As the second largest airline in the United Kingdom, British Airways is a popular choice among travelers. With service to more than 180 destinations worldwide, British Airways is known for their large fleet and affordable fares. If you’re looking to book a flight with British Airways, be sure to make yourself familiar with their baggage policies and fees before you fly. While their policies are far from the most complex in the industry, they are generally based on cabin class, which can complicate things slightly. If you want to compare with another major airline, check the Delta baggage fees. If you want to compare with a smaller airline, you can check Scandinavian Airlines baggage fees.
British Airways Checked and Carry-On Allowances
Being aware of British Airways’ policies for checked and carry-on bags before your flight will help you plan and pack accordingly. From there, you may even be able to avoid excessive baggage fees, overweight/oversized baggage expenses, and other surprise costs. In turn, you’ll enjoy having more money to spend on experiences during your trip!
Checked Bag Allowances and Fees
British Airways is one of many airlines that bases checked baggage fees and allowances on the type of fare booked. Their cheapest fare option is the Basic fare, which doesn’t include any checked bags. Economy class fares include one bag weighing up to 50 pounds, whereas Premium Economy fares include up to two 50-pound checked bags.
Step it up to Business class and you’ll enjoy your first two checked bags free with a larger weight allowance of up to 70 pounds. First-class passengers are entitled to three checked bags at a maximum of 70 pounds each.
Regardless of your fare booked, checked bags may not measure greater than 35.5″ x 29.5″ x 16″. When measuring your bags to ensure they’re not too large, be sure to include any handles, luggage wheels, or other accessories in your measurements. Overweight and oversized bags will be assessed additional fees on British Airways.
Carry-On Allowances and Fees
All ticketed passengers on British Airways are entitled to bring one handbag and one standard carry-on bag free of charge. Personal items may measure no greater than 16″ x 12″ x 6″ and weigh no greater than 50 pounds, whereas standard carry-ons can be a bit larger at a maximum of 22″ x 18″ x 10″ and 50 pounds. The exception to this is for flights to or from Brazil, which have a slightly larger personal item allowance of 18″ x 14″ x 8″.
Be sure that your carry-ons conform to these measurements and weights prior to your flight. If your bag is too big, you will be asked to check it at the gate and will be required to pay any applicable fees for doing so.
What About Infants, Strollers, and Baby Gear?
If you’re traveling with an infant or child under the age of 2, he or she may ride in your lap at no additional charge and without the need for a ticket. When traveling with a lap child, you may also bring one additional bag measuring no greater than 22″ x 18″ x 10″ and weighing no more than 50 pounds. This can be anything from a diaper bag to a breast pump.
If you’re bringing a stroller along, you can also check one per-child for free at the gate. Smaller strollers can be stowed on the flight and available at your gate upon arrival, whereas larger strollers will need to be picked up at baggage claim following your flight.
Charges For Additional Bags and Overweight Luggage
If you need to check more bags than what your fare already includes, you can purchase additional checked baggage. Fees can vary greatly depending on your fare type and destination. For Basic fares, you can expect to pay anywhere from $40-$100 for a checked bag on a short-haul flight. For long-haul flights, you could end up paying anywhere from $90-$100 for your first and second bags and $180-$200 for each additional bag after that.
Since additional baggage fees can vary so much depending on your fare and route, it’s best to contact the airline directly prior to your flight to determine exactly how much you’ll need to pay.
Be sure to weigh and measure your checked bags prior to your flight to ensure they conform to British Airways’ requirements. Remember that bags on Economy class should not weigh more than 50 pounds, whereas Business and First class fares can check bags of up to 70 pounds each. Overweight baggage fees can total $100 per bag, so you’ll want to avoid them whenever possible.
Saving On British Airways Baggage Fees (Or Avoiding Them Altogether)
There are plenty of ways to save money on baggage fees when flying British Airways or possibly even avoid baggage fees altogether.
Weigh and Measure Baggage to Avoid Additional Fees
Overweight and oversized baggage fees on British Airways, like most airlines, can be pretty expensive. Taking the time to actually weigh and measure your bags before leaving for the airport can be a great way to avoid these costs. Use a luggage scale to weigh your bags for the most accurate weight; if your bag is overweight, consider removing some items or transferring some of them to your carry-on bag instead.
When measuring your bags for size, be sure to include any wheels or handles in your measurement for accuracy. Take time to measure your carry-on bags to make sure they conform to the airline’s requirements as well. Otherwise, you may be asked to check your bag and pay additional fees at the gate.
Seek Reimbursement From Your Credit Card Company
Some credit card companies offer reimbursement for baggage fees and other eligible travel expenses, so consider checking with your credit card to see if this is something you’re entitled to. If so, you may be able to pay for your baggage fees using your eligible credit card and then submit an application for account credit or reimbursement with your credit card company. Keep in mind that most credit card companies that offer this perk will only reimburse for standard baggage fees (not oversized or overweight fees, for example).
Become an Executive Club Member
If you fly with British Airways regularly, look into becoming an Executive Club member. This loyalty program allows travelers to earn points/airline miles that can be redeemed for perks, such as free checked baggage.
Book the Appropriate Fare for Your Baggage Needs
If you know you will need to check baggage, you may want to avoid booking a Basic fare, since this fare type will not include any checked baggage at all. By booking the right fare based on your luggage needs, you may be able to avoid additional luggage costs.
Pay for Additional Bags Online
When purchasing additional baggage beyond what your fare includes, you can generally save money by purchasing online rather than waiting until you get to the airport. For example, a checked bag for a Basic fare can be purchased for short-haul flights for just $60 online compared to $100 at the airport.
British Airways Baggage Policies: Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about baggage policies and fees when flying with British Airways.
What are size and weight limits for checked bags on British Airways flights?
Weight limits for checked bags can vary by fare, with Economy class weight limits being 50 pounds per checked bag. Business and First class fares can check bags weighing up to 70 pounds at no additional cost. Size limits for checked bags are the same regardless of fare, with maximum measurements of 35.5″ x 29.5″ x16″. Overweight and oversized bags may be subjected to additional fees.
Is it possible to pre-pay for baggage on British Airways?
Yes, and doing so could actually save you money on your baggage fees. You can pre-pay for baggage directly on the British Airways site at the time of booking or any time leading up to your flight’s departure. Paying for additional baggage online before your flight is generally cheaper than waiting until you get to the airport, too, so this can save you both money and hassle.
What if I’m traveling with special equipment?
If you’ll be flying with any special equipment, such as sporting goods or musical instruments, you’ll want to contact British Airways directly before your flight to find out whether you will be subjected to any additional fees. British Airways is pretty good about accommodating these items, but their policies can vary depending on what type of special equipment or special suitcases you’re bringing.
What are the best ways to save on British Airways baggage fees?
There are plenty of ways to save on baggage fees with British Airways, such as pre-paying for additional baggage online rather than waiting until you get to the airport. You can also save by avoiding overweight and oversized baggage fees, which is easy to do by using a luggage scale to weigh your bags before you leave for the airport. Booking the appropriate fare for your baggage needs can also save you money, since all fares aside from Basic Economy come with some checked baggage included.