Excess baggage fees.
Nobody wants to pay them.
But when you're at an International airport flying home to the United States and you've just been informed that your connecting flight carrier will not allow the current weight of your baggage – what do you do?
Reluctantly pay the excess baggage fee.
Instead of paying a flat $100 fee for excess baggage as you would in some parts of the U.S., you've just been informed that the excess weight is charged per kilogram.
The total cost of your excess baggage? 470 Euros.
If only you had taken the time to check the airline regulations and baggage policies for the different airline companies before packing the bags!
Flying should be a BREEZE. An enjoyable experience.
But a whole lot of uncertainty accompanies packing your luggage, checking it and carrying it through airport terminals.
How do you know when your bag is compliant with airport regulations? You can find out your luggage size and weight with three simple steps:
- Know the measurement of your bag.
- Know the weight of your bag.
- Check your airline’s baggage regulations.
Using these three simple steps before leaving for the airport will save you money on extra baggage fees and save time at the security gate.
Below, you will find a simplified guide to airline baggage and airport security regulations prescribed by the Transportation Security Administration or TSA.
Airport Baggage Tip #1 – Size & Limits Of Carry-On Bags
You are allowed to carry one bag and a personal item on board the aircraft. Personal items include laptop bags, small-sized musical instruments, a shopping bag or a diaper bag.
Carry-ons are a convenient alternative to checked luggage bags. However, there are restrictions on the size and weight of these bags.
Carry-on size limits differ according to the airline company. The maximum size of the airline carry-on baggage is 45 linear inches (length + width + height) or 113 centimeters.
Airlines have the right to insist that you check-in a bag that weighs more than their allowed limit.
It is best to check the specifications stipulated by the airline you have selected prior to packing your bags.
Use a checklist to avoid over-stuffing your carry-on bag for a short business trip.
Airport Baggage Tip #2 – Checked-In Baggage Allowance
Under FAA regulations, anything that is larger than your airline’s carry-on bag restrictions must be checked.
Your airline ticket will specify the baggage allowance for your checked-in baggage. Each piece of checked luggage must meet your airline’s checked luggage policies. Additional bags may incur an extra fee.
You are allowed to travel with two bags without extra charges. Additional bags are charged according to the weight of the suitcase and the airline carrier fee.
Make your checked bags easy to inspect. The TSA has to be able to inspect a checked bag, so keep it unlocked.
You can secure your bags with a TSA-approved lock. The officers have tools for opening and re-locking baggage with accepted locks.
Not sure which bag to use for your journey? Click here for a guide that explains the different baggage options for your travel.
Airline Baggage Tip #3 – Avoid Packing Prohibited Items
The TSA has a long list of items that are prohibited from being carried on board an aircraft. These items will be confiscated if they show up in a passenger’s carry-on bag or checked-in suitcase.
The obvious items include all weapons, including guns, swords, and knives. Some items that can be used as weapons, such as hockey sticks, baseball bats, hammers, and saws are also prohibited. Materials that are flammable and explosive, such as torch lighters and matches are not allowed on an airplane.
Packing Your Checked Bags:
- Be mindful of any sharp objects in your checked suitcase. Wrap them carefully and ensure they are not going to tear any of your packed items.
- Lithium batteries which are commonly used in digital cameras should be installed in the electronic device to prevent unintentional short-circuiting and fires.
Packing Your Carry-On Bag:
- If you are carrying any types of martial arts weapons or tools — ax, crowbar, hammer, drill pliers, saw, etc — you'll have to pack them in your checked bags.
- You are permitted to bring corkscrews, cigar cutters, common lighters, nail cutters, safety razors and travel-sized or blunt scissors in your carry-on baggage.
Refer to the complete list of prohibited items on the TSA's official website.
Airline Baggage Tip #4 – The 3-1-1 Liquids Rule
Passengers are allowed to travel with containers containing up to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) of liquids, such as shampoo, toothpaste, and perfume. This is also known as the 3-1-1 liquids rule.
This is the easy formula for airline carry-on baggage established by TSA that mandates that you can only carry liquids, aerosols, and gels in three-ounce containers, which should be safely kept inside a one-quart, plastic zip-top bag.
This includes common items such as toothpaste, shampoo, and food. Be aware that airline carry-on baggage restrictions apply to gifts or special items purchased at duty-free stores inside the airport.
Place your liquid in clear zip-lock bags and store them on top of your bags for easy screening by the TSA. Alternatively, pack your Dopp kit light using these 5 tips.
Airline Baggage Tip #5 – Packing Electronics
Large electronics, such as laptops, game systems, and video recorders must be removed from your carry-on bag and placed in a separate bin to be screened individually at the security checkpoint.
Pack them in the outer compartment of your carry-on bag for ease of access at security points.
Smaller electronics, such as digital readers and digital cameras, may remain in your carry-on and be screened in the same bin as the rest of your items.
Bonus – Tips On Packing Smart
Spend less time at airport security by paying attention to the following tips:
- Use packing cubes. By organizing your items into packing cubes, you can easily separate your clothing, accessories, and toiletries into their appropriate places. Packing cubes can also be a way to quickly reduce the weight of your luggage. If you find you have gone over weight limits at baggage check in, simply remove one (or more) packing cubes from your luggage and add them to your carry-on.
- Pack light. When possible, keep from overstuffing your checked suitcase to avoid additional airline baggage fees. Save yourself from extra hassles at the security counter by checking the weight of your bags before you leave home.
- Don't overstuff your bags. Avoid overpacking your bags. It is the biggest mistake people make when traveling. Your personal items may spill out for everyone to see when the airport security officer unzips it. For both your checked and carry-on baggage, try to organize its contents so that the items are visible at a brief glance.
Take the stress out of unexpected surprises when you travel by planning and packing ahead of your trip.
Keep these tips in mind and enjoy the experience of the journey.
Want more? Click here for ‘A Man’s Guide To Traveling With Style & Being Prepared Upon Arrival'