Lonely Planet Writer

The hidden cost of baggage fees - discover what different airlines charge for luggage

No matter how often they fly, some travellers always struggle with the fine art of packing light. So if you always find yourself paying for extra luggage, why not try checking out which airlines will be the most accommodating of your need to over-pack.

Find out just what that extra bag will cost you on airlines around the world. Image by Jutta Klee/Getty Images

Cheapflights.com has compiled a guide to airline baggage fees and policies, aimed at setting out exactly what travellers need to know about luggage for economy seats on 79 different airlines around the world.

If your over-packing has reached desperate levels – or you just want to make sure you can bring home all the souvenirs you want – then it’s good to know that there are some airlines that not only offer the first checked bag for free on domestic and international flights, but actually offer a second checked bag for free. Those airlines are: Air India, All Nippon Airways, Emirates, Japan Airlines and Southwest Airlines. A number of airlines also let passengers check two bags if the total weight is less than 30 kg, including Etihad, Aurigny Air Services, Eva Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways. Korean Airlines, Philippines Airlines, China Eastern and Turkish Airlines permit two checked bags if the total weight is 20 kg or less.

There’s a price tag on checked luggage on many flights. Image by Lester Lefkowitz/Getty Images

For anyone whose ambition is to be a light packer, then there are a number of airlines that only allow travellers to bring a personal item that fits under your seat as part of your ticket price – meaning you’ll have no choice but to keep things simple. If you want more, there are additional charges. Allegiant Air will charge $15 to $25, Frontier Airlines charges $30 to $35, Spirit Airlines charges $35, and Wow Airlines charges $20 to 40.

When travelling with more unusual luggage, like sports equipment, it pays to know in advance how different airlines will treat it. Cheapflights.com says that there are actually a few airlines that will let travellers count their surfboard as part of the regular bag allowance, such as Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Interjet, Qantas, South African Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines. For those with kids, most major airlines allow travellers to check their stroller or car seats with no added fees, though this can be limited to collapsible strollers weighing less than 20 pounds.

To learn the exact rules of different airlines, see Cheapflights.com’s full guide here.