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Excess baggage fees: How to avoid annoying extra charges

Nothing kills your holiday mood like unexpected baggage fees at the airport. Tip the scales in your favour, read our guide to excess baggage fees* from all the major European airlines, plus get tips on avoiding those annoying extra charges for your checked luggage.

Airline Excess baggage charge
Aer Lingus €10 per kilo, €75 per bag on long haul flights
Air France €75-€250 per bag
British Airways £25-£65 per bag depending on route and travel class
Delta €100-200 per bag depending on weight and route of travel
easyJet £10 per kg
Emirates From £26 per kg
Etihad Airways From £14 per kg
Flybe £15 per kg**
Jet2 £12 per kg
KLM €25-€70 per bag depending on route and travel class
Lufthansa

€40-€150 depending on route and travel class

Norwegian £9 per kg, per leg
Qatar Airways $25-$55 per kg online

$30-$70 at airport

Ryanair £11 per kg
Thomas Cook Airlines £10 per kg at the airport

£20 for additional 5kg online

TUI £13-£18 per kg
Turkish Airlines From €5  per kg depending on route
Virgin Atlantic £65 if overweight

£40 if oversized

Vueling Airlines £11 per kg
**Loganair operated flights: €13 per bag if in excess of 20kg

Note:

Oversize or overweight baggage may be classed as cargo and subject to further fees if exceeding airline max weight restrictions. Fees vary according to route and/or destination.

How to avoid excess baggage fees

There are ways to keep baggage costs down (and no, they don’t involve wearing all of your clothes at once to save on packing space. From pooling with a pal to busting out the scales in advance of your flight, here are our top tips for avoiding excess baggage charges.

1. Pay for additional bags online

It’s nearly always much cheaper to simply book extra hold luggage in advance if you think you might tip the scales at the boarding gate. Airlines know that keeping within weight/size limits is not always possible, so they encourage you to plan ahead by selling extra baggage online with up to 50% discounts on what you would pay at the airport. You can usually buy by the kilo, or by piece when you book your flight or add it on to your ticket right up to the day you fly. Budget carriers like Aer Lingus, Norwegian and Jet2 start from around €10, so it’s worth admitting you’re not a light packer upfront, to avoid heavy charges later on. Check out your airline’s baggage limit in advance here, so you know what you’re working with.

2. Weigh your bags first

Beat airline baggage fees by weighing as you pack. If your wheelie is looking decidedly stuffed the night before you travel, you could save yourself a pretty penny by double-checking the weight while you’ve still got time to take out those extra layers or second pair of heels. Balancing a suitcase on bathroom scales can be tricky, but portable luggage scales are fairly cheap and easy to come by – and this way, you can pack your very own weight monitor for the return journey, too. Need help squeezing everything into your luggage? We’ve got more tips on packing right here.

Weighing bags with luggage scale

3. Pool baggage with a partner

If the worst happens and your overweight or oversize baggage doesn’t make it past the check-in desk, collaborate with your partner/best friend/mum to spread the weight across your checked luggage. If you ask the airline staff to weigh your bags together, you might not even have to swap any of your stuff, but if they’re being picky, just pop to the nearest bathroom to even out your loads. Planning ahead? Airlines like Flybe let you buy hefty amounts of baggage by overall weight, rather than by piece, so for example, one passenger could buy 40kg worth of baggage but spread it across two separate bags. It doesn’t matter if one is heavier or belongs to another passenger, so long as they don’t exceed the overall weight limit in total.

4. Get smart, lightweight luggage

Ever thought it might be your travel bags adding all the weight, not you? Older suitcases can have heavy frames which add precious kg to your hold baggage, so check out what lightweight options are out there, or switch from a hard shell to a backpack. We’ll get you started, with these top travel-smart suitcases for 2017.

Suitcase packed for holiday

Bringing bulky or special items on board? We’ve got all you need to know…

Flying with your bike: airline rules and restrictions

Thinking of taking your bike on holiday? Confused by airline baggage fees? Here’s the deal on flying your bike with the UK’s 10 most popular airlines, including hidden costs and rules on how to pack a bike for a flight.

How to travel with your pet on a flight

Here’s the lowdown on flying with your beloved pet, from taking your dog on a plane, to airline carrier fees for animals.

Baggage allowance guides for major European airlines

No matter which airline you’re flying with, here are complete guides to baggage rules and restrictions for the UK’s biggest airlines, including easyJet, Ryanair, British Airways and Jet2.

*Published June 2017. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.

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