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Why Do US Flights Get More Baggage Allowance?  
User currently offlineAukahkay From Singapore, joined Nov 2005, 69 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 10231 times:

The usual baggage allowance for economy class is 20 kg for most international airlines.
However, when travelling to and from the US, the baggage allowance is increased to two pieces of luggage not exceeding 70 lbs (32 kg) each which means that the total baggage allowance is 64 kg!
I have often wondered why there is this discrepancy between flights to the US and flights to other international destinations. Are American air travellers in the habit of bringing more luggage than travellers from other parts of the world?

48 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineGSPITNL From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 374 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 10221 times:

You have never seen my mother pack for a weekend trip! LOL

I think that Americans do tend to overpack and bring more than they really need. I am guilty of doing it!



Fly Delta - The Only Way To Fly! Silver Medallion Baby :)
User currently offlineG4resagent From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 300 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 10210 times:

I admit I am guilty of it also. I have to pay extra when returning from a trip for my bag being to heavy too!

User currently offlineAukahkay From Singapore, joined Nov 2005, 69 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 10210 times:

Has this American tendency to overpack been translated into civil aviation regulations giving more generous luggage allowance for flights to and from the US?

User currently offlineGSPITNL From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 374 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 10201 times:

I would say that it is a part of the reason, yes.


Fly Delta - The Only Way To Fly! Silver Medallion Baby :)
User currently offlineJano From Slovakia, joined Jan 2004, 827 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 10183 times:

Quoting Aukahkay (Thread starter):
However, when travelling to and from the US, the baggage allowance is increased to two pieces of luggage not exceeding 70 lbs (32 kg) each which means that the total baggage allowance is 64 kg!

This used to be the case. At least on NW. And my guess is others followed.

It was 2x 70lb, then 2x 70 lb for elites only, now it's 2x 50lb only with some exceptions. See http://www.nwa.com/travel/luggage/checked.html



The Widget Air Line :)
User currently offlineCaptaink From Mexico, joined May 2001, 5109 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 10178 times:

Well it used to be 2 pieces at 32kg to all international destinations. This however has been changed, now being 2/20kg as i found out when I flew JFK/MIA/MEX earlier this month on AA. Bags between 20kg and 32kg carry an extra USD25 charge. AA has exceptions keeping the 2/32kg on certain routes such as

Bogota, Colombia (BOG)
Cali, Colombia (CLO)
Managua, Nicaragua (MGA)
Medellin, Colombia (MDE)
Port-au-Prince, Haiti (PAP)
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (POP)
San Pedro Sula, Honduras (SAP)
San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL)
Santiago, Dominican Republic (STI)
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (SDQ)
Tegucigalpa, Honduras (TGU)



There is something special about planes....
User currently offlineSeanp11 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 290 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 10161 times:

I bring alot of dirty laundry home from college....

User currently offlineM404 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2227 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 10136 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Having worked International flights for the last 10 years I'd have to say it's the other way around. Non-native US citizens carry far more as do non-US citizens.


Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
User currently offline3201 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 10125 times:

Americans are DENSER packers. I'm always amazed at LHR or FRA when I see these enormous suitcases and I think "I could never carry that, how is that 12-year-old middle-eastern/south asian girl lugging it around" and then they open it up (for reasons I don't understand either), and it's 2/3 empty space.

My bags are small, but they're packed completely full, I always volume-limit myself and push it right up to that limit. The first time I ran into that silly weight-limit for carry-on's that many non-American carriers have, I was in big trouble.


User currently offlineSuperhub From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2006, 478 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10097 times:

This is my first post on Airliners.net

I guess the more generous allowance is due to the supersize-me culture in the US. A lot of things seem to be more generous in the US, from McDonald's portions, to cheap (relative to the UK) petrol prices, to baggage allowances.

I travel a lot on HKG-SFO, HKG-LHR, LHR-SFO sectors, and I definitely prefer flying to/from the US than other places - I can always pack my luggages full without worrying about the weight restrictions. 32kg is amazingly generous! I do wish it gets implemented worldwide.


