Baggage question on international flights

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Vash01, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Sasha

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    I am really fed up with United and Continental airlines. Their websites don't tell me what is the baggage allowance for carry on. They only tell the charges for 1st & second bag, and don't mention the carry on allowance at all. I found out about it because I called the airlines (Continental/Austrian/Lufthansa) last week and I got lucky because after holding for long periods, I got to talk to a person that gave me some information. The problem is there is a huge discrepancy among airlines when it comes to baggage allowance. BTW I am flying economy.

    I am flying Continental (but operated by United) within the USA and on to Euorpe, connecting with Lufthansa in Frankfurt to go to Asia. Lufthansa allows just 18 lbs for the carry on. I am supposed to follow the baggage limits for Continental, which is 40 lbs, but the allowances are so different that I am worried that I may be told something else at the airport. I no longer trust the airlines when their website says to follow the baggage allowance for the first airline you board. I don't want to end up paying just because I exceeded 18 lbs (which is an outrageously low allowance, IMO).

    On the way back, Austrian airlines also allows only 18 lbs. Last week when I got lucky and got a person to talk to when I called Continental. I was told 40 lbs for the carry on (for the first suitcase they were pretty consistent- no charge for 1st bag if it's less than 50 lbs; $70-$83 for the second bag, so I will not be carrying a second bag). The Continental flight will be operated by United, so I called United to find out the baggage allowance because of the discrepancy between Continental & the European airlines. I can't get the right person when I called United's 800 number. They kept giving me a run around, transferring from one person to another, but not giving me an answer. I finally gave up and hung up. So far I have found United to be the worst airline in customer service, but may be there are others that are even worse.

    Why is it so difficult to get the information? I am VERY frustrated. I would really like to have that 40 lbs limit for the carry on, on my way. On the way back I can arrange to put all the heavy things in the checked bag. As it is, I don't like heavy carry ons, but I am used to checking two bags free of charge, and here are airlines that want to milk every dollar out of me.

    Why must travel be so painful?

    Please let me know if you have experience connecting on one of the US carriers with a European airline to go to Asia. What was the baggage allowance? Is it the same (40 lbs) on Continental and United? I already know the European airlines allow only 18 lbs.

    At least here on fsu I am sure to get an answer, and you don't even get paid for it.:lol:
     
  2. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    I don't think it's 18 pounds in Europe, it's 18 kg, which is about....40 pounds. I've never had any trouble with my carry-ons in Europe.
     
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  3. millyskate

    millyskate Well-Known Member

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    For the carry-on in Europe, it's often between 10-12 kilos, but they never weigh it. 10-12 kilos is pretty generous anyway.
    The problem comes with the check-in bags...
     
  4. Fridge_Break

    Fridge_Break Well-Known Member

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  5. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Sasha

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    Airlines do change their rules/allowances. The latest is 8 kilos which is 18 pounds. (18 kg is actually around 45 lbs- mulitply the kg by 2.2 to get the lbs, but it's not 18 kg; I have verified it to be pounds when I talked to both Austrian and Lufthansa).
     
  6. millyskate

    millyskate Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone's carry-on ever been weighed? They sometimes, albeit rarely, check the dimensions, but I fly around Europe all the time and I've never ever seen anybody's carry-on being weighed. It's an important point for me because I have a lot of heavy computer and camera equipment I bring on board, and I've come to realise as long as you pack it small enough, it can weigh a ton and still be ok.
     
  7. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Sasha

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    It gives the dimensions but not the weight, unless I missed it.

    Thanks for the link.
     
  8. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Sasha

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    Once I had seen a passenger at San Francisco airport being charged for a carry on that was too heavy. That was a few years ago.

    With the new regulations it's hard to tell what they are doing these days. May be they are required to weigh? The real problem as I see it is the discrepancy in weight- 40 lbs vs 18 lbs. Why can't there be international agreements on the size/weight etc.? I have heard it's different for different airline alliances. For example, Delta and Air France don't charge for the second checked bag (when traveling internationally), but the Star alliance (Lufthansa, United, Austrian, etc. are a part of this) airlines charge a lot.

    I wish Southwest airline would fly abroad.
     
  9. luna_skater

    luna_skater Well-Known Member

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    "A piece of hand luggage may not be larger than 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm and may not weigh more than 8 kg."

    From the Lufthansa link.

    ETA: Oops, just realized you probably meant the Continental link. I don't see it there.
     
  10. luna_skater

    luna_skater Well-Known Member

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    I've never had my carry-on(s) weighed, and I'm sure they're usually over the limit because I often travel with a lot of camera and computer equipment too. Most of the traveling I do is within Canada, or Canada-USA.

    I always just try to make it look like I'm not struggling to lift the bags. :D

    I believe with Air Canada and WestJet the carry-on weight limit is about 22lbs. The odd time I take a carry-on suitcase, I'm always amazed at how much stuff you can actually fit within that limit. I can't believe there are carry-on limits of 40lbs! On WestJet you get charged if your checked bag is over 50lbs. And my suitcase that holds 50lbs worth of stuff is huge.
     
