As the largest airline in Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific is a popular choice among travelers. Not only does this airline provide service to nearly 200 destinations worldwide, but it is also known for its budget-friendly fares and generous baggage allowances.
If you’ll be flying with Cathay Pacific in the near future, familiarizing yourself with their baggage fees and policies before you start packing can help you plan accordingly and potentially save you some money. After all, who wants to spend more than they need for luggage? Want to compare the baggage fees with another major airline? Check out the Delta baggage fees.
Cathay Pacific Checked and Carry-On Allowances
While Cathay Pacific is known for their generous baggage allowances, their fees can be a bit confusing because they’re typically based not only on the type of fare you book, but on your specific route as well. Still, there are some general guidelines worth keeping in mind as you prepare for a flight with Cathay Pacific. It can also be helpful to contact the airline directly prior to your trip if you have questions about your baggage allowances or fees.
Checked Bag Allowances and Fees
Cathay Pacific is one of many airlines that bases baggage allowances on fare and route. The nice thing about flying with this airline, however, is that all fares include at least some checked baggage. One area where checked baggage policies can get complicated, however, is with weight allowances; this is because specific weight allowances can vary depending on the type of fare you book and where you’re traveling.
On most flights, Economy fares are entitled to two free checked bags weighing no more than 66 pounds total. This total increases to 77 pounds for Premium Economy fares and 88 pounds for Business fares. Those flying First Class with Cathay Pacific will enjoy three free checked bags with a total weight limit of 110 pounds.
Some routes, however, have smaller weight allowances. For example, flights to or from the Americas have a maximum total weight limit on checked bags of 50 pounds for Economy fares, 55 pounds for Premium Economy fares, and 70 pounds for Business and First Class fares.
Carry-On Allowances and Fees
Cathay Pacific, like many airlines, allows all ticketed passengers to bring one free personal item and one free standard-size item aboard each flight. Personal items should specifically measure no greater than 6″ x 12″ x 16″ and usually include something like a small purse, laptop bag, or briefcase. A personal item can usually fit underneath the seat in front of you during your flight or, in some cases, may be stowed in an overhead bin.
Standard-sized carry-on items have maximum measurements of 22″ x 14″ x 9′, which includes any handles or wheels on the bag itself. You can check our carry-on size guide if you have further questions. However, weight allowances for carry-on items can vary based on fare booked. For example, Economy and Premium Economy passengers can bring standard carry-ons weighing up to 15 pounds, whereas that weight limit increases to 22 pounds for Business fares and 33 pounds for First Class fares.
Be aware that if you bring a carry-on item that is too large (based on the above size restrictions) to the gate, you will be required to check it and pay any applicable fees.
What About Infants, Strollers, and Baby Gear?
Children under the age of two do not require a ticket if they remain on your lap for the duration of the flight. If you’ll be flying with a lap infant, you’ll also be allowed to bring one additional piece of luggage for them (such as a diaper bag) at no extra charge. Just be sure that the total dimensions of the bag do not exceed 45 linear inches. You can also bring a car seat and stroller at no charge when traveling with a lap infant.
Charges For Additional Bags and Overweight Luggage
Cathay Pacific is a little unconventional when it comes to how they charge for additional bags or luggage beyond their permitted weight/size limits. In most cases, you’ll pay a sliding scale fee based on how overweight your bag is. With this in mind, it’s generally best to contact the airline directly before your flight to find out exactly what to expect in terms of these fees. Overweight and oversized baggage fees can also vary depending on your route. Regardless, you can generally expect to pay between $12 and $60 for an overweight bag on short-haul flights but up to $280 for a longer-haul flight to the Americas.
Because overweight baggage fees can vary so considerably, it’s a good idea to use a luggage scale prior to your trip to ensure that your bags are within your weight allowance based on your fare and route. Also, be sure to carefully measure your bags and take into account any wheels or handles when measuring the dimensions. In addition, make sure you pack according to the TSA guidelines.
Another thing to keep in mind when flying with Cathay Pacific is that charges for additional baggage can vary greatly as well. For example, if your bags are within your designated weight allowance but you wish to bring an extra bag, you’ll need to contact the airline to see if they will work with you on waiving your extra baggage fee or charging you accordingly based on total weight. Unlike many other airlines, Cathay Pacific is much more focused on weight than they are number of bags.
Saving On Cathay Pacific Baggage Fees (Or Avoiding Them Altogether)
There are plenty of ways to save money on your baggage fees when flying with Cathay Pacific. In some cases, you may even be able to avoid paying baggage fees altogether.
Get Reimbursed By Your Credit Card
If you have a travel rewards credit card, check to see if it offers baggage fee reimbursement as one of its perks. Some credit card companies, such as Chase and Capital one, offer reimbursement or account credits for applicable baggage fees when you use the card to pay for these expenses. Just be sure to contact your credit card company ahead of time to find out what steps you’ll need to take in order to be reimbursed appropriately.
Become a Marco Polo or oneworld Member
If you do a lot of flying with Cathay Pacific, look into becoming a member of their Marco Polo club, which is a rewards program that allows you to earn and redeem points towards travel perks—including free luggage. Specific baggage perks can vary depending on whether you’re a Green-, Silver-, Gold-, or Diamond-tier member and which type of fare you book.
If you’re a oneworld member, it is also worth noting that Cathay Pacific participates in this program; you could be entitled to reduced or waived baggage fees as a member.
Book an Appropriate Fare
Since all fares and routes come with at least some checked baggage included, you might consider booking a fare based on how many bags you think you’ll need or the total weight of your baggage.
Limit Luggage to Carry-Ons
If you’re taking a short trip that won’t require a lot of luggage, consider making an effort to limit what you pack to your carry-on items instead of bringing checked bags. This will save you money and can also help you avoid the time and hassle of waiting at the baggage carousel once you land.
Cathay Pacific Baggage Policies: Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about baggage policies and fees when flying with Cathay Pacific.
Are there weight and size restrictions on baggage?
Yes, and weight limits can vary greatly depending on the type of fare you’ve booked as well as your specific route. Economy and Economy Premium passengers tend to have the lowest weight allowances, whereas Business and First Class passengers receive the highest. Size restrictions are the same across-the-board, regardless of where you’re traveling or the specific fare you’ve booked.
Is there a way to pre-pay for baggage with Cathay Pacific?
Yes, you can pay for your baggage ahead of time through the Cathay Pacific website or by calling the airline directly at 1-800-233-2742. Doing so will not save you any money, but it will save you time and hassle once you arrive at the airport.
How many checked bags are included with my fare?
The number of checked bags will depend on the type of fare you’ve booked and where you’re traveling. Most fares will come with two checked bags, but for longer flights, First Class fares may receive up to three checked bags. Just be sure to take into account your total checked bag weight allowance based on your fare and route to avoid additional fees.
What if I’m traveling with special equipment?
If you’ll be traveling with any special equipment, such as musical instruments or sporting goods, contact the airline directly at least a few days before your flight. Additional fees may be required, or the airline may need to know about your items ahead of time to make special arrangements for handling. This is especially important if you’ll be traveling with any fragile items.