BA's new checked baggage allowance policy is being reintroduced. First announced back in June, but postponed as a result of the new security measures brought in during the summer (see online news June 15, 22 and July 19), it is now promised from February 13.
As regular readers will remember, under the new rules the maximum weight of a piece of checked luggage is limited to 23kg. Any passenger arriving with a single piece of checked baggage weighing over the 23kg limit, will have to put the excess into a separate case, and if they have already reached their limit in terms of the number of checked bags allowed, will have to pay an additional surcharge for the extra bag depending on the length of travel.
Some changes are also being made to the number of checked bags a passenger can put in the hold free of charge – from February 13 domestic, Euro and World Traveller passengers will be allowed one piece of checked luggage, Club Europe and World Traveller Plus passengers two pieces, and Club World and First passengers three pieces – but note again that none of these bags can weigh over 23kgs – irrelevant of class travelled.
The new excess baggage charges range from a flat rate of £30 per bag for UK domestic flights, to £60 per bag for short-haul flights, and £120 for long-haul travel. A 20 per cent discount will be available to passengers pre-paying for excess baggage online at ba.com. But that entails the passenger knowing in advance that their bag will be overweight, which may not always be possible, particularly on the return leg of a business trip. And of course the charges above don't include the possibility of having to buy a brand new bag in which to place your excess luggage in the first place.
BA says that it is introducing the new policy in preparation for its move to Heathrow's T5 in 2008, and in order to comply with health and safety regulations. But the date it intends to implement the new restrictions is controversial in itself. February 13 falls around the time of the start of the first half term of 2007 for many schools, and less than two weeks after the increased APD rates are introduced – both of which will already be putting a strain on check-in staff.
For more information on the new baggage policy visit ba.com and click on the link on the homepage.
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Report by Mark Caswell