As a traveler visiting multiple destinations around the world, you should be aware of the rules and regulations with regard to your checked luggage. Airlines and countries often change the rules as to what you can bring in your luggage. The most recent ban on Samsung gadgets in your hold luggage for example, was because of their propensity to explode.
Both the airline and the country’s transportation security administration can place restrictions on your checked luggage due to safety, environmental and logistical reasons. What you can bring in your luggage and the size restrictions may therefore vary per country, airline and destination. For intercontinental flights, passengers are allowed more weight than on domestic flights for example.
Due to tight regulations, it is recommendable to make sure you know all luggage rules of the airline and the destination(s) your visiting before you start packing your hold luggage. Knowing what you can bring and which restrictions are applicable can save you a lot of time, money and frustration.
Basic Guideline For Your Luggage
Having purchased your ticket, there are some simple guidelines that you should follow with regard to your checked luggage. These guidelines apply to most, if not all, airlines across the world. These steps will help you to avoid unnecessary delays and costs at the airport. Especially at airports where you encounter a language barrier it can be time consuming to find out what you are allowed to bring.
Save yourself unnecessary frustration and take the following points into consideration before starting to pack:
- Weight – Make sure you know the specific weight and cost of the luggage you are checking in. Knowing this beforehand helps you avoid inexpected costs.
- Excess Luggage– Take note that it is always expensive to pay for luggage while you’re at the airport. It is recommended to book your check in luggage beforehand if there’s a chance that you’ll be travelling with a suitcase.
- Contact information – Luggage tags are very helpful. Make sure you write down your contact information too. This will come in handy if your luggage gets lost or misplaced. This is especially the case if you have multiple (connecting) flights to your destination.
- Ease of identification – Make sure that your bag or suitcase is easily identifiable on the baggage carousel. Nothing is more confusing than having to check every black suitcase on the belt to see if it’s yours. A ribbon or suitcase belt with an outstanding color can do the job and make your suitcase, bag or backpack easy to recognize between the other pieces.
- Report your luggage – If, for whatever reason, you do not end up with your luggage, you should report it immediately at the Transportation Security Administration on the airport. The sooner you do this, the easier it will be for the TSA to track down your suitcase or bag.
Dealing With Electronics
The security rules imposed on air travelers have become stricter over the last years. For electronic devices this means that you cannot bring any items larger than a mobile phone (e.g. tablet, laptop and so on) in your carry on. All other items need to be checked in. What you can bring ill depend on the destination and the airline you’re traveling with. If you want to bring an electronic device, make sure to check the applicable rules before putting it in your hold luggage..
Another point of consideration with regard to electronic devices is how to protect them during the journey. Suitcases and other hold luggage is getting a rough treatment during the baggage handling. To avoid damage to your electronic devices you need to pack them like the delicate items they are: use bubble wrap and a hardcover box before putting them in your suitcase. If you don’t have bubble wrap, a thick layer of clothing does the job as well.
For laptops, you will definitely have to worry about the screen. Most of the time luggage handlers throw your suitcases around. Make sure your suitcase is lockable and durable. Protect your laptop with high impact foam. Assume your luggage will be at a height of approximately 36000 feet, so ensure it can withstand the pressure.
Checking In Your Baggage
Before starting your journey, you will need information about the checked in baggage size, number of items allowed and weight of bags and suitcases. Every airline allows different weights and dimensions. You might exceed the set bag limit. So, find out the procedure for getting all the bags checked in when you are traveling. It’s especially important to know this beforehand if you’re travelling with special luggage (sport equipment, art etc.).
This information is useful to all people who travel via connecting flights or take different airlines. In most cases, the baggage allowance information is indicated on the ticket. Go through this keenly so that you can reduce the amount of time you waste through airport security.
Many airlines also offer discount on the fee for checked luggage. This is the case for medical equipment, kids/infants items (e.g. buggy) and sports equipment. You can check the rules of the airline you’re traveling with for more details and information.
Checked In Weight
Unless otherwise specified, most airlines will allow you 23 kilograms for your luggage. If you have more, you will pay extra. You may add up to around 32 kilograms if there is extra space available on your airplane. The security personnel at the airport might reject your luggage if there is no room. Baggage can also be rejected because it exceeds the maximum weight or size. You might end up repacking or leaving some items at the security desk.
While you will need most of your gadgets, they pose a security risk to airlines. They have a different kind of technology such as motors, GPS location trackers, and lithium batteries. It also includes other communication such as GPRS.
