Baggage allowance

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Luggage is weighed as passengers check in at the airport 100 2902.JPG
Luggage is weighed as passengers check in at the airport

On the commercial transportation, mostly with airlines, the baggage allowance is the amount of checked baggage or hand/carry-on luggage the company will allow per passenger. There may be limits on the amount that is allowed free of charge, and hard limits on the amount that is allowed.


The limits vary per airline and depend on the class, elite status, type of ticket, flight origin and destination. If a flight is booked together with another flight it may also have different limits (e.g. if another flight on the same ticket is a long-haul flight). The exact baggage conditions are mentioned in the ticket information online.

Types of baggage

On aircraft, there are two types of baggage, which are treated differently: checked baggage and hand/carry-on luggage. For both types, transportation companies have rules on the weight and size.

For checked baggage, stored in the aircraft hold, usually the weight is the limiting factor. All checked items are generally weighed by the airline during check-in, and if they exceed the limit, the passenger is informed by the airline. To avoid any fees, the passenger often must switch some of the items found in the suitcase to another suitcase, or else carry it on.

Carry-on luggage is judged primarily by size. Bags are measured by dimension or in total linear measurement (length + width + height). However, there may also be other restrictions on the types of belongings that can be carried on the plane.


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released recommendations for limits on checked baggage and carry-on luggage. Some companies adhere to these recommendations, some adhere partially and some don't adhere at all to them.

The recommendations for checked baggage are: advised maximum weight 23 kg (50.71 lbs), weight limit 32 kg (70.55 lbs), advised maximum size 158 cm (62.2 in) length + width + height, limit 203 cm (nearly 80 in). The limit of 23 kg is present because of similar limits in health and safety regulations.

Because of the wide variation in hand/carry-on luggage limits, in 2015 IATA released a size recommendation for suitcases meant as hand/carry-on luggage. These state that suitcases should have a maximum size of 55 cm (21.65 in) long, 35 cm (13.78 in) wide and 20 cm (7.87 in) deep. If they meet these requirements, the bag may carry the logo "IATA cabin OK". [1] This limit is tighter than most current airline limits, so bags with this logo are practically allowed everywhere.

Standard concepts

Two concepts for baggage weight limits are in use.

Piece Concept

The Piece Concept used to be applicable only for passengers travelling to or from the Americas. From the 1st August 2019, however, Vietnam Airlines (IATA Area 3) [2] adopted the Piece Concept. Under the Piece Concept, passengers are permitted to check in a certain number of suitcases with a per-bag weight of up to 23 kilograms for Economy Class, and up to 32 kilograms for Business or First Class. The allowed weight per suitcase and the number of suitcases varies per airline and depends on the class, elite status, type of ticket, flight origin and destination.

Weight Concept

Under the Weight Concept, each passenger is permitted to check in a total weight regardless of the number of suitcases. Often passengers traveling together can also combine their allowed weights. The total weight varies per airline and depends on the class, elite status, type of ticket, flight origin and destination.

Baggage pooling

During the departure in an airport, assembling all the associated baggage of passengers who are to be checked in together and checking those baggages in the name of one passenger is known as a pooling of the baggage. [3] [4]


Baggage fees in the United States have been the norm for many airlines and the trend is predicted to continue with many trans-Atlantic flights starting to collect fees for the lowest cost tickets. IdeaWorks, a travel consulting firm, predicted fees will become the norm by the end of 2019 and globally thereafter. [5]

The 23 largest airlines in the United States reported earning $4.6 billion in baggage fees in 2017. [6]

Related Research Articles

Checked baggage

Checked baggage is luggage delivered to an airline or train for transportation in the hold of an aircraft or baggage car of a passenger train. Checked baggage is inaccessible to the passenger during the flight or ride, as opposed to carry-on baggage.

Low-cost carrier Airline with generally lower fares

A low-cost carrier or low-cost airline is an airline that is operated with an especially high emphasis on minimizing operating costs and without some of the traditional services and amenities provided in the fare, resulting in lower fares and fewer comforts. To make up for revenue lost in decreased ticket prices, the airline may charge extra fees – such as for carry-on baggage. As of April 2020, the world's largest low-cost carrier is Southwest Airlines, which operates primarily in the United States, as well as in some surrounding areas.

Lost luggage

Lost luggage is luggage conveyed by a public carrier such as an airline, seafaring cruise ship, shipping company, or railway which fails to arrive at the correct destination with the passenger. In the United States, an average of 1 in 150 people have their checked baggage misdirected or left behind each year.

Baggage reclaim

In airport terminals, a baggage reclaim area is an area where arriving passengers claim checked-in baggage after disembarking from an airline flight. The alternative term baggage claim is used at airports in the US and some other airports internationally. Similar systems are also used at train stations served by companies that offer checked bags, such as Amtrak in the United States.


Baggage or luggage consists of bags, cases, and containers which hold a traveller's personal articles while the traveler is in transit. A modern traveller can be expected to have packages containing clothing, toiletries, small possessions, trip necessities. On the return trip, travelers may have souvenirs and gifts. For some people, luggage and the style thereof is representative of the owner's wealth and status. Luggage is constructed to protect the items during travel, either with a hard shell or a durable soft material. Luggage often has internal subdivisions or sections to aid in securing items. Handles are typically provided to facilitate carrying, and some luggage may have wheels and/or telescoping handles or leashes to make moving them easier.