User currently offlineKiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8572 posts, RR: 13
Reply 11, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 10044 times:
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Quoting 3201 (Reply 9):
My bags are small, but they're packed completely full, I always volume-limit myself and push it right up to that limit. The first time I ran into that silly weight-limit for carry-on's that many non-American carriers have, I was in big trouble.

but what do you actually take ?

I have never been able to figure this out ... if I am correct most Americans take ridiculously short vacations (I am sure that I read somewhere the legal minimum vacation an employer has to offer is only 2 weeks annually .. or am I wrong ?) and yet they seem to take so much with them . I went off travelling for 18 months and easily fit inside the 20KG limit so I am always puzzled when I see people go for a week vacation with 2 huge suitcases that they can barely lift - when I worked in the hospitality industry in Scotland I can recall Americans coming for a long weekend (maybe 3-4 days ) from the East Coast of the USA and yet they still would have two huge suitcases each ... all the staff used to watch them like hawks everytime they came out of their rooms ... we were expecting them to change clothes 5 or 6 times a day ... but I never saw anything that totalled up to more than the contents of a small holdall ... so please , if it doesn't involve giving away any national secret what is all that stuff that most Americans take on vacation but never actually unpack ???



Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlineAukahkay From Singapore, joined Nov 2005, 69 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 10013 times:

Quoting M404 (Reply 8):
Having worked International flights for the last 10 years I'd have to say it's the other way around. Non-native US citizens carry far more as do non-US citizens.

Are you referring to flights between the US and Central America and Mexico on AA? From what Captaink posted, it seems like the Latin Americans tend to carry a lot of luggage.


User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7305 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 9934 times:

I think the biggest reason for the US allowances is shopping, shopping, shopping. Many American's travel abroad and shop a lot, souvenirs, etc. Many countries close to the US, have residents who travel there to take advantage of low prices, so we take more bags and pay the extra overweight charges. Just ask the spotters who frequent Mia, FLL, NYC, ATL - East Coast, sure the same applies on the West Coast - how much baggage is loaded on those flights, AA A300's to Central America usually have holds that are full, and this is in addition to all the exclusive cargo carriers who fly some of the same routes. Bear in mind that ferries like you have in Europe do not exist in this part of the world, except Canada, so for most people, getting something from the US is a plane ride as no low cost ferry option exist. Freight forwarders are just catching on.

User currently offlineBigB From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 604 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 9910 times:

I haven't seen this mention, but is this due to the fact that more cargo is being carried internationally compare to domestically? Think of all the imported and exported goods.


ETSN Baber, USN
User currently offlineJetdeltamsy From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2987 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 9907 times:

Quoting Aukahkay (Thread starter):
However, when travelling to and from the US, the baggage allowance is increased to two pieces of luggage not exceeding 70 lbs

The 70 pound limit is dropping to 50 pounds per piece with many US carriers.

The 20kg weight restiction is a treaty-driven weight restriction that most european carriers use. It's the same treaty that governs loss of life lawsuits and compensation rules for international flights.

North Americans tend to like to bring along the kitchen sink when we travel. The historically higher limit has been to please the customer. Now it is becoming a way to increase revenue for airlines through overweight baggage fees.



Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
User currently offlineAukahkay From Singapore, joined Nov 2005, 69 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 9865 times:

Quoting Jetdeltamsy (Reply 15):
The 70 pound limit is dropping to 50 pounds per piece with many US carriers.

Could this reduction in baggage allowance to 50 lbs be linked to the Chapter 11 Bankrupcy Protection filed by NW, UA, DL and US? After all, heavier luggage means higher fuel costs and fuel prices are now at a historical high.


User currently offlineJetdeltamsy From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2987 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 9826 times:

Quoting Aukahkay (Reply 16):
Could this reduction in baggage allowance to 50 lbs be linked to the Chapter 11 Bankrupcy Protection filed by NW, UA, DL and US? After all, heavier luggage means higher fuel costs and fuel prices are now at a historical high.

