BA Baggage Guide

Old Sep 28, 14, 8:00 am
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Arrow BA Baggage Guide



i Preface
This guide is intended as a supplementary reference to the excellent Baggage Essentials guide published by British Airways on ba.com. I've launched this as a beta and would welcome your thoughts, suggestions and experiences (good and bad).

When buying flights on ba.com, the booking process will inform you of the specific baggage allowance relating to the flights you intend to book. This information is presented before you purchase your tickets. If you are either an Executive Club Silver or Gold card holder, it is advisable to log in to ba.com before booking so that the information displayed during the booking process reflects the more generous allowance you are entitled to.

ii Contents

Last edited by Prospero; Mar 17, 18 at 7:29 am
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Old Sep 28, 14, 8:01 am
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Hand baggage allowance on British Airways
(including BA CityFlyer)

The allowance on BA is pretty generous compared to Lo-Co carriers, and applies equally across all classes of travel and Executive Club tiers. Remember, any items you purchase at the airport, including duty free, form part of your hand baggage allowance, so if you go over your allowance, be prepared check in one of your extra bags. Strictly speaking, BA is entitled to charge you an extra baggage fee if this pushes you over your checked baggage limit. That said, if you are travelling in First or Club, ground staff and cabin crew will most likely turn a blind eye to any excess (well, within reason!). However, when starting such a long haul journey from a European or UK outstation it is better to play it safe and stick to your limit.

Allowances
  • Adults (aged 12 and over) 1 x cabin bag + 1 x personal bag
  • Children (aged between 2 and 11) 1 x cabin bag + 1 x personal bag
  • Infants (aged under 2) 1 x cabin bag for items they may require during the flight

Size and weight of your hand luggage
  • Your tagged personal bag must not exceed 40 x 30 x 15 cm (16 x 12 x 6 in). This includes handles, pockets and wheels.
    Note, on flights to/from Brazil the dimensions of this bag are greater, at 45 x 36 x 20 cm (18 x 14 x 8 in)
  • Your second "personal" bag must not exceed 56 x 45 x 25 cm (22 x 18 x 10 in). This includes handles, pockets and wheels.

Whilst the maximum theoretical weight per bag is 23kg (51lbs), in practice you should only take on board what you are physically capable of lifting into the overhead bins.




Variations for flights operated by Comair and SUN-AIR

Comair
On Comair, the allowance is still two items but the bag dimensions are slightly less generous than BA’s own allowance.

  • Your cabin bag must not exceed 56 x 36 x 23 cm (22 x 14 x 9 in). This includes handles, pockets and wheels. Maximum weight is 7 kg (15 lb)
  • Your personal bag must not exceed 45 x 36 x 20 cm (18 x 14 x 8 in). This includes handles, pockets and wheels. Maximum weight is 7 kg (15 lb)

SUN-AIR
On SUN-AIR, which operates small propeller powered aircraft, you are allowed to take one bag on board, sized 45 x 36 x 20 cm (18 x 14 x 8 in) weighing no more than 6 kg (13 lb)


Connecting on to another carrier

If your journey includes a connection which takes you onto another carrier, what you are entitled to take on board the non-BA operated flight will be dependent on the rules governed by the operating carrier.

Last edited by Prospero; Jul 28, 19 at 1:56 am
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Old Sep 28, 14, 8:01 am
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Inclusive checked baggage allowances on British Airways

General rules
As a rule of thumb, you should refer to the baggage policy published by the operating carrier and this generally applies when flying on a codeshare flight. Well, almost. While in most jurisdictions where the policy of the operating carrier applies to your individual baggage allowance, things are done a little differently in the United States where the policy of the marketing carrier governs. Something to be mindful of when travelling on BA/AA joint venture services.

When travelling with British Airways, the maximum baggage size accepted at check-in including handle, wheels and other protrusions is currently 90cm x 75cm x 43cm (35.5in x 29.5in x 16in). The allowance and maximum weight per bag is dependent on the class of travel and status, as illustrated by the slides below.

When a party includes a Gold card holder an additional checked bag applies to all passengers travelling on the same booking. However, the higher weight of 32kg per bag applies only to baggage belonging to the Gold card holder, so the rest of the party will have to ensure the weight of their bags does not exceed 23kg.

