If you haven’t jetted off to your timeshare resort yet, or are planning a winter sun escape later, here are five ways to avoid getting hit by excess baggage charges which can cost almost as much as the “cheap” flight itself.
1. Baggage fees are a good source of income for the airlines and the fees have become something of a recent phenomenon – airlines have clamped down on overweight baggage big time in the last few years. Not all airlines operate in the same way so read the baggage fee Ts & Cs before you book – it might be cheaper to fly with another airline if you plan to take a heavier bag.
2. Do you really need so much stuff? Pack multi-tasking clothes that are easy to wash and wear, keep toiletries to a minimum – you can always buy some items abroad or pick them up at the airport chemist, and if you’re planning to stay for a while, such as a month in winter, it may even be cheaper to ship items out in advance – check with UPS or Fedex to find out rates.
3. Handluggage: Ryanair for example are absolute sticklers about handluggage and if your bag is too big, too heavy – even if it’s a few grams over the 10kg limit it could get whisked into the hold at a cost of £40/€40 (up from £35 earlier this year) just as you’re about to board. Save yourself the hassle by checking the Ts and Cs at: http://www.ryanair.com/en/terms-and-conditions#regulations-cabinbaggage . Ryanair say it’s strictly one item of cabin baggage per passenger (excluding infants) weighing up to 10kg with maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm is permitted. Your handbag, briefcase, laptop, shop purchases, duty free or camera must be carried in your one permitted piece of cabin baggage. EasyJet are famously more easy-going about handluggage restrictions but have changed the rules recently so again, make sure you don’t get clobbered by last minute charges by checking their website first www.easyjet.com
4. Buy a hand-held luggage scale (sold on eBay and Amazon) which you can pick up for under a fiver online and weigh your luggage before you leave (and repack accordingly if necessary).
5. Wear a jacket with a lot of pockets, that way you can stash stuff if your luggage is slightly overweight. Vincent Graff “outwitted” Ryanair last summer when we wore a 17-pocket gilet packed with a laptop, camera, first aid kit, T-shirts and more as he boarded a Ryanair flight in France (much to the amusement of some crew members and all of his fellow passengers). Read the article here