Checking in a bag
The price of an airline ticket may include not only transportation for the passenger, but also personal baggage. The fare paid dictates the kind of seat and service and also the baggage allowance. When this is part of the ticket, it is called the "Free Baggage Allowance". This allowance comprises the checked baggage and also the cabin baggage. Each airline determines their own baggage allowances and charges, whilst IATA determines how charges are applied for interline journeys.
Below general guidelines can help you plan your travel. However, please make sure to check with your airline first as baggage allowance will differ depending on airline, route, class fare, etc.
In general, checked baggage is defined in one of these ways:
- The "weight concept" defines the amount of baggage entitled by the passenger's ticket in kilos. For example, an economy class passenger may be entitled to 20 kilos of baggage and a business class passenger to 30 kilos.
- The "piece concept" defines the number of bags entitled by the passenger's ticket. Generally, two pieces of checked baggage are allowed per passenger, each piece weighing no more than 23 kilos (50 lb) and measuring no more than 158 cm (62 in) adding the dimensions: height + width + length.
The "piece concept" is generally in use on flights within, to and from Canada and the United States.
Carry-on baggage must be stowed in the aircraft cabin which limits baggage to a size, weight and shape to fit under a passenger seat or in a storage compartment.
Cabin baggage should have maximum length of 22 in (56 cm), width of 18 in (45 cm) and depth of 10 in (25 cm). These dimensions include wheels, handles, side pockets, etc.
Carry-on items must remain with the passenger at all times and are the responsibility of the passenger.
How much does your suitcase weigh?
In order to avoid trouble at the airport terminal, make sure that your suitcase doesn't weigh more than 23 kilos (50lbs), or you will be asked to either repack and transfer some of your belongings into another bag or to pay an excess. Bags over 32 kilos (70lbs) cannot be accepted for carriage as they are too heavy for the baggage handlers to lift.
Please note that the maximum weight limit relates only to single items and does not affect the baggage allowance or excess baggage charges, which is set by individual airlines.
Dangerous goods and baggage
Some governments have directed that for safety reasons, all knives, sharp objects or cutting implements of any kind and of any length, whether of metal or other material, and some sporting goods must be packed in checked baggage. They cannot be carried in the cabin baggage nor on your person.
These items include (but are not limited to) knives (including household cutlery) and knife-like objects, box cutters, corkscrews, straight razors, metal nail files, scissors of any kind and of any length, dangerous goods (hazardous materials (unless approved)), tradesmen's tools, hypodermic needles (unless required for medical reasons), knitting needles, other sharp pointed/penetrating objects and sporting goods such as bats, bows and arrows, cues, darts, golf clubs and sling shots (catapults), martial arts devices, real/toy/replica weapons (whether plastic or metal). These articles are likely to be removed and not returned.
If you require the use of medical syringes in fligh, such as for insulin, you need documented proof of the medical need and ensure that the material is professionally packed and labelled. If it is not, the medication is likely to be removed.
Some items cannot be carried in checked baggage – for instance gas canisters, lighters, fireworks. If you are concerned that something that you wish to pack may not be allowed then check with your airline. Items that are considered to be too dangerous for checked baggage will be removed and probably not returned to you.
Check with your travel agent or directly with the airline concerned.