Like Gold card holders, the allowance for Silver card holders also includes one additional checked bag when travelling on BA flights.

Travelling in more than one cabin
If you are travelling in more than one cabin, e.g. outbound in economy and return in business class, you will be given the more generous allowance for the whole journey.

Basic fares
If you purchased a Basic (Hand Baggage Only) fare (available in Euro Traveller) and later decide to check bags in, this is still possible upon payment of a nominal fee. Paying this charge is cheaper when done online than it is at the airport.

Note, Infants and children travelling on a Basic fare may still check a fully collapsible pushchair (stroller) and a car seat free of charge.

Inclusive allowances















Travel to/from Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, Kuwait, Japan, Liberia, and Sierra Leone
and
Connecting journeys between India and USA/Bermuda/Canada
and
Connecting journeys between Saudi Arabia and USA/Bermuda/Canada

See: Recent changes to baggage allowances on flights to and from Brazil


Additional allowances for infants and children
These additional allowances apply to all cabins, including Basic (Hand Baggage Only) fares.



Last edited by Prospero; Jul 24, 19 at 10:33 am Reason: Error corrections
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Old Sep 28, 14, 8:02 am
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Bulky items

Larger items of up to 190cm x 75cm x 65cm (75in x 29.5in x 25.5in) can be carried as over-sized items. BA does not charge for oversize bags providing they conform to their weight allowance. However, if the bag size exceeds this upper limit, BA will not accept it at the check in desk and it will need to be shipped separately as cargo.


Extra bags

BA.com explains this well. See Extra and overweight baggage for applicable fees. The extra baggage service provided by British Airways includes:

  • Up to 10 bags (including your free allowance) per adult or child (you cannot order extra bags for infants under 2).
  • Discounts for paying online before you check in for your flight, if operated by British Airways, BA Cityflyer or OpenSkies. Discounts offered by BA are not available if your flight is operated by another airline. There are restrictions in some countries where it not possible to buy extra bags online for all routes. Check ba.com for current extra bag charges applicable at the airport.
  • It is possible to pay for extra bags at the airport bag drop. Airport rates are higher than those offered online
  • Special online first-bag rate when travelling on hand baggage only fares.
  • Each extra bag can be up to the same size and weight as a standard checked bag. See the post on Inclusive allowances above

The rate you pay is based on when your ticket is issued. For ba.com bookings that's usually as soon as you make your booking. In some instances, such as travel agent and tour operator bookings, your ticket can be issued at any time, so please contact the booking agent to check the issue date before confirming which rate applies to you.

Comair extra bag charges
Charge for each additional bag is R350 when arranged at the airport. A reduced rate of R245 is offered online or via Comair’s contact centre up to 2 hours before flight departure.


Overweight baggage

If you get to the airport and find your bag is over your weight allowance you may be charged extra. In addition to which it is important to remember that bags over 32 kg cannot be checked in and must be shipped separately as freight or cargo.

There are no weight limits or overweight charges for personal wheelchairs, mobility aids and medical equipment but to be safe it is worth checking BA’s special assistance information for the rules and requirements that apply.


British Airways overweight baggage charges
  • Bags weighing between 23 and 32 kg (51 and 70 lb)
    The overweight baggage charge is 40, or local equivalent at check-in, or $60 from any US airport. This fee is waived to oneworld Emerald and Sapphire card holders
  • Bags weighing in excess of 32 kg (70 lb)
    These will not accepted and unless you are able to redistribute the contents so that each bag you intend to check weighs no more than 32 kg. You will be asked to ship any bag weighing more than 32 kg separately as freight or cargo.

Comair overweight baggage charges
  • Bags weighing between 23 and 32 kg (51 and 70 lb)
    The overweight baggage charge is R250. This fee is waived to oneworld Emerald and Sapphire card holders
  • Bags weighing in excess of 32 kg (70 lb)
    These will not accepted and unless you are able to redistribute the contents so that each bag you intend to check weighs no more than 32 kg. You will be asked to ship any bag weighing more than 32 kg separately as freight or cargo.

Last edited by Prospero; Sep 28, 14 at 9:15 am
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Old Sep 28, 14, 8:02 am
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Sporting equipment

If you are planning to travel with sporting equipment, please remember the bag containing this equipment can be checked and it will be assessed as part of your ticketed allowance. BA will accept sporting equipment provided it is packed appropriately (to avoid damage). The usual provisions for status and bulky/overweight items apply.

