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British Airways offers a range of different ticket classes over both long haul and short haul routes. Each different ticket type has a different baggage allowance. Some routes also have their own rules, making it crucial that your check before you fly to avoid unnecessary charges when you arrive at the airport.
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The amount of baggage you can carry will depend on the ticket type you have - and the size of case or bag, and the accepted baggage weight, depends on whether it’s hand luggage or hold luggage. Here’s a run through of the options:
Your hand luggage is what you’ll bring into the plane cabin with you. British Airways allows 1 smaller bag - a handbag or laptop bag for example - and one larger hand luggage bag.¹
The cabin luggage size is relatively generous with the small bag up to 40cm x 30cm x 15cm, and 23 kilos. Your second bag can be even bigger - up to 56cm x 45cm x 25cm - and again can weigh as much as 23 kilos.
You’re sure to be able to carry your smaller bag in the cabin. However, if the flight is busy you may be asked to check your second hand luggage bag into the hold, so make sure any flight essentials and valuables are in your smaller bag.
Hold luggage bags should be no bigger than 90cm x 75cm x 43cm (or 35.5in x 29.5in x 16in) including the wheels and handles. If you have larger bags you may pay extra checked baggage fees - more on that later.
Here’s the hold baggage allowance by ticket type:
- Hand Baggage Only (Basic) tickets - no hold luggage is included in the ticket price.
- Economy Class tickets - 1 bag to a maximum of 23kg for most routes. There are some exceptions, where passengers can carry 2 bags, or a single heavier bag - double check your route details online.
- Premium Economy Class tickets - 2 bags, each a maximum of 23kg.
- Club Europe, Club World and Club World London City tickets - 2 bags, each a maximum of 32kg.
- First Class - 3 bags, each a maximum of 32kg.¹
Your hold luggage is the bags you’ll check in when you arrive at the airport. These larger bags are put in the hold of the aeroplane so you won’t be able to access them during the flight.
Checked luggage - or checked baggage - is another way of saying hold luggage. The terms are used interchangeably, but the meaning is the same.
It’s worth noting that each airline has its own baggage policy. If you’re taking a codeshare flight, or need to take connecting flights and will be using a different airline for part of your trip, you’ll need to double check the luggage allowances for all airlines involved.
If you need to carry more baggage than your ticket type allows, you can buy extra baggage allowance.²
If you want to bring more than one hold bag, it’s worth noting that you’ll usually have the option of upgrading your ticket to Premium Economy Class, Club Europe, or a Club World ticket. These ticket classes come with an automatic baggage allowance which is higher than the economy tickets - usually 2 bags of 23kg or 32kg.
The price of your extra luggage will depend on the route you’re flying, and when you bought your ticket. You’ll need to use the price calculator on the British Airways website to check the fee.
If you turn up at the airport with more baggage than you’ve bought, you’ll be charged £65, assuming your extra bag is under 32 kilos in weight. If your bag is heavier than 32kg, you’ll need to send it as unaccompanied baggage, which means you’ll pay a fee and your bag will arrive sometime after you do.
If you have too much hand baggage when you check in, you’ll need to put your bag into the hold. If that means you have more checked luggage than your ticket allows, you’ll have to pay extra fees. - £65 for a bag of under 23 kilos in weight.
Here’s a run through of the most important hand baggage limits and restrictions for flying British Airways:
- Liquids and gels must be under 100ml, and held in a clear 20cmx20cm bag. Different rules apply for duty free, some medicines, and baby milk.
- Regulations for carrying food vary from country to country, so you’ll need to check the details for your destination.
- Prams, pushchairs or wheelchairs can usually be taken as hand luggage but must be security screened.
- Electronic items may be restricted according to the country you’re flying to - check for your destination.³
The items which you can - and can not - carry in your hand luggage may vary a little based on the country you’re headed to. Check details for your destination before you travel.
There are many items which are restricted by law, and can’t be taken when you travel for safety reasons. British Airways has a full list of banned items online - covering the things you can’t take into a plane cabin, as well as items which aren’t allowed into a plane at all.
Here are some of the things you can’t take on a flight as hand luggage:
- Blades and sharp objects
- Chemicals and explosives
- Tools and blunt instruments which could be used as a weapon
- Firearms and ammunition⁴
You can take a bike on a British Airways flight, but you’ll need to inform the airline in advance that you’re bringing it. Your bike should be in a protective cover or case for the flight.⁵
You can fly with a pet on British Airways, but your pet will travel in the hold under the care of a specialist agent in charge of pet travel.⁶ If you’re flying out from the UK, the agent used is Pet Air UK, and you can fly cats, dogs and rabbits using this service.⁷ Don’t forget to check if your pet will also need a pet passport in order to travel with you.
You can contact British Airways customer service by phone, by choosing the right number for your location and query type, online. You can also submit an email form or use Twitter to get help.⁸
If you’re planning a trip abroad, you have a lot to think about. But by investing the time in advance, you can make sure you have a better break, and get the chance to really relax while you’re away.
Sort out any baggage queries you might have before you pack to be sure of a smooth check-in - and get yourself a Wise multi-currency account and linked Mastercard to make it cheap and easy to spend while you’re overseas.
- British Airways: Hand baggage allowance
- British Airways: Extra baggage
- British Airways: Baggage restrictions
- Direct Gov: Baggage restrictions
- British Airways: Sporting equipment and musical items
- British Airways: Travelling with Pets
- PetAir UK: Travelling with your pet
- British Airways: Contact
Sources checked: 14-February 2020.
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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