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How much will being overweight cost you?

Someone carrying a suitcasePiling on the holiday pounds in your suitcase can cost pounds of the cash variety if you’re over the designated weight limit at check-in. 

Baggage deals with airlines vary when it comes to how much you can take in both cabin and hold luggage.

And the price you'll pay the airline to carry your luggage will vary too.

You'll pay around £32 for 20kg of hold luggage with easyJet if you book in advance.

Beware excess charges

But bowl up on the day with a bulging suitcase and for every kilo you are over the 20kg limit you’ll pay £10.

Ryanair's excess baggage charge is double the price at £20 per kg and more expensive still is Emirates which charges up to £25 per kg for overweight baggage.

Book a holiday with a scheduled airline or one that includes a charter flight and you can often get 'free' baggage allowance in the hold.

However, do check limits and sizes carefully as there's no blanket deal. 

I recently booked a last minute trip to Greece and the price included a 'free' 15kg allowance in the hold plus 5kg as hand luggage. 

This seemed a luxury for me considering my last trip to Marrakech had meant stuffing everything into a 10kg cabin bag to avoid Ryanair’s hefty hold charges. 

Read the small print

But not everyone had read the small print.

A family ahead of us had packed nearly 20kg into each of their four cases which meant a big bill before they’d even set foot on the plane.

Travel expert Michael Robey from airport lounge company No.1 Traveller says: "Book excess baggage before you get to the airport.

"With an airline like easyJet you can do this on the day you travel, providing it’s before check-in opens.

"With scheduled carriers like Emirates you should be able to do this up to 48 hours before your flight."

With holiday airlines like Thomson, prices start from £15 for an extra 5kg and can be pre-booked up to three days before departure.

But leave it too late and its on-the-day excess baggage charge is between £12 and £17 per kg depending on where you’re flying to.

Check child allowances

Robey adds: "If you’re travelling with children check allowances for infants as these can vary too.

"If you think you’re likely to be over your limit save money by booking extra hold luggage in advance.

If you’re flying with an airline that has no weight limit on cabin luggage, like easyJet, it’s worth sticking any excess stuff from your main case into your hand luggage rather than risk additional charges on the day.

But do check your bulging cabin case doesn't exceed any requirements on the size of your luggage as many airlines have restrictions on the height, width and depth of hand luggage.

Buy an extra seat

Depending on what you’re taking, some airlines, like Ryanair, will allow you to buy an extra seat for your luggage, say if you’re taking a musical instrument. 

This could work out much cheaper than paying the fixed charges for musical instruments of up to £120 on a return flight.

Finally, don't forget to shop around for cheap travel insurance and you're good to go.




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Sue Hayward

Carl Chambers

Sue Hayward is a personal finance broadcaster, journalist and author. Sue talks and writes on money matters including chatting on BBC Radio & TV as well as contributing to magazines, websites and newspapers. Sue's also written two books; the latest of which is 'How To Get The Best Deal'.

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