Fight or Flight: Our Record With Baggage Weight Checks
My previous, travel-themed post looked at our tips and strategies for keeping our carry on baggage to airline limits. We weren’t necessarily over by that much, we just didn’t want to get any extra, surprise charges. Here’s a recap of some of the experiences we’ve had checking in with carry on baggage, on various airlines, at various airports.
Most of Europe is pretty easy. With airlines offering (usually) 10kg (EasyJet doesn’t even weigh at all) I’ve had almost no issues. Note that Ryanair’s rules have changed so they *may* ask you to put your bag in the hold (at no cost), but even this has never actually happened to me. Using a soft backpack rather than a hard shell carry on is the main reason for this.
- (most of) Europe short haul – I’ve always checked in online and have never been asked to weigh at the gate. On Ryanair I have seen some people pulled out of line but they (very clearly) have luggage that exceeds standard dimensions or bags that look (very clearly) over 10kg.
- The only exceptions to Europe are 1) Thomas Cook airlines, who offer a 6kg carry on limit. With such a low amount they were checking (almost) every bag at the gate.
- 2) WOW Airlines – who offer 10kg but at reduced dimensions, including for transatlantic routes
- 3) Wizz Air – who also offer 10kg but again at reduced dimensions. I ended up paying for priority to get my bigger bag(s) through.
- 4) Ryanair – as per the above, and anyway, their policy changes all the time.
- Primera (Paris – Toronto) – the bag was weighed.
- Porter (Toronto – Montreal) – was a standby fare, our friends knew the staff. So no checks.
- Level Airlines (Montreal – Paris) – free check in luggage was offered. Amazing, but we didn’t even need it.
- Scoot (Athens – Singapore) – they were very casual about it (not what I expected) and didn’t even bother to weigh any of our bags. We had the seperate check in strategy (where my friend and I took turns checking in) employed anyway.
- AirAsia (Taipei – KL – Gold Coast – Auckland) – the last flight and we paid for 20kg. They didn’t weigh our carry on. One thing – the guy next to us packed 27kg (paid for 20kg) so they were gonna to charge a hefty 1000 TWD for each kg he was over. The lady was very polite/ gracious around this, but he still ended up having to pay a bit. Lesson – don’t be over!
As a general note, all airlines seem to have an unspoken tolerance of around 10-20%. It might depend on the person and their mood on the day of course. SE Asia was a bit of a shock as now the airlines were only offering a paltry 7kg. This meant we had to be a bit more selective on which airlines to fly (if price was comparable), factoring in the check in luggage cost, as well as biting the bullet and paying up a few times.
- Jetstar Asia – (Singapore-Phuket) – vague memories but I think we only had one of the carry on bags weighed.
- Thai Smile (Phuket – Chiang Mai) – free check in luggage as standard. My favourite budget airline in SE Asia for this and lots more reasons.
- VietJet (Chiang Mai – Ho Chi Minh; Ho Chi Minh – Seoul) – one of the first ‘7kg’ barriers we came up against. We ended up buying 15kg check in and sharing that. So much for the record! With that paid for, they didn’t seem too bothered with the actual weight of our leftover carry on.
- Jeju Air (Seoul – Jeju) – 10kg and as a domestic flight that didn’t seem too concerned. Paying for a bag was super cheap so weren’t fussed if didn’t win here.
- Busan Air (Jeju – Busan; Busan – Taipei) – One flight, a lady straight up asked how much the bag weighed and my friend quickly responded so he didn’t have to get checked. The second time: the check-in desk had a supervisor that insisted that my friend’s secondary bag (which she saw) would be weighed and this was then over the limit. He then put a bit of stuff in my bag (which had already been weighed and was already at limit). Weirdly the supervisor walked away and then the staff member said the bag was now fine after weighing it (pay no attention to mine). Works for us!
So excuse the unnecessary level of detail in this post, but I thought (at least) it was interesting enough to recap all our flights and if we did have any close calls with our cabin baggage only strategy. Each time an equal mix of adrenaline and anxiety flowed as we realised if we would make it or not. And we did every time. So yay, good result.