Nothing casts a shadow over a holiday quite like sweating in line, wondering if staff will query that overstuffed suitcase or bicep-busting cabin bag. Here’s how to avoid excess baggage fees, writes Alison Boleyn.
There are limits
It seems obvious but check the conditions on your ticket before you pack. Passengers flying internationally (other than to the Americas) can pay $20 to $80 for every kilogram of excess luggage.
Less is more
Choose lightweight polycarbonate luggage to maximise your carry-on and checked bag allowances. It's possible to find upright suitcases weighing about 2.5 kilograms.
Packing light is the natural way to avoid fees but this can be tricky if you’re flying with children. Remember, while you can distribute heavy things around the family’s bags and it’s exciting for little ones to pack a backpack, you might end up carrying theirs, too.
If you’re travelling with children, take advantage of inflight entertainment, use Qantas’s Joey Club kids’ kits and pack activities that are light and portable such as colouring-in and puzzle books, comics and playing cards.
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Decant grooming products into smaller containers and check if your hotel provides hair dryers and umbrellas.
Weigh in first
Buy a portable luggage scale and you’ll never leave home wondering if you’ll be unpacking at the gate.
Shipping your holiday shopping may sound extravagant but given excess baggage fees, using standard delivery services and shipping companies can be economical.
Save on excess
If you must exceed your allowance, pre-purchase additional baggage. Waiting until you reach the airport can mean higher fees. For passengers flying to Europe, it can cost $400 per extra five kilograms of baggage at the airport, versus $280 if the excess is pre-purchased.
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