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FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 2/4 [Monthly posting]
Section - [2-15] Baggage Limits

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Checked baggage weight/size/number limits vary depending on the
airline, the class of fare, and the country of origin. For US domestic
flights, one is typically limited to 2 pieces of checked baggage
(excluding luggage carriers), each of which has a total length + width
+ height less than 62" (or 72") and weighs less than 70 pounds (32
kg). For domestic travel within a foreign country, however, the limit
is by weight, not piece count, usually 20kg.

For international travel the weight limits for couch, business class,
and first class are 20kg, 30kg, and 40kg, respectively. But if the
fare is for travel to or from North America, the baggage limit is that
of the entire journey, even if one leg would normally have a lower
limit. So for international travel from the USA, for example, coach
passengers would be limited to 2 bags (piece rule) and not just 20kg
(weight rule). The key here is that the fare is a 'through fare'. If
you switch airlines instead of taking a direct flight, you may be
subject to a lower baggage limit for that portion of your journey. If
this matters to you, make sure either that you are ticketed as a
through fare, or that the tickets are endorsed to permit the higher
piece rule baggage limits (e.g., "2 pieces allowed with trans-Atlantic

Unchecked carry-on baggage is usually limited to 2 bags, which must
fit under the seat in front of you or in the overhead compartment.
Purses, cameras, coats, and similar items are usually excluded from
the limit.  Garment bags are also often excluded, especially for first
class customers. Sometimes the limit will be reduced to 1 bag,
especially on very full flights. Oversize articles (e.g., skis,
bicycles, moose heads) must be checked.

For US domestic flights, the official size for carry-on bags is 21" x 14"
x 9", and 2 bags is the usual limit. If the flight isn't full, you can
usually get away with slightly bigger bags. If they see you struggling
with your bags, or you're carrying far too many bags, or you ask if
your bag is ok, they'll probably ask you to check the bag at the gate.
Purses usually don't count towards the number of bags limit (depends
on the purse of course -- there are some mammoth purses out there). If
you're carrying non-checkable items (e.g., computers or electronics),
they'll probably let you carry them on. If your bag is extremely
heavy, DO NOT put it in the overhead bin -- the latches aren't very
strong, and having a 40 pound bag fall on your head during a flight
isn't pleasant.

If you do have excess baggage, it is cheaper to pay the excess baggage
charges than to ship it by air freight. (This is why courier travel
exists -- it is often cheaper for a company to pay for an airline
ticket than it is for them to pay freight charges.) Rates airlines
charge for excess baggage vary considerably, so it pays to call around
before purchasing a ticket. For international travel the charge is
typically 1% of the first class fare per kilogram.

Baggage limit rules are enforced very unevenly, particularly on
flights which aren't very full.

Most aircraft have room for onboard storage of one folding wheelchair.
If the wheelchair is checked, the airline is responsible for
reassembling it if necessary.

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Top Document: FAQ: Air Traveler's Handbook 2/4 [Monthly posting]
Previous Document: [2-14] Lost Baggage
Next Document: [2-16] Pets

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM