If you’re determined to travel light, read on for our top tips on getting all of your luggage onboard:
1. Always check your hand luggage dimensions
All airlines have slightly different luggage restrictions so always measure your hand luggage bags well before flying, especially when travelling with an airline for the first time. Remember, British Airways’s baggage allowance includes handles and wheels, so don’t get caught out by that awkward baggage gauge at the last minute! If you’re in danger of exceeding the limitations, look for a new cabin bag – most luggage stores now make it easy to find ‘cabin-approved’ rucksacks and suitcases. Unsure where to start? Use our carry-on bag guide to review the best of the bunch.
2. Grab a guarantee
Most airlines can’t promise that your cabin bags will make it into the overhead lockers, meaning you may be left waiting around the baggage carousel, just for your overnight bag to Edinburgh. But British Airways does guarantee your smaller bag will be taken onboard, as long as you attach one of their yellow tags to the bag (available at the airport check-in desk). Make sure the tag’s visible before you board, and you’ll never have to go without your ear plugs or your travel pillow again!
3. Shop around for a fare deal
British Airways is no budget airline and has an impressive range of airfare grades, meaning you don’t have to struggle with the zip on your tiny suitcase! Even what the airline terms ‘Economy’ class includes a lot more than the seat, with snacks, drinks and family-friendly extras. On short-haul BA flights, Economy comes with three options: Basic, Plus and Plus Flex (Europe) or Business UK (British Airways UK domestic). While Basic is the ‘hand luggage only’ option you may be looking for, Plus comes with free checked baggage and Business UK allows you priority boarding so you can easily slide your holdall into the lockers before everyone else gets there. Alternatively, British Airways Premium Economy is available on some international flights and lends you a little more legroom for your oversized handbag, plus two pieces of hold luggage (23kg each) included in the price.
BA club meal Image: Jun Seita, CC BY 2.0.
4. Fly to Brazil
We’re not kidding. As mentioned above, there are different, more generous, rules regarding British Airways luggage allowance on flights in and out of Brazil. In fact, several other international airlines including American Airlines make the same exceptions. Why? Well, officially, Brazil’s Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) stipulates that flights to and from Brazil must allow two checked bags weighing up to 32kg and hand baggage can measure up to 45cm (although the number of cabin bags vary between destination/origin countries). Some speculate that this allows travellers to buy more Brazilian goods to bring home. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) states that the absolute maximum weight for checked luggage is 32kg, though airlines can choose to restrict this to a lower weight, so it may be that Brazil is just maxing out the amount holidaymakers can take. Either way, even if the dazzling white beaches and upcoming Rio 2016 Olympics aren’t enough of an incentive, Brazil seems to be a good choice for people who like to travel with all their home comforts!