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When booking your travel arrangements, you should always take into consideration your baggage needs. Depending on the purpose of your trip and the length of your stay, how many bags do you need to carry? Does the carrier that you are booking allow free bags? If not, what is the cost for bags and how does the total cost of airfare and baggage compare among airlines that fly the route? These are some of the questions you need to answer to ensure you are getting the best deal. Remember airlines often change their baggage information, so even if you are a frequent flyer, it’s worth double checking the baggage allowance before you purchase your ticket.
Each airline has limits on the number of baggage and the weight of each baggage allowed for each passenger. The allowance may vary depending on where the passenger is travelling to and the class of service travelled in. Your baggage allowance should be printed on your ticket and passenger receipt. The cost for baggage on most carriers is usually less when purchased online before travel. If you require a larger baggage allowance you can also prepay extra bags on line and save on the airport excess baggage rates.
Baggage allowances normally includes carry-on baggage which are bags you take on the plane with you and checked baggage which are bags that are carried in the airplane’s cargo hold. Airlines also have special provisions and charges for sporting, musical and hunting equipment. Special packaging requirements are needed for some items for safe carriage. This information can normally be found on the carrier’s website.
Most airlines allow each passenger a small carry-on Baggage free of charge. The dimensions and weight vary significantly from airline to airline and should be communicated to you at the time of ticket purchase. Most carriers will have a baggage gauge at the check-in area into which your bag must be able to fit. In addition to your allowance, you may also carry on board one small personal item. Your personal item must be smaller than your carry-on baggage (like a purse/pocket book, briefcase or laptop bag) and should be able to fit under the seat. If your items cannot fit in the overhead bin or under the seat, they may need to be repacked as part of your checked baggage allowance and excess baggage charges may apply.
There are a number of rules and restrictions covering what can be carry-on baggage and what can be carried in it. These include but are not limited to the following:
What may be considered as carry-on baggage:
· Passengers travelling with small children may take a diaper bag or child safety seat as a carry-on or personal item.
· Passengers with special needs may take medical or mobility devices.
· Musical instruments can also be considered as your carry-on item and must fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.
· When traveling with a pet, the kennel or container counts as your carry-on however on some carriers a carry-on pet fee also applies.
What may or may not be carried in your carry-on baggage
· You can transport liquid goods in your hand baggage, if you adhere to the following conditions:
o Containers must be placed in a clear, plastic bag
o Each container in the bag must not exceed 100 ml / 3.4 fl. oz.
o The volume of the bag must not exceed 1 liter / 34.8 fl. oz.
o The dimensions of the bag must not exceed 20 x 20 cm / 7.9 x 7.9 in
· Things that could be considered a weapon (e.g. scissors, pocket knives) are not allowed in your carry-on bags.
Always check local airport and airline rules before you fly, especially if you are transferring to another carrier at any point in your journey. Rules for flights departing from US airports are available from the tsa.gov.
The number of free checked baggage allowed per passenger per flight ranges from none to two for economy passengers and up to 3 for business or first class passengers. The standard maximum exterior dimension (length + width + height) of checked baggage is 62 inches (158 cm), including handles and wheels. The standard maximum weight for checked baggage is usually 50 pounds (23kg). These measurements may differ on some airlines based on the class of service and on the passenger's Frequent Flyer status. Checked bags or any bags that exceed these weights and dimensions will attack additional charges. On most carriers, the cost of each excess baggage increases with the number of bags checked.
Most Airlines have special arrangements for sporting equipment like golf, cricket, skis and surfboards and large musical instruments. In many cases these can be carried as part of your free baggage allowance.
Baggage Allowance when travelling on more than one carrier
If your journey includes flights on more than one carrier, your checked baggage allowance may differ on each carrier depending on how your ticket was issued.
· Providing each flight on your journey has the same carrier code (the two-letter code which appears before your flight number) you will get the checked baggage allowance for that carrier.
Example: Kingston to Miami on AA 123
Miami to London on AA 345
Baggage allowance on AA will apply
· If your journey includes a mixture of two or more airline codes and is written on one ticket you will get the allowance of the most significant carrier – usually the airline operating the longest part of the journey.
Example: Kingston to Miami on AA 123
Miami to London on BA 345
Baggage allowance on BA will apply
· If every flight in your journey has another airline’s code, and separate tickets are purchased for each leg of the journey, you will get the baggage allowance applicable to each carrier that operates each leg.
Example: Kingston to Miami on AA 123 – allowance 2 pieces
Miami to London on BA 345 – allowance 1 piece
Baggage allowance between Kingston and Miami will be 2 pieces however between Miami and London it will be 1 piece.
Be sure before you go, once you have purchased your ticket to confirm that you understand both your carry-on and checked baggage allowances. If your journey involves more than one airline, check to avoid any surprises along the way. All airlines publish their baggage policies on their websites. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the information to ensure a hassle-free trip.