The Airline Luggage Conundrum

lowcost-in-spainThese days to ensure you get the lowest fare possible when buying a flight ticket you almost require a PhD just to navigate websites and ensure they don’t trick you into buying their latest “optional service”. But when you arrive at the airport feeling smug at having managed to get your cheap flights, airline staff are specially trained to wipe that smile off your face with the simple instruction to place your hand luggage into the metal frame…

Most hand luggage on sale comes with a label stating that it’s the correct size for the cabin, however airlines seem to have caught onto this and change their authorised hand luggage measurements slightly so that the luggage you bought just 12 months ago is now classified as too large. To avoid being charged for having your luggage stored in the hold, make sure you double check the airline’s luggage size guide and measure your luggage when it’s full (zipped compartments when stuffed to capacity can considerably increase the size of a small trolley).

To cut down on the weight of carry-ons, Samsonite sell a super lightweight small case, but at over 300€ it might be cheaper to pay for a suitcase in the hold. Other tricks include buying a jacket with multiple pockets as long as you don’t mind looking like an overstuffed cuddly toy!

Increasingly people are using courier services to send their cases when travelling within the same country or even in Europe.  With prices for national services at under 20€ each way (we even found a promo with Seur at the time of writing for only 12€ each way) it can be an economical option and a lot more comfortable than waiting at the airport carrousel.

We came across a couple of articles that really caught our eye about the “airline luggage conundrum” – the first highlights an idea by American Airlines to let those without hand luggage board first, hence leading to some people preferring to pay to check in their luggage, but further confusing the rules for everyone else. Indeed, as the article states “Nothing speeds up boarding quicker than having empty planes”. The second article gives examples of people being allowed to check in their oversized hand luggage for free in order to avoid delaying take-off with people trying to stuff their bags into already full overhead compartments.

Conclusion: Expect airlines to carry on messing passengers around, with each company making up the rules as they go along and absolutely no chance for the long-suffering passengers to make any sense of it all!