Union calls for limit to airline luggage

The union for baggage handlers is calling for a cap on passenger luggage limits to reduce the aviation industry’s carbon footprint and the number of injuries sustained by baggage handlers.

Unite‘s “Lighten Up” campaign is calling for the industry maximum of 32kg of luggage per person to be cut to 23kg. The union also claims the campaign is being backed by the International Air Transport Association.

The campaign comes as airlines have already started taking a stricter policy on luggage allowances, with several low-cost carriers such as easyJet and Ryanair leading a move towards charging for any bags which are checked into the hold.

“Baggage handlers are suffering unacceptably high levels of injuries caused by heavy bags,” Steve Turner, Unite’s national officer, told The Telegraph. “They lift over nine tonnes per shift.”

As part of its campaign the union is calling on MPs to try to lift the heaviest bags which its members are expected to lift.


Meanwhile an industry trade body says that the economic slowdown meant that passengers are less likely to lose their baggage than before.

Aviation technology body SITA says that the recession and fees for checking in bags, has led to a knock-on benefits for passengers. According to its calculations 10 million fewer bags were mislaid by airlines last year than in 2007 thanks to fewer pieces of luggage being loaded onto the wrong flights.