BA & Policy on “free” SPORTS EQUIPMENT

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Gold-2K 5 Aug 2013
at 14:07

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  • Anonymous


    Foks, (& VintageKrug seems to be a champion here).

    I’d welcome your advice here on CONSISTENT policy, because I’m getting a little miffed and confused, and no joy contacting Customer Services.

    I need to regularly travel with sports equipment.

    Now on the most recent time I flew BA, I duly checked the website again for any changes in policy.

    Knew that my TOTAL HOLD luggage weight, would be well below the weight limit (22kgs ?), even with the sports items.

    Items, were not dangerous, not an unusual shape, wasn’t listed in ‘banned items’. I believed it would still be FREE to take, and I wouldn’t be charged a ‘second bag’ item at the airport (so I didn’t even entertain the notion of checking in another bag, with ONLINE check-in).

    After all, if a heavy bag of GOLF CLUBS is acceptable why wouldn’t a light weight sports equipment go through… ?

    But upon getting to T5, the check-in girl informed me, Sports equipment was no longer “free” – and there WOULD be a charge as an extra luggage item, despite the fact my ONE bag was underweight, and even with the sports item, still only 17kgs in total – ie. 2 items is what she was counting.

    Since WHEN did this policy change ?? As the website still currently says, sports equipment if within your weight allowance and not one of the ‘banned items lists’ – is free to go.

    Getting dismayed with it depending on who’s on the desk at the day (or on Customers Services that day). Fortunately she took pity, and let me have it as CABIN baggage. Unfortunately the RETURN journey in a foreign country, refused – and charged me a horrific £$ – so luck first time, no luck second time.

    Would be appreciative of experience or policy, or where to look on a website, or get someone to agree to let it go on !!

    I go alot to sports events (non-biz), and need to go with my equipment. Within Europe, I will change airline, if I know there’s no extra charge for an additional item if its within the luggage allowance, weight wise (SAS & KLM, appear not to charge, or rather they didn’t last time I flew with them)


    This changed a few years ago, but I can’t recall when.

    BA permits a single checked bag in economy, so when it says sports equipment is “free” that’s only the case if the extra kit can be contained within your single free checked bag and under the 23kg per piece weight allowance.

    If it is likely you might require a larger piece or weight allowance, it’s:

    a) much cheaper to buy this in advance online, or

    b) consider spending the extra to upgrade to World Traveller Plus which permits you 2x23kg, or Club Europe (2X32kg) even if you only sit in that cabin on one sector of a round trip (e.g. returning in World or Euro Traveller/Economy).

    That would probably be both more comfortable and cost-effective than paying for excess luggage.

    Detailed info for the traveltrade on sporting equipment is here:

    And detailed weight/piece allowance info is here, dependent on the route you are flying:

    The policy is quite clear, though the suggestion that you are getting anything more than a standard allowance into which you can carry your sporting equipment could possibly be misinterpreted.

    I think this weight/quantity of baggage is pretty standard these days, and a brief check on the KLM website concurs that it’s 1x23kg as the norm.

    In fact BA generally has a more generous approach to carry on items than klm which has a 12kg restriction; BA tends to have the “can you lift it yourself” test for carry on baggage, so judicious packing should help you keep within recommended weight limits.

    Note that all bags also have to conform to the regulation sizes as well.


    “BA permits a single checked bag in economy, so when it says sports equipment is “free” that’s only the case if the extra kit can be contained within your single free checked bag and under the 23kg per piece weight allowance.”

    By that logic, taking underpants is also free.


    Um… what exactly were you carrying ??

    The deal at LHR sounds reasonable. Check in allowed you to take the equipment on as cabin bags. Presume you had no other cabin baggage with you ? It’s the return leg that looks odd.

    Knowing that you had problems on the outbound, was it not possible to condense the equipment into your bag for the hold ? Check in is rarely handled by BA staff outside of the UK in my experience. You don’t say how many bags you wanted to take as carryon on the way back. Might have been an influencing factor. On top of that some places get very fussy about applying the weight limits on carry on bags. Carriers will set a policy they expect service providers adhere to. Some are more accommodating than others on interpretation.


    Thanks guys, and especially VK.

    (Seriously is WT+ extra cost cheaper than the ‘penalty charge’ for a second bag *utter shock*)

    I’m disappointed yet again, its gone on bag count only then not total weight.

    Cabin, just my handbag 😉 but still – and may be BA at LHR T5, said yes because they were a) kind, and b) gear fit in the luggage box slam shut overhead lockers. Same for return: but foreign staff stood in the mud, no budge.

    As I say, nothing dangerous really plastic chopsticks could be worse (according to the movies).

    And may be its been a LONG run of luck I’ve had (3-5 times per year on flights to Europe with my gear) of European airlines accepting my low weigh hold bag and my sports gear = 2 bags, as well below 23kgs (16kgs max)… *heavy sigh* this is sounding more & more like the ‘budget airlines’ which is precisely the reason I don’t fly with them, ever…


    RHMAngel – what type of sports equipment were you transporting?Only next week i will be on a flight and am bringing my bike back with me.


    robsmith100, you can get all your answers here: under “Instructions for packing certain types of sporting equipment”

    However, as it says at the top of the page, you get no extra allowance for your bike


    Better to check current policy before booking. Other Airlines like Virgin Atlantic will take sport equipment for free. I travel with my golf bag for free. I check the Airline policy before booking.


    i have travelled with my bike this year long haul and short haul BA. The bike is in a hard case, i pack my shoes, hat, pump, and kit in to the box as well. Total weight of 28Kg and take my clothing as carry-on. Never had a problem and no excess baggage charges. Same for travel companions who do not have additional free baggage perks and were sitting in the back of the plane.

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