How to Avoid Overweight Baggage Fees

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We’ve all been there. You’ve stuffed your luggage to the brim on your trip, and now your luggage is a little on the heavy side.

But, how could you have avoided this in the first place? Well, in this article we talk you through all of our best tips so that you don’t end up forking out cash at the gate.

1. Bring a backup digital luggage scale

Are you 2kg overweight? Then it’s going to cost you. For domestic flights, it’s not quite as bad, but for international travel, it’s definitely more.

If you’re convinced that the scales at your house or accommodation are a little dodgy, or you reckon you can sneak in a few cheeky purchases in under the 7kg mark – then you might want to double check to be sure.

A digital luggage scale is a super handy item to have in this instance – whether you’re travelling internationally or domestically. This one from Korjo can weigh up to 44kg, is easy to read and is nice and lightweight at 110 grams as well. All you have to to do is attach it to your bag, lift it up, wait for the beep, put it down and it’ll tell you the weight of your luggage. Just check that you turn off the scales to save on the battery life so that it doesn’t die on you in the critical moment!

If you are over, at least you have time to put on your extra jumper, ditch your extra toiletries, or throw out the packaging from your holiday souvenirs that you don’t need before you arrive at the airport.

Portable Korjo luggage scale sitting on luggage

A portable luggage scale gives you an accurate reading of the weight of your bag wherever you are. Image: Korjo

2. Carry the lightest bag you have

This one seems like it might be obvious, but if you’ve been using the same clunky carry-on since the dawn of time, then it might be time to ditch it in for one that’s a little more streamlined and lightweight.

You still want something structured to protect your belongings. But heavy hardware and extra bits of plastic are not going to do you any favours in the weight department.

Weigh your bag before you use it so that you know exactly how much it’s setting you back. You’d be surprised how heavy luggage can be on its own!

Woman wheeling her carry on luggage

A lighter carry-on is the easiest step to reducing your travel weight. Image: Eagle Creek

3. Check the rules thoroughly

We all subscribe to those websites that send you amazing travel deals. A weekend to the Gold Coast for an absolute steal, or a week in Thailand without draining your savings account. But have you checked the baggage limit, or any other limitations before you hit ‘check out’? It might be too good to be true.

If you’ve already thought about hitting the shops and treating yourself to some holiday souvenirs, then you might want to reign yourself back in. It might be too good to be true, so read up on the finer details so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

The rule of thumb is that the more budget the airline, the more likely they are to crack down on overweight luggage.

Check out our table below which has all the details on the size and carry on weight limits for all the major airlines worldwide.

Airline carry on allowances

Airline Carry On Allowance Max Dimensions Max. Weight
Air Asia 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 56cm x 36cm x 23cm 7kg
Air New Zealand 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item Combined length, width and height to be under 118cm 7kg
British Airways 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 56cm x 45cm x 25cm 23kg
Cathay Pacific 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 56cm x 36cm x 23cm 7kg
China Airlines 1 cabin bag 56cm x 36cm x 23cm 7kg
Emirates 1 cabin bag 55cm x 38cm x 20cm 7kg
Etihad Airways 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 50cm x 40cm x 25cm 7kg
Fiji Airways 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 55cm x40cm x 23cm 7kg
Garuda Indonesia 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 56cm x 36cm x 23cm 7kg
Japan Airlines 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 55cm x 40cm x 25cm 10kg
Jetstar 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 55cm x 36cm x 23cm 7kg
KLM 1 cabin bag 55cm x 35cm x 25cm 12kg
Lufthansa 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 55cm x 40cm x 23cm 8kg
Malaysia Airlines 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 55cm x 35cm x 25cm 7kg
Qantas 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 48cm x 34cm x 23cm 7kg
Qatar Airways 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 50cm x 37cm x 25cm 7kg
Scoot 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 54cm x 38cm x 23cm 7kg
Singapore Airlines 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item Combined length, width and height to be under 118cm 7kg
Thai Airways 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 56cm x 45cm x 25cm 7kg
Tigerair 2 bags 54cm x 38cm x 23cm 7kg
United 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 56cm x 35cm x 22cm No weight limit
Virgin Australia 1 cabin bag + 1 personal item 48cm x 34cm x 23cm 7kg

Personal items include handbag, briefcase, laptop computer, camera bag, crutches, umbrella, etc

Table correct as of March 9th, 2018

4. Buy additional baggage online, not at the airport!

If you’re planning on packing extra or taking home some new purchases – then you will save money by buying extra baggage before the flight. This is because overweight baggage fees are higher than pre-purchasing additional baggage.

If you just know that you’ll want that extra wiggle room when it comes to weight, then bite the bullet and buy additional baggage before your flight.

If you do need extra storage space, having a lightweight duffle bag with you as well as compression travel bags for packing will come in handy. They won’t save weight, but you will be able to squeeze more gear in if your bag is overflowing.

Everything to pack on a trip away travelling on a table

If you know you need to pack more than just the bare necessities, purchase additional baggage. Image: Eagle Creek

5. Use your frequent flyer points

If you’re lucky enough to travel regularly, then you’ve probably racked up some frequent flyer points on your account.

What you might not know is that some airlines – such as Qantas, allow you to use them to buy additional baggage before your flight, which is a perfect solution to an overstuffed suitcase.

Don’t be that crazy looking person pulling on an extra pair of pants, three jumpers and two coats on at the baggage counter – prepare for your trip so that you can (hopefully) breeze through the airport without any extra fees or charges.

Do you have any other handy tips for avoiding overweight baggage fees? Let us know in the comments. For more travel tips and inspiration, head here.

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Joined back in December, 2016

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