How to avoid the baggage charges rip-off

8th Apr 2010
How to avoid the baggage charges rip-off

The news that Ryanair will increase its hold baggage charges for the peak holiday months of July and August is yet another blow for air travellers, especially families, but can you realistically avoid these charges and how do airlines compare?  Travel comparison site looks at the options and offers some top tips on being a ‘HALO (HAnd Luggage Only) Traveller’.

Bob Atkinson, travel expert from, commented on the Ryanair summer baggage charges increase: “This is cynical exploitation from Ryanair and a real blow for families travelling on a budget.  Far from being the ‘world’s favourite airline’, Ryanair is in danger of alienating its customers.  Whilst there are ways to travel lighter, a family of four going away for a week would struggle not to put at least one or two pieces of luggage in the hold, especially bearing in mind that the weight allowance is lower than other airlines at only 15kgs per bag, so potentially that could add at least £70 to a return flight with the low cost airline. However if a family of four were to forget to check their hold luggage in online, it could them an up to an outrageous £320 for a return trip.

“When booking flights it’s essential that you remember to include the cost of all the ‘extras’ as they can significantly impact the overall cost.  As well as checking the cost of putting luggage in the hold, passengers should ensure they check their airline’s baggage weight allowance to avoid getting caught out by hefty fines.”

So which airlines have the most generous baggage allowances?

Hand luggage allowances:


Top tips from on how to be a HALO traveller:

·      Know your limits – ensure you know the policy for the airline(s) you are travelling with, especially if you are travelling with more than one carrier as it can vary hugely

·    Buy the right bag – once you know your limit, ensure your bag fits within this.  Always choose a soft bag for carry on luggage as it’s easier to cram into overhead bins and should be lighter

·      Only pack what you need – it sound obvious but you need to be ruthless.  The aim is to carry as little as possible and to use items you can easily obtain/find at your destination

·      Find the right packing technique – there are three main schools of though on packing techniques for small bags – roll everything, fold everything into squares or bundle.  Find which one works best for you and your items

·      Wear your heavy clothes – always wear any heavy items you need such as coats, jeans and boots, otherwise stick to the concept of the capsule wardrobe.  Obviously the longer the trip the more creative you need to be here

·      Make sure you have travel-sized toiletries – you still need to obey the 100ml rule and everything needs to fit within one plastic bag for security and don’t forget most hotels will give you soap, shampoo, etc.  And don’t forget items like tweezers and razors can’t go in hand luggage so you will need to purchase on arrival

·    Use your pockets – pile heavier items, e.g. phone charger, camera, books, and toiletries, into your pockets.  Also use pockets for travel documents such as passport, tickets, travel insurance, driving licence and money

·      Consolidate your technology – phones, iPods, laptops, notebooks - these often add weight especially if you have multiple items and multiple chargers.  Be smart, can you download guide books, information, films, games, music, etc, onto one item and just take the one with you?

·      Use everyone’s allowance – if travelling as a family, don’t forget that everyone has the same allowance so you can split heavier items amongst everyone’s luggage



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