In practice, the rule for bicycles usually follows "if it looks like a bike bag then we take it no matter what size it is (within reason)". The 190 cm rule still applies, but the other, lesser dimensions are not usually taken into consideration.

There are a number of restrictions on what equipment can be carried. These are listed on ba.com, see here


Musical instruments

Musical instruments can be taken on board as part of your free hand baggage allowance providing they fit within the maximum bag dimensions. Where possible, BA crew do try to accommodate instruments that are slightly larger.

Larger instruments can be carried as part of your free checked baggage allowance or as part of an additional purchased allowance if required. BA will carry instruments larger and heavier than the standard checked baggage limits, up to 45 kg (99 lb) and 190 x 75 x 65 cm (75 x 29.5 x 25.5 in), providing you notify BA at least 24 hours before your flight. Instruments exceeding your bag weight allowance may incur a heavy bag charge.

It may also be possible to purchase an extra seat for your instrument, depending on availability. A double bass cannot be accommodated in any cabin. However it can be accepted as checked baggage. This will be part of your checked baggage allowance so again, excess baggage charges may apply.


Firearms, ammunition, and other restricted items

All firearms (including replica and decommissioned) and ammunition are restricted under UK law and may be carried only with advanced notification and with the appropriate licences and documentation.

See ba.com for more information about travelling with firearms and ammunition as well as details on other restricted items.

It is worth noting that current Comair policy is that firearms, sporting rifles, spear guns and crossbows are not accepted at all for carriage. This includes toy guns, including the kind that you might buy for kids in funfairs - this has caused tears on more than one occasion.

Last edited by Prospero; Sep 29, 14 at 1:41 pm Reason: Add info about bikes - thanks henners; add info about Comair- thanks Globaliser
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Old Sep 28, 14, 8:02 am
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Through checking and baggage interlining using multiple carriers

IATA Policy
Baggage allowances and policies do vary by airline, even if you buy your flights through one of BA's direct channels. If your journey includes a flight with an airline other than British Airways, your checked baggage allowance may be different. Since 2011, IATA's member carriers apply the baggage allowances and charges policy for interline journeys established by the international body.

Important notes:
  • This policy applies to multiple connecting flights, operated by different carriers, booked under a single ticket.
  • Executive Club Silver and Gold card holders should check the weight of their baggage, as the more generous allowance of 32 kg per bag may not apply across all sectors. 23 kg is the standard limit.
  • If you book your travel using a combination of separate tickets, the policy of each ticketed carrier applies, and you lose the advantage of through checking your baggage from the beginning to the end of your journey.

IATA's Baggage Rule Resolution 302 standardised baggage policies for passengers flying multiple carriers and outlined that if the baggage provisions of the different carriers are not the same, the policies of the Most Significant Carrier (MSC) will apply. The MSC is defined as the first operating carrier crossing IATA Areas or Sub-areas.

IATA dissects the world into three areas:
Area 1 covers the Americas, Area 2 covers Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Area 3 covers Asia-Pacific.

These are subdivided into Sub-areas. Area 1 is divided into USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean Islands, Central America and South Americas. Area 2 is divided into Europe, Middle East and Africa. Area 3 is divided into Japan and Korea, Southeast Asia, India and Southeast Pacific (Australasia).
The MSC is the first operating carrier flying the longest leg either between the three areas or the sub-areas. For travel within sub-areas, the policies of the carrier on the first international sector applies. Here are three examples which illustrate this:
Example 1
Flying from Berlin to Lisbon via London (all within a single sub-area) on British Airways and TAP, the MSC would be TAP as the second sector, LHR-LIS is longer than the first, TXL-LHR.

Example 2
For travel from Sydney to London via Hong Kong, for example, using both Qantas and British Airways, BA is the MSC since it is the carrier crossing between Area 3 and Area 2 (the longest sector).

Example 3
For travel between Los Angeles and New Delhi via London using American Airlines and British Airways, AA is the MSC as it operates the longest sector.

Note, the DOT of the United States and IATA policies are not fully aligned when it comes to codeshare flights. IATA states the MSC is defined as the operating carrier, whereas the DOT defines it as the marketing carrier so if you are travelling from or through the United States this is something to be mindful of.
If the entire journey is with one carrier, then these policies do not apply.


