Air China Luggage Allowance: Your Guide

Samuel Clennett

As China’s flag carrier, Air China offers flights all over the world. If you’re about to head off on a trip with Air China, you’ll want to understand your luggage allowance before you get packing.

Each airline has its own policy for how much baggage you can take away with you, so getting the details in advance is a smart way to avoid excess fees at the check in counter. This guide gives a rundown of all you need to know.

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Checked Luggage vs Carry on?

One thing that makes airline luggage allowances confusing is that there are different rules for the bags you check in, and those you can take into the plane’s cabin with you.

Checked luggage refers to the larger bags you hand over when you arrive at the airport. These are put into the hold of the plane, so you won’t be able to access them during your flight. You should avoid putting any flight essentials, or valuables, into your checked bags.

Your carry on bags - also called hold luggage or cabin bags - are the smaller bags you take into the plane with you. There are rules about what you can - and can’t - put into cabin bags, so do check the details out for your destination before you pack.

So, What does it cost?

Exactly what you can take with you on your Air China flight will depend on the ticket type you buy, as well as the route you’re flying. If you need to pack more than is covered by your ticket you can buy additional baggage capacity, or extra bags, but there’s a fee to do so. Prices are worked out according to a relatively complex table of routes, weights and sizes, although some items like wheelchairs, strollers or medical equipment may be exempt. Read the small print online before you pack¹,²,³,⁴.

Economy Class

If you hold an Economy Class ticket, you can take the following:

  • 1 piece of carry on baggage, up to a maximum weight of 5kg. Your bag should be able to fit into the overhead locker or under the seat in front of you, to a maximum size of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm
  • Passengers can carry one or two pieces of hold luggage, depending on the route being taken, which can weigh up to a maximum of 23kg. If you’re travelling Premium Economy, you should be able to take 2 items - if you’re flying with a regular Economy ticket, you’ll need to double check your route to confirm the relevant hold luggage allowance

Business and First Class

  • 2 pieces of carry on baggage, up to a maximum weight of 8kg each. Your bags should be able to fit into the overhead locker or under the seat in front of you, to a maximum size of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm
  • 2 pieces of hold luggage can be taken, which can weigh up to a maximum of 32kg each

Buying extra baggage allowance

If you need to carry more than your ticket allows, you can pay extra to do so. On domestic flights in China this fee will be calculated based on 1.5% of an adult economy price ticket per kilo excess baggage⁵.

For international flights you’ll be charged based on the number of standard sized extra bags you want to take. The price will depend on the route you’re flying - here’s an overview of the typical costs. Check the full details for your destination, online.

Extra baggageFee range⁶
First extra bagUSD140 - USD225 depending on the route
Second extra bagUSD140 - USD310 depending on the route
Third extra bag, and any subsequent items up to the maximum available on your routeUSD200 - USD460 depending on the route

Can I take sports equipment as checked baggage?

You can take sports equipment onto an Air China flight, but may need to pay extra for this service. The policy varies according to the type of equipment you’re carrying and the weight, so it’s essential to check online to see what rules are applied to your specific situation⁴.

For example, if you want to carry golf clubs you may be able to do so without an extra charge if they are covered by your baggage allowance - or pay an additional fee if they’re too heavy. If you’re hoping to ski, you may be able to transport your skis for free, but may need to pay an extra charge to pack poles. Transporting large items like surfboards will also involve paying an extra charge.

What are the fees for excess or oversized baggage?

If you have baggage which is larger or heavier than the normal size allowed on your Air China flight, you’ll be charged an extra fee⁶.

Extra baggage typeFee range
Bags which are larger or heavier than the Air China standardPrice is calculated based on how overweight or oversized the item is, and the route being flown. Fees range from USD30 to USD300

Planning your packing in advance makes sense. It’ll save you time and money at the airport, as arriving at check in with more bags than you’re allowed will result in charges. Not the perfect start to your break!

Another way to make sure your holiday goes smoothly is to use a currency specialist like Wise to arrange your travel money.

Get yourself a Transferwise multi-currency account online before you head off, and you can hold and spend dozens of currencies, and manage your money online via an app. Use your linked Mastercard to spend wherever you see the Mastercard logo, and you won’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees or exchange rate markups, leaving you more to spend on yourself.

Sources:

  1. AirChina Carry on Baggage
  2. AirChina Checked Baggage Rules
  3. AirChina Checked Baggage International Rules
  4. AirChina Special Baggage Charges
  5. AirChina Overweight Baggage Charges
  6. AirChina Excess Baggage Rules

Sources accurate as of March 9 2020


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