British Airways baggage allowance explained

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Avoid excess cabin baggage fees with our essential guide to British Airways baggage allowances, including size and weight.

Has it been forever since the last time you flew? With the UK government regularly adding new destinations to the green list and removing the quarantine for double-vaccinated passengers from Amber countries, travel could become a reality in the months to come. It’s time to get up to date with airline baggage policies. In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about British Airways’ baggage allowance policy and how to get the most out of what you’re allowed to take on board.

Note: There are still a lot of travel restrictions and things can change quickly. Make sure you get the latest information from our UK Travel File before booking travel. And for the latest tips, check out Skyscanner’s Coronavirus Travel Tips, FCDO overseas travel tips and local government advice for the country you plan to visit.

What is the British Airways hand baggage allowance?

British Airways’ hand baggage allowance rules are more or less the same whether you are traveling in economy or business class. However, the amount of checked baggage changes drastically depending on your ticket. This is what you are allowed to take on board:

  • 1 cabin baggage, max. 23 kg (51 lbs), up to 56 x 45 x 25 cm (22 x 18 x 10 inches)
  • 1 handbag or laptop bag, max. 23 kg (51 lbs), up to 40 x 30 x 15 cm (16 x 12 x 6 inches)
  • If you are traveling with children, you are also entitled to two of these items per child, at no additional cost: a fully collapsible stroller, a car or booster seat, a travel cot and a baby carrier.

What is the British Airways checked baggage allowance?

Checked baggage rules vary depending on the type of your BA ticket

It all depends on the route you are taking and the type of ticket you have purchased. British Airways offers free checked baggage on most flights from the UK, but there are different ‘classes’ of travelers and in some cases you will need to pay extra for checked baggage. It is worth doing this before you get to BA check-in, as the fees can double if you pay at the airport. Here is a summary of British Airways baggage allowance rules:

  • Economy without checked baggage (Euro Traveler or World Traveler basic) tickets: depending on your destination and your departure airport, you will pay between £ 30 and £ 60 online in advance per checked baggage, and £ 75 per bag at the airport
  • In general, checked baggage cannot exceed 90x75x43cm in size
  • All other types of flights, including Economy tickets with checked baggage (Euro Traveler or World Traveler plus), Business / Club tickets and First Class tickets are accompanied by an allowance of at least one, sometimes several, free checked baggages
  • Economy class tickets with checked baggage (Euro Traveler plus) allows one cabin baggage, laptop or handbag on board, as well as 23 kg checked baggage
  • World Traveler Plus and Club Europe tickets offers one carry-on baggage, laptop or handbag on board, as well as two checked bags
  • Club World and First Class travelers can get three pieces of luggage, each weighing 32 kg, for free, depending on where you are flying to and from
  • To check your allowance or fees, log into your booking on the BA website or enter the details of the BA flight and the type of ticket you are interested in, to see what would apply in your case.

How can I get the most out of the British Airways hand baggage allowance?

Like this woman at the airport, there are ways to make the most of your British Airways baggage allowance.

If you’re determined to travel light, read on for our top tips for getting all your luggage on board:

1. Measure your carry-on bags

All airlines have slightly different baggage restrictions, so always measure your hand baggage well before you fly, especially when traveling with an airline for the first time. If your cabin baggage measures more than 56 x 45 x 25 cm (22 x 18 x 10 inches), you will need to check it in. Remember that British Airways baggage allowance includes handles and wheels, so don’t be surprised by that last minute baggage gauge annoyance. If you are at risk of exceeding the limits, look for a new cabin bag. Most luggage stores now make it easy to find “cabin approved” backpacks and suitcases.

2. Weigh your carry-on and checked baggage

If your carry-on baggage weighs more than 23 kg (51 lbs), you will also need to check it. And if your ticket does not allow for a larger checked baggage allowance, you’ll have to pay a heavy baggage charge of £ 65 (€ 75) per overweight piece of baggage, one-way. Note that this weight limit is per bag and cannot be split between multiple bags. However, if your trip includes a connecting flight with another airline, their allowances may be different (see our FAQ section for more details).

Here’s everything you need to know to avoid excess baggage fees at the airport.

3. Shop around for an offer

British Airways is not a low cost airline and offers an impressive range of airfares, which means you don’t have struggle with the zipper of your small suitcase. Even what the airline calls “economy” class includes a lot more than a seat, with snacks, drinks and extras suitable for families. On BA short-haul flights, Economy offers three options: Basic, Plus and Plus Flex (Europe Traveler). While Basic is the “hand baggage only” option you are looking for, More comes with free checked baggage and Plus Flex allows you flexibility if your schedule changes. Otherwise, British Airways Best quality economy (World Traveler and World Traveler Plus) is available on select international flights. This option gives you a little more legroom for your oversized handbag, as well as two pieces of checked baggage (23 kg each) included in the price.

4. Use those extra centimeters

The BA hand baggage allowance is in fact 16cm x 25cm larger than Ryanair maximum dimensions for carry-on baggage. So that’s a whole lot of extra space that you can make the most of. Of course, you might have paid a little more for a British Airways flight. But it does give you precious space for those little luxuries you thought you couldn’t afford, whether it’s your favorite scent or your slipper socks for the trip.

If you want more ways to improve your comfort level when traveling, check out our guide on how to make economy feel like first class.

5. Join the Club

While tickets to British Airways Club Europe and Club World may appear to have to be an international jet setter and crisscross the Atlantic several times a week to join, membership is actually free. Checking in will put you in the basic ‘Blue’ level, where you will automatically start collecting Avios (the airline’s version of the reward points) on flight purchases as well as member offers and the possibility. accumulate level points in order to move to the next level. Reach Bronze level (300 level points on BA and Partner flights) and you’ll start enjoying perks like priority check-in and boarding, plus the ability to select a seat a full week before your flight. The Silver level (600 points) includes among other things an additional baggage allowance, while the Gold level (1,500 points) guarantees you pretty much a first-class experience, with exclusive lounges and bonus rewards. You don’t even have to be a frequent British Airways traveler to start earning points.

6. Travel with another airline

Few airlines can match the BA baggage allowance. Even big names like Air France (55x35x25cm, combined weight 12-18kg) and KLM (55x35x25cm, combined weight 12kg) stipulate a slightly smaller hand luggage size. But if you have heavier items like an SLR camera or sports gear to carry, consider companies like Delta (56x35x23cm) which has no weight restrictions on carry-on baggage outside of certain airports.

For a full roundup of carry-on baggage restrictions at major airlines, see our comparison chart.

British Airways baggage allowance faqs

Man on board an airplane checks his back
Are medical supplies and equipment counted towards British Airways baggage allowance?

No. But while there is no weight limit or overweight charge for medical equipment, there is a limit to the amount of checked baggage for drugs or medical supplies. You will also need to have an official medical letter with you when you check in at the airport.

What is my British Airways baggage allowance if I am traveling with a stopover or connecting flight?

Your allowance in this case is determined by the airline operating the longest flight.

Do my gifts and duty-free purchases count towards my hand baggage allowance?

Yes. But if it exceeds your carry-on baggage allowance, your additional baggage may be checked in as long as you have free checked baggage allowance.

Can I bring musical instruments or sports equipment on British Airways flights?

Yes, if they match the cabin size restrictions. For larger and heavier items you must contact British Airways first and they will attempt to accommodate them as freight (additional charges may apply).

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