You bet. It's a way to generate revenue. It's about money, pure and simple.



Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
User currently offlineBAW716 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2028 posts, RR: 27
Reply 18, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 9806 times:

Answer is simple: Americans as a whole take more stuff when they travel than other nationalities. For whatever reason, we just need it. Hence, the FAA in the USA mandated the 2 pc/30kg rule for passengers traveling to/from the USA.

Economically, its a killer; can you imagine the improvement in profitability of airlines flying to/from the USA if they could charge for anything over 20kg (which is the standard pretty much over the rest of the world)? Excess baggage is a wonderful thing. It makes flying to certain parts of the world profitable when it ordinarily would not be. FYI...Excess baggage on a per pound basis is often more profitable then freight.

This also explains of late why baggage allowances within the USA have been reduced; a lot of carriers within the USA have reduced the weight limit to around 50lbs per bag. With the cost of fuel where it is; carriers either have to limit the load or charge for the weight just to break even. Within the USA, the FAA cannot mandate weight requirements, its up to the individual carrier and its based on safety and economic factors. Once overseas, however, the government does stick its toes into things and this is the principal reason, in my opinion, why the weight requirement hasn't changed dramatically....yet.

baw716



David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
User currently offlineANother From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 9697 times:

I've seen a lot of reason on WHY Americans (or Latins, or Europeans, or ME, or etc) might want to carry more luggage. But the questions is why does a passenger to/from/within the US get a larger allowance.

This comes from the US CAB (anybody remember them) investigation brought on by a Miami lawyer who had too much time on his hands. This happened in the 70s and after months of investigation the CAB determined that 'cube' was more important than 'weight'. Any maximum weight could only be for safety issues (staff injuries etc). They directed all airlines to change their tarffs to reflect the size of acceptable baggage and number of pieces (which could differ by class of service).

The DOT, who still regulate these matters, recently has been allowing individual airlines to reduce their maximum weights (but not number of pieces or sizes).

One day the DOT will get out of this business, but it won't be anytime soon.


User currently offlineKappel From Suriname, joined Jul 2005, 3533 posts, RR: 17
Reply 20, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 9686 times:

And it's not only with US carriers. For example, KLM also allows 2 pcs of IIRC 20 kgs each to the US, but to other destinations, it's 1 piece, max 25 kg. Indeed a good question as to why this is.


L1011,733,734,73G,738,743,744,752,763,772,77W,DC855,DC863,DC930,DC950,MD11,MD88,306,319,320,321,343,346,ARJ85,CR7,E195
User currently offlineDeltaGator From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 6341 posts, RR: 13
Reply 21, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 9675 times:

Quoting Superhub (Reply 10):
This is my first post on Airliners.net

I guess the more generous allowance is due to the supersize-me culture in the US. A lot of things seem to be more generous in the US, from McDonald's portions, to cheap (relative to the UK) petrol prices, to baggage allowances.

Welcome aboard!

It amazes me how much my clothes weigh when I pack my bag. While I'm surely not a tiny guy it is my size 14/15 clodhopper shoes that bring in most of the weight. I also have to carry some tools and such when I travel overseas and that adds to it as well.

You are on the right path about the SupersizeMe culture over here but I wouldn't say that is the only thing behind the baggage allowance. Part of the supersized stuff going on over here is we just have so much more space to grow than Europe or Asia does. Don't get me started on the food though. A quarter pounder with cheese (royale with fromage for you French folks on here) is fine but the pund and a half of fries is ridiculous. I am always amazed at the size of hotel rooms, cars, etc. when I am overseas compared to the things we have here.



"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
User currently offlineSK601 From Belgium, joined Jun 2005, 976 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 9665 times:

Quoting Kappel (Reply 20):
For example, KLM also allows 2 pcs of IIRC 20 kgs each to the US, but to other destinations, it's 1 piece, max 25 kg.

