Airline Baggage Charges & Injuries

UPDATE: Air France-KLM have announced that as from 28 March that they have extended their policy on hold baggage so now you can carry up to 3 hold bags at no additional charge. Each can weigh up to 23kgs.In the last couple of years, putting your luggage in the hold has begun to be charged. On charter and no-frills flights, it is not unusual to pay anything between £8 and £14 or so for a case and maybe more for a second case. And that is for each part of the journey. In America, even the traditional carriers such as American, United, Delta, Continental and US Air charge for the first bag (and any other bags) on domestic routes. Over here, BA, Virgin Atlantic, Aer Lingus, Aer Arann, Air Southwest, Eastern Airways, Logonair, and BMI haven’t reached that stage though Flybe charges.

The obvious way to avoid paying hold luggage charges is to only carry hand luggage, the result being that some hand luggage is beginning to resemble the size of the kitchen sink. Some airlines limit hand baggage to 5, 7 or 10 kilos, others go by size. Some airlines turn a blind eye to the size of a bag and if you can lift it and place it in the overhead bin, that’s acceptable. But will that continue?

In the U.S, the union AFA-CWA which has 50,000 cabin crew as its members says that its research shows that 80% of its members have had injuries in the past year (mostly strained and pulled muscles) as a result of handling or dealing with luggage from the overhead bins. 50%% of those polled have said that they have seen carry on items falling from the bins.

Now they are calling for legislation to standardize the size/weight/number of bags allowed as carry on luggage. In fairness to them, the size and weight of bags is growing. There is enough passenger confusion from airline to ai the line on what is acceptable. A ladies handbag on one airline is allowed as an extra to a carry on with one airline but not on another. In fairness to the travelers, we are being squeezed between prices and rules. It is common sense to try and avoid baggage charges by carrying heavier hold baggage. It is also common sense to only carry what you can comfortably lift. But that discriminates against the elderly or smaller passengers who haven’t the build of weightlifters. Whichever way you look at it someone will be upset.

But I can foresee the type of rules the union wants becoming law. And the airlines will like it because the passengers will have to pay more to put that extra weight in the holds. It looks as though the passengers will lose out again in this ever-changing world of flying.

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