Offering budget-friendly fares to more than 70 destinations worldwide, Thai Airways is a very popular airline that has been in operation for nearly 60 years. If you’ve recently booked a flight with Thai Airways or are considering a trip with this airline, you’ll want to take time to research their unique baggage policies and fees ahead of time. This is especially true if you’re using to flying with airlines that implement a piece-concept policy for checked bags, where you’re permitted a certain number of checked bags based on your fare and route.
With Thai Airways, flights are instead subject to what’s known as a weight-concept policy for checked baggage as opposed to what you might expect with other airline baggage fees such as Scandinavian Airlines baggage fees. This means your allowance for checked bags is based not on a specific number of bags, but total weight. This can be a confusing concept to some travelers, but with the right preparation and planning, you may actually find that a piece-concept policy for checked bags can really work in your favor.
Thai Airways Checked and Carry-On Allowances
Familiarizing yourself with Thai Airways’ policies for both checked luggage and carry-on baggage before your trip will help you pack wisely and potentially avoid surprise fees at the airport. The best way to find out exactly what your allowances are is to contact the airline directly with your flight information, but there are some general policies and fees that may help you plan and budget for your trip in the meantime.
Checked Bag Allowances and Fees
Since Thai Airlines implements a weight-concept policy for checked bags on all flights, you’re never limited on the total number of bags you can check for your flight. You are limited, however, in the total amount of weight of these bags. Specific weight allowances can vary based on your route and the type of fare you’ve booked.
On domestic flights, there are three different fare types available: Economy, Premium Economy, and Royal Silk. For Economy and Premium Economy fares on domestic flights, checked baggage weight allowances are typically 66 pounds (30kg). That weight allowance increases to 88 pounds (40kg) for Royal Silk fares.
On international flights, Thai Airways offers four fare options: Economy, Premium Economy, Royal Silk, and Royal First Class. Economy fares are permitted a checked baggage weight allowance of up to 66 pounds (30kg), whereas both Premium Economy and Royal Silk fares have a higher allowance of up to 88 pounds (40kg). Royal First fares have the highest weight allowance of up to 110 pounds (50kg).
Unlike many airlines, Thai Airways does not have a maximum size allowance for carry-on baggage. As you can see, they’re more focused on weight.
Carry-On Allowances and Fees
Carry-on allowances for Thai Airways are a little more straight-forward and do not vary by class or route. Specifically, all ticketed passengers are permitted one free personal item and one free standard carry-on bag.
There are some size and weight restrictions on carry-on luggage, however. Personal items, for example, should not measure any larger than 15″ x 10″ x 5″ (37.5cm x 25cm x 12.5cm) and may not exceed 3.3 pounds (1.5kg) in weight. These rules are a little stricter than most airlines, so be sure to measure and weigh your personal item if there are any questions as to whether or not it will conform to these requirements.
Standard carry-on bags, on the other hand, should not measure greater than 22″ x 18″ x 10″ (56cm x 45cm x 25cm) and may not exceed 15 pounds (7kg). If either your personal or standard carry-on is too large or heavy, you will be required to check it and will be responsible for any applicable fees.
What About Infants, Strollers, and Baby Gear?
If you’ll be traveling with a lap infant for your Thai Airways flight, you are entitled to additional carry-on allowances. Specifically, this airline allows for infant food/milk to be brought aboard in reasonable quantities at no additional charge. You may also bring a collapsible stroller to check for free, as well as an additional piece of checked luggage for your infant.
Charges For Additional Bags and Overweight Luggage
Thai Airways charges for excess baggage can be rather confusing, as fees can vary greatly based not only on your destination, but where you depart from as well. Keep in mind that because this airline follows a weight-concept policy for checked baggage, you actually don’t pay for each additional bag, but by the kilogram instead. Generally, you can expect to pay between $1.75 and $4 per kilogram of additional weight on a domestic flight.
Charges for excess baggage on international flights tend to be much higher, ranging anywhere from about $12 per kilogram to $70 or more! The best way to find out your exact rate will be to contact the airline directly in the days leading up to your flight. Generally, the longer your flight, the more you’ll pay for excess baggage—and high excess baggage fees are in place to discourage passengers from bringing more than their standard allowance.
Saving On Thai Airways Baggage Fees (Or Avoiding Them Altogether)
There are plenty of ways to save money on baggage fees with Thai Airways or even avoid these costs altogether.
Get Reimbursed By Your Credit Card
Some credit card companies offer reimbursement for eligible baggage fees, so check with yours (especially if you have a travel credit card). Be sure to follow all required guidelines for receiving reimbursement or an account credit. Most credit card companies offering this perk, for example, will require you to use your credit card to pay for your baggage fees.
Limit Luggage to Carry-Ons or Included Baggage
Since all fares on Thai Airways come with at least some checked baggage included (as well as a personal and standard carry-on luggage), you can most likely avoid paying any baggage fees by simply planning and packing for your trip accordingly. This will be much easier if you have a shorter trip where you don’t need to pack as much luggage. Even on a longer trip, however, you might be able to avoid baggage fees by limiting what you pack to your carry-ons and included baggage, even if this means having to do a load of laundry during your trip.
Become a Star Alliance or Royal Orchid Platinum/Silver Member
Thai Airways offers a frequent flyer program, known as Royal Orchid, that can entitle you to additional checked baggage weight. For example, Platinum members can enjoy up to 66 pounds (30kg) of additional checked bags on some routes, with Silver members receiving an additional 22-pound (10kg) allowance.
If you’re already a Star Alliance member, you can take advantage of this with additional baggage allowances as well. Did you know that Thai Airways was actually the founder of the Star Alliance program? With your membership, you’ll receive an additional checked baggage weight allowance of 44 pounds (20kg) regardless of your fare type.
Weigh Bags to Avoid Additional Fees
Because excess baggage fees with Thai Airways are charged by the kilogram, they can really add up quickly—especially if you have bags that are well above your permitted weight allowance. Taking the time to weigh your bags using a luggage scale is by far the best way to avoid these additional fees before your flight. If you’ve exceeded your limit, consider lightening your load or moving some items to your carry-on baggage (just be careful, as there are weight limits imposed on carry-on luggage as well).
Thai Airways Baggage Policies: Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we receive about Thai Airways baggage fees and policies.
How can I pre-pay for baggage with Thai Airways?
You can pre-pay for luggage with Thai Airways online up to 24 hours before your flight. You can do this by logging in using your specific flight information. Pre-paying will not save you any money on your baggage fees, but it can save you some time at the airport.
How much will I pay to add excess luggage to my fare?
Excess luggage is charged by the kilogram, with fees varying widely depending on whether you’re flying domestically or internationally. The best way to find out your per-kilogram fee for overweight/excess baggage is to contact the airline directly before your flight.
What if I’ll be traveling with special equipment?
Special fees may apply for checking special equipment, such as sporting goods or media gear. Check out Thai Airways specific policies for special equipment on their website or contact them directly for more information. In some cases, you may be able to avoid additional fees by letting the airline know of your special equipment needs ahead of time so they can make necessary accommodations, but this can vary.
How much luggage can I carry-on a Thai Airways flight?
All Thai Airways passengers are permitted one personal item in addition to one standard carry-on bag for all routes, regardless of fare. Strict size and weight limits do apply, however, so plan accordingly.