  11. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Sasha

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    I should start lifting some weights to make it look easy:lol:

    OOPS! Not enough time....I am leaving Nov.9th.

    Somehow I have a feeling that on the way back Austrian airline will weigh everyone's carry on.
     
  12. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

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    It depends on the airline...the cheaper airlines only allow 8-10kgs and they weigh them every single time and charge a fortune for even a gram over :shuffle:

    I also fly around Europe a lot and while Easyjet don't weigh carry ons (or even impose a limit), others most definitely do. I've had my carry on weighed more often than not.
     
  13. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Sasha

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    Lufthansa and Austrian can hardly be considered 'cheaper airlines' and they are the ones limiting the carry on to 8 kg (18 lbs)!
     
  14. Tinami Amori

    Tinami Amori Well-Known Member

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    LH
    http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Lufthansa/baggage.php

    Continental
    http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Continental_Airlines/baggage.php

    United
    http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/United_Airlines/baggage.php

    This has carry on info and more.

    If you have any questions after you read all the details, let me know. I’ll check this email later on this evening.

    Allow me to say one thing…. You are flying a very long distance, on a rather expensive trip (even if you plan to stay “economy”). The worst thing that can happen if you miscalculate your luggage situation are few payments amounting to no more than 200 USD, maybe 300 USD.

    At the same time, sounds like you’ve spent many hours on the telephone to figure out how to hypothetically avoid paying extra few hundred dollars. Why not use the time you spent researching the luggage fee to perhaps work over-time or extra time/day and make maybe 2x or 3x more money than the amount you’d save in extra luggage fees?

    Consider the time it will take you to figure out how to “save money”, compare it to how you can use it to work more or do something to “make money”. In some cases the 2nd choice gives you more returns and not just in actual dollar amount.
     
  15. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Funny this question is asked now - just last week I was on a flight and for the first time that I've seen, they were weighing carry on bags.

    An announcement was made at the gate that because the flight was full, they were weighing carry on. Then, they called a whole bunch of passengers up by name in several groups and weighed their bags, insisting that some be gate checked. From what we could tell, they were all people who had not checked any bags - we did, and didn't get called up.
     
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  16. hydro

    hydro Well-Known Member

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    Even if Vash did work overtime, why should she give her hard-earned money to the Airlines over something so trivial and useless?

    Maybe she wants to spend the day at the spa or have a wonderful meal with friends or sip lattes all day long at an Internet cafe with that hard-earned money instead of just handing it over to some airline with bad customer service.

    Your suggestion is ridiculous.
     
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  17. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Sasha

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    You are kidding, right? I work for a salary. I don't get paid by the hour- there is no OT pay. I would get paid the same whether I work 40 hours or 400 hours in a week. I don't believe in wasting money either. At least I try to manage my money well. If an airline is going to charge me around $15 for every extra kg, that could add up to a lot....$200-$300 is a lot of money to me. May be it's pocket change for you.

    As I mentioned in my OP, I had already spent time on their websites, AND did not find the information for my specific situation. I have spent time on the phone, but I was multitasking. I was working on my computer while I was kept on hold (at one time it was a 50 minute wait time!- that's United airlines; the European airlines were relatively easy to reach, and I already know their baggage allowances. Perhaps you should read my post again. The doubt is really about the point of origination, which means Continental and United.

    I like to anticipate problems and have solutions ready, just in case. That's why asked those who had experience with similar situations & these airlines. May be if I had disposable income, I would not do that, but it is what it is.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011
  18. Erin

    Erin Well-Known Member

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    I've seen Delta weigh other passengers' bags, although the only place I've ever seen them doing it is at the check-in counter. Anyone who would have checked in on-line could have gotten away with it though.
     
  19. Fridge_Break

    Fridge_Break Well-Known Member

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    Vash,

    I work at a travel agency and was just able to use my special :sekret: Magical Travel Agent Sekret Phone Numbers :sekret: and Continental said the carry-on limit is 40lbs for both US domestic and international flights.

    I was going to look into this earlier when I posted, but ended up getting a bit swamped.
     
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  20. marbri

    marbri Hey, Kool-Aid!

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    http://thetravelinsider.info/travelaccessories/internationalcarryonluggageallowances.htm

    See if that helps you.

    What I would tell you is if you go outside the guidelines just be prepared to pay extra and if you get away with it just consider yourself lucky. You have no way of knowing at this stage how full your flights are, how much luggage will be checked, all the things that determine how strict or lax they will be about baggage.

    Personally I find 40lbs VERY generous for carryon. If the flights I took allowed everyone to bring that much carry-on they would run out of room for all the passengers carry-on. That's more a first class/business class allowance on the flights I take.
     
