limits to avoid any extra charges.
Most airlines make exceptions for some larger items, i.e. for sporting and musical equipment (some though do charge small fee for these items). Bear in mind that these larger bags can take longer to arrive from your flight and are usually delivered from a separate area in the baggage hall.
You should consider purchasing a portable luggage scale. These scales are inexpensive and very handy travel accessories. They will assist you in avoiding paying overweight charges.
See our complete Buying Guide To Luggage Scales.
Most airlines allow at least one free check-in bag on most routes (sometimes more on business and first class). However, airlines have increasingly started to charge for all check-in bags in economy class (on some or all routes). Still, some airlines offer more than one free bag on some routes in economy class so you should always check the baggage allowance directly with your airline.
Any bags carried in addition to your free checked baggage allowance will incur an extra bag charge. Some airlines allow you to pay fixed fee for additional bag (sometime bags). It can often be quite reasonable, as you will usually get same the weight allowance as for your free bag.
The luggage weight allowance varies between airlines but is usually +/- 23 kg. for checked in baggage in economy class. Some airlines charge fixed fee for each kilo over the airline luggage weight limit while other charge fixed fee for up to the next weight allowance level.
For example, airline might allow 23 kg. as free checked baggage allowance and charge fixed fee of $60 for luggage between 23-32 kg. Some might even allow check-in bags up to 45 kg. and you would then pay $100 for bags weighing between 32 and 45 kg.
If you want to take a bag that is larger or heavier than the airline luggage weight guide allows, then you will have to send it as cargo and pay for it accordingly. The limitation with cargo is that it might not arrive with you on your flight, because airlines often leave cargo behind if they have exceed the maximum weight for the plane.
The following table shows the check-in airline luggage weight and dimension limits for 24 major air carriers. This information is based on international flight in economy class. However, airline luggage restrictions differ for different international routes so always check with your relevant airline prior to packing a suitcase (the table shows the lowest allowance on international routes)..
If you click on an airline name in the table, you will go directly to that airline baggage section.
Last Updated: 10th January 2013
Airlines Luggage Restrictions
Inches (per bag)
|Air New Zealand||23||1||62||158|
* Per bag
(a) 3 dimensions of both pieces may not exceed 107 in. (273 cm)
(b) Fees apply for certain Economy Class fares
(c) No free checked baggage allowance
(d) All destinations except to and from Americas
(e) 1 bag to/from Europe, 2 bags Americas, total dimension of 2 pieces must not exceed 270 cm (106 in)
(f) Total dimension of 2 pieces must not exceed 273 cm (106 in), only 1 bag and 20 kg to other destinations (outside Americas)
(g) Exception, i.e. less for flight departing outside Brazil, etc.
(h) 2 bags and 23 kg. for flights to US and Canada
It is not only the check-in airline luggage restrictions that you need to be aware of, you also need to make sure your hand luggage does not exceed the Carry On Luggage Restrictions.
You should consider purchasing a portable luggage scale. These scales are inexpensive and very handy travel accessories. They will assist you in avoiding paying overweight charges. See our complete Buying Guide To Luggage Scales.
TSA Luggage Locks
If you are traveling within, to, or through the USA, then make sure your luggage has TSA approved luggage lock. US airport security officers have the authority to open your check-in luggage.
If you do not have TSA luggage lock, they will break your luggage lock causing damage to it and even your bag. Make sure you read our guide: Why Buy TSA Approved Luggage Locks.
Buying Luggage On-line
Check our Luggage Shop and browse our selected range of quality luggage from leading online retailers.
In our showcase shop you can browse for different luggage types and see the current prices.
If you prefer to shop via Amazon, why not visit our Amazon US or Amazon UK stores. Just click on the country flags below and browse or search for your new luggage.