This is probably one of the biggest causes of issues that I encounter in my life as a cruise specialist.
As we book tailor-made itineraries which often include flights, Tours, transfers and Cruises, reconciling these is not as easy as you think.
Take cruise lines for instance! Most of them have no limit or have large allowances, as to what can be taken on-board. However, add a flight to that and suddenly you are restricted by the baggage allowance on the flight. On average around 23kgs is common but again this varies from airline to airline and sometimes between fares on the same airline. Bear in mind you may also have different carriers going out and back with different allowances.
If you are wanting to take a particular number of cases, then please make this very clear at the quoting stage to ensure you have no nasty surprises later.
Internal flights in places like South America and Asia are often lower than the international allowances, commonly only 20kgs but I have seen them as low as 15kgs. Some can be topped up, but some cannot, so this means customers have to pay extra luggage at the airport and most don’t want the hassle of having to do this. Please understand it is not us that make the regulations.
As well as flights, Tours often restrict the luggage you can take as coaches etc can only take one suitcase per passenger and I have known them to have a weight limit of 20gs or similar as well. In addition to this, the hand luggage they allow may state it has to be a soft bag, so no small cabin size cases as they have to go in overhead storage areas and may not fit.
Then we come to Transfers. Most transfer companies allow one suitcase and piece of hand luggage per passenger but if you are taking more than this you must make sure we are aware so appropriate transfers can be arranged. You may find if not, that your luggage does not fit in or they make a charge to you directly for taking excess. Never assume it will be ok.
If you have upgraded your flights to Premium or Business class, do not assume this means you can take extra luggage. Again, you may be restricted by tour regulations, internal flights and other factors. Including transfers. If you intend to take two cases each and have no internal flights or tours to restrict you, make sure your transfer will allow the luggage too. You may have to get a bigger vehicle at a supplement.
Then we come to the conundrum which is American internal flights. If the internal flight is booked as a multi-stop with international flights it may well include luggage, however, if it has to be booked as a separate internal flight it will not. This luggage cannot be added before you travel and paid for directly with the airline, it has to be paid for on check-in from $25-$35 per case typically. What is this all about? Surely it is easier to allow passengers to add this online before they travel thus saving issues and time at check-in? it is ludicrous!
Then we come to the charges if your baggage allowances are over. If you think you are just going to pop your bag on the scale and they will ignore the fact that you are 3 kgs over, then think again and charges at the airport for excess weight can be horrendous. You may have to pay for an extra bag from £30 to £70 or per kilo which can be £10 to £20 per kilo.
TOP TIP: If you are going away for a shorter duration, check if your airline has a decent carry on allowance.
You may well be able to get away without taking a hold suitcase at all and save yourself money and time hanging about to collect baggage at the other end.
It really does pay to be baggage Savvy.
If you don’t know then ask before you book so you have no surprises.
As always I would love to hear about your luggage nightmares, hefty fees or tops tips if you have any!