Travellers Advice – Airline Baggage
Airline Baggage – TO PACK OR NOT TO PACK, THAT IS THE QUESTION?
JANUARY NEWSLETTER – Airline Baggage
Travelling around the world sounds like a glamorous life, but living out of a suitcase on a regular basis or just on your annual holiday can be a problem when you are restricted by the Airline baggage policy.
Here are our best tips, things to avoid and which carriers have the best Airlines baggage rules.
You’re going away on that hard earned two week annual holiday or a short weekend city break and as you queue at the airport check in you regularly see people who have large amounts of bags to check in. I often think what on earth have they packed and do they really need everything in there Samsonite travel suitcase the size of a tea chest which they struggle to place on the bag drop conveyer belt.
I am not one to boast as a travelling golfer and a Professional dive instructor there are times when my Airline baggage has looked more like a six month expedition rather than a 10 day trip but I for one make sure nothing I take away with me is not used.
Tip 1 – Cabbin baggage
Invest in a good quality usable carry on travel bag. This in the long run will save you time looking for things at the airport, have room for all your needs for a short break and gives you options for a few extra kilo’s leeway for a longer trip.
What makes a good travel bag?
There are two main options, wheeled bag or rucksack. The wheeled bag usually gives the best packing options for clothes packing and easy transportation around airports and any other well paved areas.
Rucksack are often more practical if you are travelling to a more far flung destination or any situation where you know you will need to have your hands free or may have to hurry between forms of transport. Whichever one you prefer one of the most important features is to have a secure pocket where you can store your travel documents and passport safely but still have access to them when needed.
Things to consider?
- Dimensions of bag – Strict Cabin baggage dimension limits on many of the low cost carriers.
- Weight of bag when empty – remember you will have to lift into an overhead locker.
- Document pockets – to keep you Passport safe and sound
- Able to be locked – any added security is a benefit (but don’t lose the key)
- Are you carrying toiletries or Liquids in your hand luggage, if you intend to consider buying in the departure lounge or on arrival in your destination (most good hotels supply complimentary toiletries)
Most Airline baggage rules work on either a weight basis or dimension basis on average this equates to something between 7 – 10 kgs. Many low cost airlines restrict passengers to 1 cabin bag per person, a restriction brought in after the airborne terror attacks; the majority of Schedule national airlines allow 1 main cabin bag plus a laptop bag or handbag.
Please remember all airlines have restrictions on amounts of Liquids you can take through Airport security control.
If you do take liquids in your hand luggage then:
- containers must hold no more than 100ml
- containers should be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm
- contents must fit comfortably inside the bag so it can be sealed
- the bag must not be knotted or tied at the top
- it is limited to 1 plastic bag per person
- you must show the bag at the airport security point
For more details and changes in current regulations follow the link here
Liquids bought in the departure lounge of UK airports comply with all regulations,
Tip 2 – Checked Baggage
Exciding your baggage allowance on a flight can seriously damage you wealth!!!
The first thing when choosing your flight either long or short haul is to consider the free Airline baggage allowance given by the airline. Even on a short haul flight when taking bags into consideration the so called “low cost carriers” can be more expensive than a national airline (the national airline will probably give you a free drink as well). If you are restricted to 20kgs for your trip, firstly think about the bag you are taking. Most wheeled bag are great to move around but unless they are of a modern low weight construction the chances are that will take up to 25% of your “free” Airline baggage allowance before you start to pack.
Don’t assume that all airlines give the same baggage allowances. Standard free Airline baggage allowances can range in economy class from 30kgs per person to a miserly 15kgs. The other consideration is if your Free weight allowance is calculated on a weight of piece restriction. Why is this important? Well a 30Kgs allowance on a weight bases will allow you to take maximum 30kgs over a number of bags (this is usual on most USA Bound transatlantic routes) so for example you can take a set of golf clubs weighing 13kgs and a case 17kgs and be fine. On a piece restriction you can check in the number of pieces of luggage allowed (often only one) to a maximum of the permitted allowance, so please read the small print!
