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Keep your luggage fees to a minimum

A weekend jaunt on the Med, a quick fling in Paris on the Eurostar, a hit of retail therapy over in New York before Christmas: All are wonderful indulgences that we have occasion to enjoy when flight deals are on offer and we need a break from Britain. But the grey area of carry-on luggage can blow the budget.

Woman at the airport

Go an inch over in size or a kilo over in weight and airlines can charge astronomical fees. So to keep life simple, we’ve got the lowdown on some of the most popular airlines so you can hop on board, breeze out the airport at the other end, and avoid any extra surcharges.


20 kg per bag is the maximum for checked luggage, and you need to pay per bag. You can take more than one bag (again, if you pay for it) but the combined weight still can’t be more than 20 kg, unless you purchase extra weight. Nothing over 32 kg can be accepted, and only one piece of hand luggage is allowed per passenger. Easyjet is really strict about this and if an extra piece of hand luggage has to be checked in at the airport, you will be charged an extra £25. If it is taken from you at the boarding gate it’ll cost you a whopping £40. The size limit for hand luggage is 56 x 45 x 25 cm. Extra weight for sporting goods such as skis can be purchased but, again, can’t exceed the 32 kg maximum. Baby equipment, such as strollers, do not count as an item of luggage and can be taken all the way to the door of the plane free of charge. They are then stowed and given to you on arrival. Any purchases for luggage costs are always cheaper when done online prior to flying rather than on the day at the airport.


Fliers can purchase either 15 kg or 20 kg spread across two bags and additional bags can be added up to four hours before flying online. Certain routes and certain times of the year can make such an addition more expensive and, again, fees increase if you pay for luggage to be checked in when you’re at the airport. It’s worth not going over your weight limit because Ryanair charges you £20 or 20 Euros per kilo over. Hand baggage has to be under 10 kg and sized 55 x 40 x 20 with a staggering £50 or 50 Euros charged if they take your hand luggage at the door of the plane for being too big or too heavy. They even consider Duty Free purchases as one carry-on bag, so bear that in mind if shopping at the airport!

British Airways

Our official airline is kinder on the wallet, meaning that if their fares are a tiny bit higher, they can end up being cheaper once checked luggage fees are applied by other airlines. They let you check in luggage for free that is under 23 kilos in weight (or 32 kg if you’re lucky enough to be travelling in Business or First Class). With hand luggage they also allow one piece of hand luggage and one laptop, a handbag or briefcase, so you won’t find yourself trying to force your Macbook Air into your favourite Prada.

Of course, it isn’t worth overpacking because you want to leave room for shopping and if you are only taking carry on luggage, keep your liquids under 100 ml or you’ll be forced to bin your favourite conditioner or pay the hefty charge for checking it at the aiport!

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