News

BA's new baggage policy; a further update

19 Jul 2006 by Ciprian Hirlea

One month on and British Airways’ new checked baggage policy (see Online news June 15 and June 22) starting on October 11 continues to elicit emails from readers.

Most premium travellers remain opposed to BA’s decision to adopt a maximum checked baggage weight of 23 kilos per piece even though there will be more routes on which they can take two pieces rather than one. It must be stressed that 23 kilos is the maximum weight per piece. No longer will travellers be waived through (or a pay a small surcharge) if their checked luggage is a few kilos over the weight limit.

Business class travellers who need to take more than two pieces (or one piece in the case of passengers flying economy class) are peeved to learn that they must now pay a flat surcharge for every extra piece. No longer will the extra pieces be included in the overall baggage allowance.

Edinburgh-based reader Charles Hogarth is a BA gold cardholder and flies business class. He takes BA to London, mainland Europe and the Far East. “I travel with commercial samples and I take three pieces of checked baggage and I’m one of these people who doesn’t believe in lugging small suitcases on and off planes.”

“I typically take one piece for my clothes which might weight 12 or 15 kilos. I spread the commercial samples evenly between the other two cases which typically weigh 30 kilos in total.”

“As a gold cardholder I have never ever been charged for excess baggage. But under the news rules, Gold card holders aren’t entitled to any extra allowance so I’m now faced with paying £120 each time [for the extra piece] I take a long-haul flight in business class.”

Reader Steven Triandafillidis currently takes a minimum of two bags. “Excluding my brief case, I travel with a suit case and another holdall which is particularly heavy. This means I will immediately be looking at a minimum of £60 excess for the second bag [based on flying economy class short-haul].”

“Alternatively I can suffer the inconvenience of carrying it into the cabin. For an airline whose strategy is one of ensuring its customers have a hassle-free experience, I can safely say that by the end of the journey, having measured my cabin baggage and carried a particularly heavy bag into the cabin, I will have landed tired and angry.”

Readers who have complained to BA’s Executive Club about the airline’s new policy are being told that what BA is doing from October 11 “is part of an industry trend.” In that case, BA may well be right but only in the sense they are setting it. Business Traveller has checked with all three major airline alliances (Oneworld, Star and Skyteam) and none of the members currently has any plans to follow BA.

A number of readers have asked us to clarify the position regarding connecting flights [to and from BA with another airline] and code-share services [flights jointly operated by BA and another carrier].

The official word from BA is that connecting passengers will continue to receive the same allowance as provided by the other carrier. Says a spokesperson:”We will continue to accept any through-checked bags that weigh up to 32 kilos in cases where another carrier has through-checked a passenger.”

One example would be flying Perth-Singapore-London where Qantas would connect to BA at Singapore. Or where you might use Bmi for a business class connection for your BA flight from London.

As for code-share flights, BA says that the baggage allowance of the operating carrier will continue to apply. So if you booked a London-Singapore Qantas flight operated by BA you would have to abide by the BA allowance and not the Qantas one.

Please note that local government regulations mean that baggage entitlements differ when flying to North America, the Caribbean, Nigeria, Brazil and Mexico.

For more information go to ba.com/baggagepolicy

For your chance to comment on BA’s new baggage policy, click on the link below

Report by Alex McWhirter

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