If you want a great way to compare or check baggage allowances across the airlines and see what the potential costs of excess baggage could be there is an excellent website especially for this iflybags.com
Make sure your bag is easily identified! As you stand waiting for your bags to arrive on the luggage carousel how often do you see someone peer at your bag, or you wonder if you can actually recognise the old black square bag you packed your prized possessions in. Tie something easily recognisable on your bag or handle or even purchase a bag that stands out from the rest. Always make sure you have a baggage tag with your contact details or forwarding address on and if the worst comes to happen and your bag disappears the bag can be forwarded to you or returned to your home address. Please also make sure your check in bag receipt is kept in a safe place this is the first thing they will ask you for when a bag goes missing.
Take what you need! Make a list, it sounds basic but a lot of people take things they don’t need and forget some pretty important things they do. Remember where ever you are travelling too in the world most day to day items are readily available (toiletries etc) in local supermarkets, nearly all Hotels offer a clothes washing service for you (Overnight if needed). Weigh your bags if possible before you leave, check in staff will sometimes be able to grant a few extra kilos grace so again it pay’s to be pleasant and smile at the baggage drop, if you are over consider an item you could put into your hand luggage, an offer to do so is often enough to allow your bag to go through, especially if it’s a piece of electrical equipment.
If you travel on a regular basis with the same airline, join there frequent flyers club, although you may have to circumnavigate the globe a couple of times to get a free flight they give you extra benefits, this may well be complimentary additional baggage allowance! What it will do when you present your card at check in or bag drop is let the staff know you are a regular customer of the airline, you will be far more likely to be given a few kilos grace on a busy flight, or that extra help if you are late for a flight.
Tip 3 – Sports Equipment (or other large items)
This is the point when many airlines’ start taking the “Mickey” especially the low cost carriers, some charging more for a sports bag than for the seat itself, we all know who they are but £25-£30 is the normal rate per leg of your flight, however go long haul and you may find it costing you far more than that. There are exceptions to these of course. Both Emirates and Ethiad Airlines allow free carriage of golf clubs, but not other sports equipment. TAP the Portuguese national carrier allowed until a few months free golf club carriage; however they now charge 20 euro a leg which over the last few months has been a discretionary charge at check in. The best advice before you book a flight is to check with the airline or tour operator as different rules and charges apply to different routes. Thomson’s charter flights should also be given a pat on the back at this point, yes they do charge for a set of golf clubs but at only £15 for a return flight its pretty good value in the sector they operate in.
If you’re a certified diver a number of airlines will allow a top up allowance (usually 5kgs) on production of a current “cert” card but you still have to pack it all into whatever the bag limits are on the flight. If you take an extra bag the chances are it will cost £££££.
When travelling with golf clubs remember to invest in a good travel cover for your clubs, a well padded bag is better than an unpadded bag with wheels especially if you want your prized possessions to arrive in the same condition you carefully packed them when you left home. If you regularly travel with golf clubs or plan to travel regularly in the future, spend a little more on your golf travel bag. Most budget bags although they come with an impressive list of features rarely manage to survive more than 4 or 5 trips, that’s fine if you only travel every other year or so, in the long run you will save money.
Things to remember?
- Good quality bags – Carry on, checked luggage or Golf travel covers. Buy the best while still being most suitable for the type of travel you do.
- Make a list. It will help you pack what you need.
- Make sure you can easily identify your bag and its luggage labels are correct for your journey.
- Check the baggage allowances and baggage rules before you book, if in doubt ask the Airline or your tour operator.
Finally whatever you are doing, enjoy your hard earned holiday.
At Quality Golf Destinations we tailor make the golf package to meet your needs, if you are interested in a Holiday Golf based or not, Contact Rachel or Rob on 01782 510800 or email
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