So you’re all set for your summer holiday – tickets bought, bags packed, you’ve even remembered your toothbrush and located your passport. However, have you prepared for the baggage charges imposed by many low-cost airlines?
Before you travel this summer it’s important to know exactly what costs you are letting yourself in for after World Tracer Statistics for 2010 found that fewer passengers than ever are checking in bags – with only 70 per cent doing so in 2010, down from 82 per cent just three years ago. At the heart of this decision, it appears, is the desperation to avoid baggage charges – which could easily surpass €150 for the average family of four.
Before you start your packing, make sure you familiarise yourself with baggage charges. For example, RyanAir will charge €20-€40 each way for the first bag; €25-€45 to the Canaries for just 15kg; and €30-€50 for higher weight allowances. Similarly, Aer Lingus can charge from €15-€20 depending on where you are flying to; and this can increase to €30-€40 if you pay at the airport, making it vital to book bags on early and ideally carry out a web check-in.
In addition, make sure you know exactly how much you are entitled to carry on with you. If your carry-on baggage is judged to be too heavy or is too big at the departure gates then you will be penalised significantly. Check the size of the carry-on bags too – for both RyanAir and Aer Lingus a bag can be no more than 50cm x 40cm x 20cm. Even though it sounds unlikely, it is not unknown for bags that were bought with the correct dimensions to expand – so if you have a “soft” bag, make sure it hasn’t expanded once you have finished your packing.
If you are purchasing a new bag then look for one that is really airline compliant. It is up to the airlines to ensure that measurements are consistent across all airports and while the measuring devices they use should all be the same, do keep this in mind when you are buying a bag advertised as airline compliant.
Packing an appropriate bag should just be one of a long list of checks you carry out from the moment you think about booking a holiday.
If you are yet to book your summer vacation then make sure you use comparison websites to compare the cost of package holidays and contrast these with “building” your own holiday – i.e. buying flight tickets and accommodation from separate retailers. Remember that many travel agencies make money with add-ons such as travel insurance, airport parking and car hire – so shop around for these independently.
Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash