Baggage fees hit parents

A new baggage policy from British Airways that allows
passengers only one checked piece of luggage, has put the spotlight on
excess baggage charges that could make holidays for parents with young
children cost prohibitive.British Airways’ new baggage policies coming into effect this week
will mean passengers have to pay £240 extra for a return long-haul flight,
£120 extra for a short haul flight and £60 extra for a return domestic
flight if they use two bags instead of just the one that is allowed. They
will also be reducing the baggage weight allowance from 32kgs to 23kgs,
effective from September 2007. Although BA is still more generous with its
baggage allowance than the no-frills airlines - and does allow infants to
take their own bag - these charges will add significantly to the cost of a
holiday, particularly for parents of young children who inevitably have to
take extra luggage.

Tots to France (, a company specialising in
genuinely child friendly travel, estimates that the average family with
children under the age of three will need to take approximately 83lbs or
almost 38kgs of child-related kit* on holiday with them, and that excludes
clothing. This exceeds even the most generous airlines’ baggage allowance.

“Excess baggage charges can turn a seemingly affordable holiday into an
expensive mistake for families with young children,” says Wendy Shand,
founder of Tots to France. “When you holiday with children under the age of
three, unless you stay at a place that has been designed with kids in mind,
you literally have to take everything bar the kitchen sink with you. Nappy
changing kit, potties, feeding paraphenalia, toys, buggies, car seats,
cots, bedding - you name it. How are families supposed to fit all of that
into a single bag and within the weight restrictions to avoid incurring
these high excess charges?”

The obvious answer is to holiday somewhere that provides everything needed
for children so you don’t have to take it with you. But not many places
provide everything a young child needs.

“Many holiday companies claim to be child friendly by providing a high
chair or cot for a baby. But it’s the many other items that children need
that start to weigh bags down,” says Shand.  “The Tots to France properties
provide the necessities that parents take for granted at home - like
sterilisers, blenders, booster seats, cots, plastic crockery and cutlery,
baby baths, bath mats and potties. Also included are bigger items that
parents can’t take on holiday with them but would love to have when they
get there, like washing machines, microwaves and stairgates. We even
provide baby packs on request that include the right size nappies, nappy
sacks, wet wipes, jars of baby food and full fat milk.”


If the place you’re going to isn?t as well equipped, Tots to France has
these suggestions:

-      Go somewhere warm - you’ll need fewer clothes and the clothes you
have will dry quickly and can be reworn.

-      Investigate companies that will deliver baby goods to your holiday
destination. or

-      Consider using a ferry or the Euro-tunnel and your car to get to
your destination instead.

-      Book a property with toys and books provided or buy cheap,
disposable toys once you’re there.

-      Start training your child in advance to sit on a toilet without a
potty insert or need for a potty.

?      Research whether the place you staying has washing facilities or
laundry service.

-      Get in touch with the company that makes your child’s usual formula
or jarred baby food and ask if they have an equivalent product in the
country you?re going and where it’s likely to be stocked.

-      If your child is currently on weaning foods, opt for a self
catering place and stow a small handheld blender in your luggage to puree

-    Use a car hire company that provides car seats to avoid taking one
with you. In France, you could try

To help parents avoid costly baggage mistakes, the company has created a
useful comparative table listing the different baggage policies for several