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  21. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Sasha

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    Nice info! I like the table. However, I am going to ask Lufthansa (just to be sure) if they would apply the rules of the originating flight (Continental/United) or their own, on my flight from here. According to the website, it would apply the Continental rules.

    The size restrictions seem pretty uniform throughout, but the weight seems to vary a lot. I never pack 40 lbs in a carry on. If I can't lift it, I don't pack it. That's my self imposed rule. I can lift 20 lbs, and I hope to get away with it. On the way back though I am going to stay just below 18 lbs. I am also planning on wearing a sweater and a jacket, and carry the camera in my purse. They have not yet thought of weighing womens purses.......I should not put ideas in their heads.:lol:
     
  22. HisWeirness

    HisWeirness Toes. You gotta keep 'em separated.

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    I recently flew on Lufthansa domestically within Germany and my carryon was not weighed. I did not observe any weighing of carry-ons. German colleagues of my husband also told him that they have never had their carry-ons weighed by Lufthansa. Hope this helps.
     
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  23. BittyBug

    BittyBug Kiteless

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    I have always been under the impression that the applicable rules are those of the actual carrier, not the airline that sold you the ticket. In this case, Continental and United have merged, so one would hope that they have standardized their policies by now, but if the flight is operated by United, then I'm pretty sure it's United's rules that apply, not Continental's.
     
  24. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    If it was $15 total, that would be research overkill, but $200-$300 is a lot of money just to move some suitcases around! :lol:

    And it really shouldn't be that much work to find information. It should be on the airlines to make such information easier to find. :p [/aspiring graphic designer]

    Otherwise I got nothing else useful, other than the amusing anecdote about my aunt always going over her luggage limit. Always. Never fails. :lol: Luckily she has money to burn so the extra $50 charge here and there isn't a huge burden...
     
  25. Really

    Really No longer just a "well-known member" Yay!

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    I just flew from Edmonton to Orlando the other day, and I couldn't believe the size of the bags people bring into the cabin. The flight from Chicago to Orlando was full (they asked for volunteers to take a later flight in return for travel vouchers) and they were also asking for volunteers to check their carryon -- free of charge. I had my backpack and purse, and both fit under the seat in front of me, along with my pant-length wool winter coat. Yeah, I paid the $30 or whatever it was United charges for checked luggage, but neither the checked nor the carryon was weighed. I did weigh my checked bag the night before and it was well under the 50 lb maximum.

    It just kinda bugs me the way people bring on the little rolly bags. But I guess if the airlines allow it...then again, if people keep pushing, the airlines will start disallowing the rolling small suitcases too.
     
  26. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Apologies on behalf of Florida, Really. You hit us during a cool snap.
     
  27. Really

    Really No longer just a "well-known member" Yay!

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    I'm not complaining! :)
     
  28. ballettmaus

    ballettmaus Well-Known Member

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    Depending on the size of the plane and how full it is, European airlines can get rather picky about the dimensions. When they suspect a carry-on is too big, they make you put it into those metal things the carry-on needs to fit in to. If it doesn't, you're screwed ;) This has happened more often than the carry-on being weighed. Usually it's weighed at the check-on counter, in my experience.
    British Airways has been the pickiest so far (apart from all those cheap airlines like EasyJet etc) Can't remember the last time I flew Lufthansa but if you don't need to check in with Lufthansa and your carry-on isn't suspiciously large then you'll most certainly be fine.
    On the way back, however, you seem to be stuck with needing to check in with Austrian Airlines, right? So, I'd definitely not have a carry-on that would arise suspicion of being too heavy by being overly big or stuffed. Many airline employees go by seeing the carry-on, eying it and estimating its weight. After all, weighing it and having to check it means extra work for them so they probably try to avoid it especially when there are a lot of people. We've never had any problems since our carry-on isn't overly big anymore. The weight issue is a different matter but American Airlines has never caused any trouble at all.

    As far as I know all airlines allow one personal item as in one handbag or laptop bag in addition to the carry-on, so you don't get stuck with the extra weight of the laptop for your carry-on.
     
  29. Tinami Amori

    Tinami Amori Well-Known Member

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    I was not trying to suggest that USD 200-300 is "little money" for you to spend. My comments were not intended to offend. I did not know that your job does not offer OT or what your financial situation is. I am sorry my suggestions offended you. Part of my travel approach, which works for me, is to always consider how many hours to spend on seeking savings and good deals vs. spending the same amount of hours to produce or to earn or to secure another contract or client. This was only a travel planning suggestions, at least as far as I am concerned. :)
     
  30. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    Oh don't worry, my bf does that too, especially when it comes to people's obsession over finding the cheapest gas stations. How much time and energy must people be spending to go to the station that sells their gas for 5 cents a gallon less than the closer place? :lol: It's kind of the same freakout over increasing postage stamp prices. Paying an extra 20 cents for a pack of stamps never hurt anyone. ;)

    But he doesn't suggest shelling out $200-$300 to save on a couple hours of research when he knows that's how much I earn after two full days of work. :p