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Excess baggage fees: What they are and how to avoid them

Photo of Anna HardyPhoto of Anna Hardy
By Anna Hardy

4 March 20244 min read

A woman wheeling a yellow suitcase in an airport

Whether it’s accidentally exceeding your luggage weight limit or going over the airline’s baggage size restrictions, no one wants to get stung by additional baggage fees when at the airport – especially when the charge could almost equal the price of your flight in the most extreme cases.

To help you stay one step ahead, we’ve rounded up the excess baggage fees for popular airlines along with our best tips and tricks on how to avoid them.

What are excess baggage fees?

Excess baggage fees are additional charges set by airlines for any items of luggage heavier or larger than your flight’s outlined allowance. Each airline has set prices for excess baggage, charging you either per bag or for every kilo your luggage is over the specified weight limit.

These charges can vary from £9 up to several hundred pounds per kilo depending on your airline and flight route, so it's best to avoid excess baggage fees wherever you can.

Excess baggage fees for popular airlines

AirlineCost of excess baggage
Aer Lingus€10 per kilo
British Airways£65 per bag
Delta$100-$200 per bag depending on weight, size and flight route
easyJet£12 per kilo
Emirates$15-$50 per kilo, depending on flight route
Etihad $24-$54 per kilo depending on flight route; $270-$396 per bag for flights to/from US or Canada
Eurowings€50-€125 per bag
Jet2£12 per kilo
Lufthansa€50-€300 depending on flight route
Norwegian Air£12 per kilo
Qantas$20-$80 per kilo depending on flight route; up to $300 per kilo for flights to/from North and South America
Qatar$8-$55 per kilo depending on flight route; $150-$350 per bag for flights to/from Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and US
Ryanair€/£9 per kilo purchased online (up to 2 hours before departure); €/£11 per kilo at the airport
TUI - Flight only£14-£18 per kilo; £55-£75 per 15kg bag
Virgin Atlantic£65 per bag if overweight; £200 per bag if oversized
Vueling€12 per kilo at check-in desk; €110-€140 per bag at boarding gate
Wizz Air€13 per kilo

Top tips for avoiding excess baggage fees

Pay for extra weight in advance

If you can’t avoid going over your airline's luggage limit, it’s almost always cheaper to book extra hold luggage in advance online – often saving up to 50% compared to paying excess fees at the airport. Some airlines will even allow you to add additional bags to your booking up until online check in. Ryanair passengers, for example, can purchase extra baggage weight online up to two hours before departure.

Consider your luggage carefully

Heavy suitcases with hard shells or frames can eat into your weight allowance before you’ve even begun to pack. Consider a lightweight suitcase with a soft shell or a canvas backpack to help lighten the load of your luggage.

Weigh your bag before departing

To avoid being caught out at the airport and having to fork out on excess fees last-minute, weigh your bag before you leave home and your destination to double check you’re within your allocated limit. Portable luggage scales are cheap and easy to bring with you.

Pack like a pro

One of the easiest ways to shave some extra kilos off your baggage weight is to wear your heaviest items on the plane – think bulky coats and shoes. This can also apply to heftier electrical items, too. If they’ll fit, carry the likes of your iPad or portable charger in your coat pocket instead of in your luggage. Just remember you’ll need to take off your coat and place certain electrical items in the trays at airport security.

When it comes to packing, be ruthless with what you need to bring. You can save weight by buying heavy cosmetics like shampoo and sun cream at your destination. The same goes for baby formula and nappies.

Keen reader? Consider an e-reader or listen to audio books rather than using up your weight limit with multiple books.

Make the most of your hand luggage

If you need to take lots of luggage for your trip, consider flying with an airline that has good hand luggage allowances. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Jet2 all allow you to bring two bags onboard as part of your free hand luggage allowance, helping you to bring extra luggage for less. Just remember not to pack any items that aren’t allowed in hand luggage.

Pool your luggage

Some airlines, such as TUI Airways, allow you to pool checked luggage allowances with anyone travelling on the same booking. This means that if you and a travel companion have purchased two 20kg bags on the same flight booking, one of your bags could weigh 15kg, while the other 25kg.

Note that most airlines have a maximum weight limit for any one individual bag. Always check in advance whether your airline allows bag pooling if you’re planning to do so.

*Please note: All prices are correct as of March 5 2024.

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