Just a small correction:
To/from US and Canada 2 x 23 kgs
From MEX and GRU to Europe 2 x 23 kgs (if ticket bought in MEX/GRU)
From Europe to MEX/GRU max. 20 kgs (if ticket bought in Europe) M class and 30kgs C class.

All other destinations maximal 20 kgs for M-class and 30 for C-class.

Sometimes KL will allow more due to special offers, for example last year pax travelling from ACC were allowed 30 kgs because of xx-years of KL service to Ghana. I have also seen more allowance for pax from AUA to AMS if ticket was bought in AUA.

For sportsgear (bike/golfequipment/skis etc) there is ALWAYS a surcharge, as well as for PETC and AVIH.

Edit: There is 1 exception: AMS-PBM pax are allowed 25kgs in M-class and 35 kgs in WBC.

[Edited 2006-01-21 22:29:46]

User currently offlineWarszawa From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 727 posts, RR: 6
Reply 23, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 9658 times:

I almost got screwed when I went to Poland in Summer 2004.

I booked Air Canada DTW-YYZ-LHR, then LOT Polish LHR-WAW-RZE.

Well in DTW (at the United Airlines counter) they were able to check my bags ALL the way to RZE because Air Canada & LOT = Star Alliance. I was travelling with another family member. I had 2 massive suitcases weighing 70 pounds right on the money each. Family member had 2 also weighing 70 pounds each.

Bags made it to RZE no problem.

On the way back we had a problem. Since we booked *SEPERATE* itineraries, in RZE they were like "Uh, all 4 of these checked baggage weigh 70 pounds, we allow maximum 20kg per bag".

I nearly crapped my pants. The LOT lady who was checking us in refused to let it pass through, despite the fact that I showed her my Air Canada (seperate Itinerary) tickets for LHR-YYZ-DTW. She said "If you want to try to ask the manager go to the counter across the hall over there"...Last shot I guess, either I was going to pay MAJOR $$$ or who knows what.

The manager over at the counter for LOT Polish in RZE, an older guy, was very nice and understanding. Eventually after some persuasion (and showed him how they let us come here with 70 pounders) he let us go with all 4 bags. MAJOR lucky.

Bags were tagged RZE-WAW-LHR. Made it to LHR Terminal 1 and I had to lug all 4 70 pounders plus 2 checked carry ons to Terminal 3 on a rolling cart, THEN, spend 14 hours in Terminal 3 for my LHR-YYZ ACA869 flight in the morning. I stayed up the whole night to keep an eye on my bags (Laptop, $500 digital camera for pics, etc.).

That was the longest day i've ever experienced probably. Terminal 3 at 10pm till 7am fully awake...Terminal 3 was compleeeetely empty with just workers here and there. I stayed near the Virgin Atlantic counters...pacing for basically 8 hours (was afraid if I sat down especially around 3-4am i'd doze off).

Needless to say = This is what happens when you haul a ton of stuff, lol.



Flying a plane is no diff. from riding a bicycle. Its just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes. -'Airplane'
User currently offlineBDL2DCA From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 313 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 9652 times:

Folks, try to keep the stereotypes and jabs at Americans out of this question. It is, fairly simply, market forces. US-based carriers historically had a 70lb limit, which was matched by foreign carriers for flights to the US. They would then charge an overage up to 100lbs, and beyond 100lbs per bag, refuse to accept the item except as freight.

With the advent of the TSA and the post-9/11 fallout, most airlines have added a lower tier into the system. So from 50-69lbs, they charge a small fee ($25), 70-100lbs a larger fee, and above 100lbs is freight. Part of that change is that TSA inspectors have a 50lb limit in their contract - so a bag over 50lbs requires two TSA inspectors to move it (under their work rules). I'm not sure if the TSA passes that charge along to the airlines.

Now, as to the overpacking issue. I think suitcases are gaseous. They will expand to fit the allowable space. All you have to do is take a look at what people cram into a carryon to understand that issue. So because US-based airlines give us 50/70lbs per bag x2 - Americans will fill that space because they have no market reason to pack lighter.