Electronic ticket

An electronic ticket is a method of ticket entry, processing, and marketing for companies in the airline, railways and other transport and entertainment industries.

Baggage handler

In the airline industry, a baggage handler is a person who loads and unloads baggage, and other cargo for transport via aircraft. With most airlines, the formal job title is "fleet service agent/clerk", though the position is commonly known amongst airline employees as a "ramp agent", due to the job's location on the airport ramp (tarmac).

Hand luggage

The term hand luggage or cabin baggage refers to the type of luggage that passengers are allowed to carry along in the passenger compartment of a vehicle instead of a separate cargo compartment. Passengers are allowed to carry a limited number of smaller bags with them in the vehicle, which typically contain valuables and items needed during the journey. There is normally storage space provided for hand luggage, either under seating, or in overhead lockers. Trains usually have luggage racks above the seats and may also have luggage space between the backs of seats facing opposite directions, or in extra luggage racks, for example, at the ends of the carriage near the doors.

Bag tag Ticket attached to luggage for identification

Bag tags, also known as baggage tags, baggage checks or luggage tickets, have traditionally been used by bus, train, and airline carriers to route checked luggage to its final destination. The passenger stub is typically handed to the passenger or attached to the ticket envelope:

  1. to aid the passenger in identifying their bag among similar bags at the destination baggage carousel;
  2. as proof—still requested at a few airports—that the passenger is not removing someone else's bag from the baggage reclaim hall; and
  3. as a means for the passenger and carrier to identify and trace a specific bag that has gone astray and was not delivered at the destination. The carriers' liability is restricted to published tariffs and international agreements.
Skybus Airlines Defunct airline

Skybus Airlines Inc. was a privately held airline based in Columbus, Ohio, United States. It operated as an ultra low-cost carrier modeled after the European airline Ryanair, and aimed to be the least expensive airline in the United States. The business model was heavily reliant on flying routes where other airlines did not have direct flights, as Ryanair did in Europe, thus keeping competition to a minimum, and on flying into secondary airports, rather than heavily trafficked ones.

Airline booking ploys are used by travelers in commercial aviation to lower the price of flying by circumventing airlines' rules about how tickets may be used. They are generally a breach of the contract of carriage between the passenger and the airline, which airlines may try to enforce in various ways.

Boarding is the entry of passengers onto a vehicle, usually in public transportation. Boarding starts with entering the vehicle and ends with the seating of each passenger and closing the doors. The term is used in road, rail, water and air transport.

Airport check-in

Airport check-in is the process whereby passengers are accepted by an airline at the airport prior to travel. The airlines typically use service counters found at airports. The check-in is normally handled by an airline itself or a handling agent working on behalf of an airline. Passengers usually hand over any baggage that they do not wish or are not allowed to carry in to the aircraft's cabin and receive a boarding pass before they can proceed to board their aircraft.

Airline ticket Entrance ticket used for air travel

An airline ticket is a document or electronic record, issued by an airline or a travel agency, that confirms that an individual is entitled to a seat on a flight on an aircraft. The airline ticket may be one of two types: a paper ticket, which comprises coupons or vouchers; and an electronic ticket.

Airline reservation systems (ARS) are systems that allow an airline to sell their inventory (seats). It contains information on schedules and fares and contains a database of reservations and of tickets issued. ARSs are part of passenger service systems (PSS), which are applications supporting the direct contact with the passenger.

Air travel with firearms and ammunition

Air travel with firearms and ammunition involves a number of laws, regulations and practices that travelers with firearms or ammunition must comply with and should be familiar with before travel. The main rules are set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), but there are a number of local variations between airlines and local laws that sometimes are conflicting.

Gate checking refers to the practice that allows passengers to check in their bags directly at the gate. Gate checking is mostly used on small planes when there isn’t enough space to take on board the cabin bags of all passengers.

Gate check bags are travel bags specially designed for the transportation and storage of car seats and strollers or pushchairs. Generally used for airline travel, they also provide protection from dust when in storage for the occasional user. When used for airline travel the strollers and car seats are placed in gate check bags at the departure gate before boarding. The bags protect strollers and car seats from dirt whilst in the loading or cargo bay as well as from elements such as rain or snow if left on the tarmac.

Basic economy class Type of airfare offered by airlines

Basic economy class is a travel class offered by a number of airlines. The class has superseded economy class as the cheapest airfare option for passengers and generally comes with more restrictions when compared to standard economy fares. Restrictions vary between different airlines, but they generally include not allowing passengers to change or cancel tickets or select seats for free. They are seen as a strategy for market segmentation.

Baggage sizer device to measure hand baggage

A baggage sizer, also known as a bag sizer, is a piece of furniture that is used primarily at airport check-in desks and boarding gates to assist and inform passengers and airport ground staff of baggage size limits for personal and cabin luggage or bags.


  1. "Airlines to Address Carry-On Bag Dilemma".
  2. "Baggage Information". Vietnam Airlines.
  3. "Baggage FAQs". airBaltic . Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  4. "Baggage Information". BuddhaAir. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  5. Bachman, Justin (2018-01-18). "Airline Baggage Fees Go International". Bloomberg News . Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  6. Martin, Hugo (2018-05-07). "U.S. airlines pocketed $15.5 billion last year, including a record $4.6 billion in bag fees". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2018-05-09.