British holidaymakers were charged millions for going over airlines’ baggage limits last year, research has revealed.
The research, by travel website Kelkoo, found that a collective £186 million was racked up in fines by Brits who exceeded their airline’s baggage weight limit.
It was found that baggage limits were exceeded by an average of 3.5 kilos, incurring a charge of £48 – 15% of the average price of an air ticket.
Interestingly, it was on full service airlines that customers were most likely to incur a charge, with 41% of charges coming from full service carriers.
Just over a third of travellers who incurred a charge did so on low cost airlines, while chartered carriers accounted for 20% of baggage charges.
However, the high charges levied by budget airlines meant that these carriers reaped 47% of the total charges collected.
The research revealed that excess baggage charges on budget airlines are almost double that of full service and chartered carriers. The average cost per kilo on low cost airlines is £13.20, compared to £7.15 on chartered flights and £7.46 on full service flights.
“While the fare for flying with a low cost carrier may be lower, additional costs for checked luggage, booking fees and higher charges for excess baggage can result in prices rocketing,” said Chris Simpson, CMO of Kelkoo.
“With summer holidays round the corner, travellers should look to compare prices not just between low cost and traditional airlines, but also between specific carriers as there are substantial savings to be made by shopping around.”
The reason for the high amount of charges was put down to the varying weight limits for different airlines. The limits range from 15 kilos to 23 kilos, leading to a great deal of confusion amongst travellers.
“We’d encourage all passengers to check their luggage allowance, and weigh their bags before they fly, to ensure they are not hit with an unexpected extra cost once they get to the airport,” said Mr Simpson.
“With airlines charging as much as £20 per extra kilo, this can be an expensive oversight,” he added.
Brits are expected to continue incurring high excess baggage charges this year, with fees expected to top £37 million in the six-week summer holiday period alone.
While the fees for excess baggage are potentially very expensive, holidaymakers can save money abroad by using a prepaid travel money card. These will save money on expensive bank charges for foreign card use, while also offering a good exchange rate.