Connecting between London airports

If you have a flight connection between London's Heathrow and Gatwick, or City airports, BA is not able to through check your luggage between these airports, so you will have to collect your luggage on arrival and re-check at the connecting airport.

Last edited by Prospero; Jun 10, 16 at 10:58 am Reason: June 2016 update
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Old Sep 28, 14, 8:04 am
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Baggage retrieval

When things go right
narrative to follow

Re-check at US gateways
narrative to follow

When things go wrong
narrative to follow
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Old Sep 28, 14, 8:09 am
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I have been working on this guide for several months and thought I really should launch it, even if its not completely finished - it covers the basics but as someone who now rarely checks baggage into the hold, I'd value the crowd sourced input the BA forum excels at.

Cheers
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Old Sep 28, 14, 8:26 am
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Nice work, and good to see visual clarity on the 23/32kg conundrum that puzzles so many people. Might I suggest a comment in post #3 that highlights the "overweight exemption"? ... BA's explanation is almost designed to confuse!

My only criticism is the very small font used in the left (black) column, but then I suffer from "SmallFontPhobia" even when using my reading glasses
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Old Sep 28, 14, 8:47 am
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Originally Posted by T8191 View Post
Nice work, and good to see visual clarity on the 23/32kg conundrum that puzzles so many people. Might I suggest a comment in post #3 that highlights the "overweight exemption"? ... BA's explanation is almost designed to confuse!

My only criticism is the very small font used in the left (black) column, but then I suffer from "SmallFontPhobia" even when using my reading glasses
There is much more to the 23kg/32kg conundrum than my simplified explanation gives justice to. Codeshares really do complicate issues, particularly as the United States' DOT is not fully aligned with IATA on which airline’s policy is applicable. IATA says operating carrier, the DOT says marketing carrier. So inconsistencies may arise for oneworld Emerald/Sapphire members flying BA to/from the US on AA codeshares - provision of the 32 kg weight limit is technically at the mercy of AA’s own policy.

Thanks for the feedback - i can amend the posts to make the content more agreement to our readers with "SmallFontPhobia"
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Old Sep 28, 14, 8:54 am
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Originally Posted by Prospero View Post
I have been working on this guide for several months and thought I really should launch it, even if its not completely finished - it covers the basics but as someone who now rarely checks baggage into the hold, I'd value the crowd sourced input the BA forum excels at.
Looks good. A couple of points:

1. In the infographics, I think it should say 23/32 kg per item as that isn't clear.
2. Under sporting goods it's worth highlighting the rule for bikes, which is basically "if it looks like a bike bag then we take it no matter what size it is (within reason)". The 190cm rule applies, but the other dimensions are ignored.
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Old Sep 28, 14, 8:55 am
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Very useful!

Thanks Prospero.
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Old Oct 1, 14, 6:34 am
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Great summary Prospero - BA must have been waiting for you to produce this as they have just "enhanced" the extra/over weight baggage charges so some of the rates you quote are no longer current
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Old Oct 2, 14, 4:02 pm
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Beautiful!!! But ... BA confuses me.

I'm OW sapphire/silver. I'm flying in World Traveller class. My ticket LHR-YYZ tells me:
2 bags at 23kg (51lbs) per bag

From your post, it seems I should be able to carry 2*32 kg.
From https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb...ge-allowances# under additional allowances for frequent flyers it also seems I should be able to carry 2*32 kg.

Yet, my ticket tells me 2*23kg ...

Which one is it? The ticket 2*23 kg or the web site and your info 2*32 kg?
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Old Oct 2, 14, 4:17 pm
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Originally Posted by zinneken View Post
Which one is it? The ticket 2*23 kg or the web site and your info 2*32 kg?
In practice, you will be allowed 2 x 32 kg.

The position used to be that the ticketed allowance was 2 pieces, each no more than 23 kg, but that BA would then waive the heavy bag charge that it would normally apply for bags that are over 23 kg but no more than 32 kg. What's set out on your ticket receipt may reflect this.

I don't think we have official clarity on whether the current position is now technically different (ie the formal allowance is now 32 kg per bag for you), but this guide and the BA website are correct in practice even if it might be the case that the technical steps haven't been spelt out.
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