The following are airline industry standard guidelines but airlines are permitted to set their own rules and restrictions. Research identifies numerous variations to the details set out below. In particular many North American airlines (including Canadian) have made fundamental changes to their baggage allowances depending on dates of purchase of tickets etc.
Baggage allowances take into consideration not only weight but also physical dimensions. The most common hand luggage baggage dimensions are 55x40x20.
Passengers are reminded to obtain precise details of their baggage allowances from their chosen airline or flight operator before they travel.
1) Cabin Baggage
There are many variations to the weight, number and size of pieces of cabin baggage including additional personal items which may be carried on board. These include laptops, briefcases, garment bags as well as items for infants and the disabled.
Weight limits of cabin baggage vary from airline to airline from as low as 3kgs/6.6 lbs to as high as 23kgs/51 lbs or even no weight limit but usually there is a proviso that you must be able to place the bag in the overhead locker yourself. The UK Department for Transport has given approval to most UK airports to remove the one-bag restriction on hand baggage but that does not mean individual airlines have to adhere to this rule -many still limit the traveller to one piece of hand luggage.
The generally acceptable Linear Length of a piece of cabin baggage is 115cm/45 in but this can be as high as 130cm/51in for some airlines. However, the BAA has the following baggage dimensions restriction of 56 x 45 x 25 cms for cabin baggage. The shape of the piece is an important factor as it must be able to be stored in the overhead locker or sometimes under the aircraft seat. This BAA sizing rule is a generality and individual airlines are free to set their own smaller size limits - check the Flylite Directory for details of your airline with which you propose to fly.
2) Checked Baggage
The two methods of determining the amount of checked baggage allowed to be stowed in the hold of the aircraft are:
a) Piece Concept or System:
This method of assessment is based on the number of pieces and dimensions and not the total weight. Airlines do however limit the weight of each piece.*
The standard Free Baggage Allowance is:
|First Class &
2 pieces with a maximum Linear Length of 158cm/62in per PIECE.*
2 pieces with a TOTAL Linear Length 273cm/107in.
The maximum Linear Length of any one PIECE is still 158cm/62in.*
*Maximum Weight is currently 32kgs/70 lbs per piece. However, this limit can now be as low as 23kgs/50 lbs per piece.
b) Weight Concept or System:
This method of assessment is based on the total weight of baggage and not the number of pieces. The standard Free Baggage Allowance is:
These are standard allowances some airlines may have differing allowances particularly on domestic routes.