Most airlines allow you to carry these devices, only if their batteries have a rating of less than 100Wh. You must remove these batteries before checking in the flight.
How To Avoid Paying More For Checked Luggage
There are costs that you’re not able to avoid when planning for your holiday or business trip. Whether you are on a domestic flight or international flight, you must plan for baggage allowance. Things like the cost of paying for a taxi from and to the airport are unavoidable. However, you can avoid paying so much for checked luggage at any airline. The following simple tips have helped a lot of travelers in the past:
Rules And Regulations
Each airline has its unique rules with regard to hold luggage. There are items that can be prohibited at some airlines but allowed at others. Take toiletries, for example: a lot of airlines do not accept toiletries in bottles of more than 100ml. If this is applicable to you, consider taking mini’s or transfer the content into smaller tubes or containers. If this is not possible, you can leave the toiletries behind and check if you can buy them at the duty free shops behind the security gate of the airport.
It may occur that you are not allowed to bring certain items in your hold luggage that you need, Check with your airline to see if this is the case for your checked luggage. If this is the case, you can consider shipping the prohibited item(s) to your destination before taking off and have someone or your hotel receive them on your behalf.
Portable Weighing Scale
Do not wait to get to the airport to find out about the weight of your luggage and the costs. For frequent travelers a portable weighing scale will come in handy. You will never be caught off-guard or have to pay more than you should. Weigh all your hold luggage items so that by the time you leave home for the airport, you exactly know what to pay for your checked baggage.
Protect Your Property
Although airline and airport personnel will do their best to keep your luggage safe, it wont hurt to provide a little help. Here are some clues on how to do this:
- Make sure you use a solid suitcase that can handle a tough journey;
- Put a lock on your suitcase or bag;
- Attach a luggage tag to your hold baggage with your contact details;
- Have your luggage wrapped at the airport
For most airlines there are no restrictions as to the liquids you can bring in your hold luggage. The only excemption on this rule is flammable liquids. Make sure that you don’t pack any liquid that is flammable and be careful with perfumes.
When packing, ensure that the closed containers comfortably fit in your bag. Dietary liquids, baby formula and medicine don’t have to be checked in with your hold luggage.
Most of the time, sporting equipment is counted as a bag. Therefore, the weight allowances that apply to your luggage also apply to the sporting equipment. If you are uncertain about the specifications, you can get in touch with your airline. It is always wise to find out more on the specific rules and what you’ll have to pay.
Items Prohibited In Hold Luggage
There are many items that you are never supposed to have packed in your checked in luggage. This can be for security reasons or any other reason as per international aviation laws. Other than for security reasons, it is also important to be careful when packing fragile items in your suitcase. The following list includes some of the items you should not pack in your bag or suitcase, or otherwise pack carefully:
- Travel documents and passports
- Business documents
- Perishable, fragile or delicate goods
- Electronics and electrical devices
- Video camera or any camera related equipment
- Share certificates, securities, negotiable papers and any such valuable documents
- Special value items like precious metals, jewelry, silverware and money
- Computer equipment or laptops
The airline and the airport cannot guarantee that the baggage handlers will be careful with your luggage. As such, there is always the risk of damage or lost luggage. Also, keep in mind that baggage is often handled automatically and can fall down while on the baggage carousel.
There are certain items that are not allowed on the airplane at all, not in your checked luggage not in the carry on.
The only way you can get these dangerous items transported is by having them packaged and shipped in line with the procedure for dangerous goods. Make sure that you get approval from a special cargo agent if applicable. Some of these dangerous items include the following:
- Magnetized material, irritating or offensive materials
- Lithium powered small vehicles like hoverboards, balance wheels, and air wheels
- Infectious substances and poisons like weed killers, insecticides and live viral strains
- Oxidizing agents like peroxides and bleaching powder
- Radioactive material
- Flammable substances (in solid or liquid form). These are matches, paints, lighter fuel or paint thinner.
- Fireworks, flares, munitions, and explosives. This also includes toy guns
- Corrosive substances like wet cell batteries, mercury, acids, and alkali
Rules And Regulations
The rules and regulations for air traveling can change through time. Some of the rules apply for specific countries only, whereas other countries are less strict on what you can bring in your luggage. Airlines can also allow more or less depending on whether you’re travelling within a region (for example within the EU) or whether you’re flying intercontinental.