146,319,320,321,333,343,722,732,733,734,735,73G,738,744,752,762,763,772,ARJ,BE1,CRJ,D9S,D10,DH8,ERJ,E70,F100,S80
25 Kiwiandrew : thanks ANother ... that is the first time I have ever seen an answer to this question ... as you say , people normally focus on why they want or dont
26 CitationJet : You are correct. Americans take much shorter vacations compared to Europeans. Americans will go to Vegas for 2 or 3 days. They will travel to Hawaii
27 Kiwiandrew : thanks CitationJet that probably goes a long way towards explaining why so few Americans travel internationally as well - you just dont have the time
28 Post contains images 3201 : I actually take very little. For many business trips to Europe (2-3 days) I don't check a bag, if I'm flying a US carrier (or LH, which politely igno
29 Kiwiandrew : @ 3201 - thanks for the info ... and that's a great signature - it always makes me laugh when I hear novice flyers complaining about having flown a 7
30 Superhub : Yes. I was once flying a transcon to SFO. My seatmate said to me "brace yourself, this is going to be a long flight." It really got on my nerves and
31 CitationJet : I see that you are from Belgium. When my wife worked for AA, we flew first class ORD to BRU on AA. We spent about 3 days in Brussels and 3 days in Br
32 Lincoln : " target=_blank>http://www.nwa.com/travel/luggage/ch....html Continental, at least, is 2 x 50 pounds for non-onePass members, but unless they've chang
33 777ER : I always thought it was 2 bags with a combined max weight of 30kgs, but its not......sweet. That will help me heaps when I depart for Michigan and the
34 Thepilot730 : This has changed. I am a One Pass Member and I recently traveled from PEK to JAX via EWR and had to pay $25USD in PEK because I was overweight by 5 l
35 Lincoln : I looked at CO's Contract of carriage again, and this has indeed been revised to include the word "elite"... Appologies to anyone mislead by my earli
36 B6sea : Yes, the Most (the majors at least) have very standard rules about baggage I know that most are two 50lb bags (total 100lbs) and 70lbs for oversize (
37 DeltaGator : Actually there is no law that requires any company to give you any vacation that I can think of. (Perhaps out in Pelosi-Land out in SFO) I get 4 week
38 Aukahkay : Warszawa's experience reminded me of my own personal experience in November 2003. I travelled SIN-EWR-BOS on SQ/CO to attend a course in Boston. Sinc
39 Post contains images Kiwiandrew : sorry DeltaGator , that excuse doesn't carry much weight with me , I'm a Kiwi .... you wanna try getting to Europe from New Zealand - usually around
40 Soups : its 2 pieces of luggage to ACC now. the offer you offer you suggested of xx years was i think 380$ ANYwhere in the world economy and $1380 business t
41 Iairallie : Federally at least there is no "legal minimum vacation" in the USA. Employers do not have to offer any vacation at all. Most do of course to be compe
42 LTBEWR : I would suggest that the higher limits for USA flights has in part to do with the history of higher overall economic conditions of Americans who fly a
43 ERJ170 : First of all, let me say that I too am guilty.. guilty of packing my suitcase like I'm never gonna make it back. Cause u never know what's going to ha
44 Commavia : Generally, I think it's because of enforcement and consumer expectations. In the U.S., nobody (including agents) generally cares about the bags. Essen
45 SA7700 : SA's weight concept for domestic and international services are: First-40kg Business-30kg Economy-20kg Voyager Elite Members are entitled to additiona
46 Airbazar : Simply put, fuel is cheap in the US regardless of all the wining that airlines and everyone else likes to do when it comes to fuel prices. Energy wast
47 9252fly : I personally never take more than a carryon bag with me. I try to keep it within the limits of the airline I'm traveling with. For example,I recently
48 Post contains images SA7700 : That would absolutely depend on what you are planning to do during your travels. A night at the opera or some fancy dress dinner will pretty much rui
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