British Airways luggage allowance: Your guide

Samuel Clennett
31.03.20
4 minute read

British Airways is a leading global airline with more than 200 destinations around the world¹ – including Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in Australia².

But just like any airline, it only lets you take a certain amount of stuff with you when you fly. As all airlines have slightly differing rules about this, we’ve put together a specific guide to how much luggage you can take with you on a British Airways flight.

Baggage is just one of the fees that every international traveller has to be aware of. In fact, every single international transaction can end up being unduly expensive – if you’re getting a bad exchange rate from your home currency. If you want access to the real mid-market rate when your money gets converted, try TransferWise, which can let you pay internationally with ease via a free debit Mastercard that comes with a borderless account.

But anyway: here’s the info you want about British Airways’ baggage allowance.

Checked luggage vs carry on?

As with other airlines, British Airways lets you take a certain amount of luggage with you when you fly – known as either carry-on baggage or hand luggage – while you can also check larger pieces of luggage in. They have different regulations for both.

British Airways checked baggage allowance

How much baggage British Airways lets you check in, depends on what sort of ticket you have, and also where you’re flying. Here’s an overview – but be aware that some specific routes have slightly different rules³.

Any checked bag can measure up to 90x75x43cm.

Hand baggage only (basic)Economy (Euro Traveller, World Traveller)Premium economy (World Traveller Plus)Business (Club Europe, Club World, Club World London City)First
Number of checked bags01223
Max weight per checked bagn/a23kg23kg32kg32kg
Extra if you’re travelling with children up to age 112 items – e.g. pushchair, car seat1 bag plus 2 items2 bags plus 2 items (only 1 bag if the infant is under 2)2 bags plus 2 items (only 1 bag if the infant is under 2)3 bags plus 2 items (only 1 bag if the infant is under 2)

If you’re flying Economy, your baggage allowance is greater on certain routes. Between London and Doha, the weight limit is increased to 32kg, and on various routes involving places such as Shanghai, Saudi Arabia and others you get 2 bags rather than 1.

Members of British Airways’ Executive Club or oneworld get additional baggage, whichever class they choose to travel in.

British Airways carry-on baggage allowance

With British Airways, you can generally take two items of hand luggage with you on board⁴:

  • A small bag like a handbag or laptop bag up to 40x30x15cm and 23kg
  • A cabin bag up to 56x45x25cm and 23kg

If you’re travelling with an infant under 2, they can have a cabin bag of the same size too.

So, what does it cost?

Well, if you meet the criteria above, it doesn’t really cost anything: British Airways’ checked baggage fee, and their fee for carry-on baggage, is included in the cost of a ticket. If you need to take more bags, that could be a reason to consider upgrading.

Or, you can simply buy extra or overweight baggage space. The cost of this will vary depending on your route, your ticket type, and also potentially the booking dates.

As one example, if you’re flying Economy from Sydney to London Heathrow, a second checked bag could cost you AUD 141. (That’s for a trip scheduled for 17 July 2020, with a ticketing date of 19 March.)⁵

Can I take sports equipment as checked baggage?

Airlines have widely varying practices for coping with awkwardly sized baggage items like sports equipment – bikes, skis and the rest. British Airways lets you take these items as part of your checked baggage allowance.

However, there are various additional things you’ll need to bear in mind if you want to do this⁶:

  • Larger items are OK if they’re up to 190x75x65cm; they can’t weigh more than they normally would (i.e. 23kg or 32kg)
  • Bikes, if stored in a bike box, can be up to 190x95x65cm
  • You should tell them in advance if you’re taking a bike or another item like that
  • You should also allow extra time at the airport.

Things can of course get tricky, so it’s a good idea to check directly with British Airways or check out their own guidelines if you have specific queries or particularly unusual items.

What are the fees for excess or oversized baggage?

Like most airlines, British Airways doesn’t let you go over its baggage limits.

If you bring too much hand luggage, you’ll be asked to check it in – in which case, it’ll count towards your checked baggage allowance⁴.

If you have too much checked luggage, or it’s too heavy – including any hand luggage you’ve been made to check in – then you’ll have to pay a fee.

Assuming your bag doesn’t weigh more than 32kg, that charge will be GBP 65 per bag per single journey (or EUR 75, USD 100, CAD 100).[5] More than 32kg and you won’t be able to check it in. British Airways offers a different service for unaccompanied bags that you’ll need to make use of⁷.

Of course, it’s best to make sure this doesn’t happen, and pack so that you’re within your limits.

Trips abroad always run the risk of proving more expensive than anticipated – especially if you have to pay for everything from your home bank account, and repeatedly get a bad deal on the exchange rate.

With a TransferWise multi-currency debit Mastercard, though, you can rest assured that you always get the best exchange rate, with only a low and clearly stated fee to pay when you convert your money. The savings could add up quickly – and, just as importantly, give you the peace of mind you need when travelling.

Have a great time on your trip with British Airways.

Sources:

  1. BA Facts
  2. BA Visit Australia
  3. Checked Baggage
  4. Hand Luggage
  5. Overweight Baggage
  6. Sporting Goods
  7. Unaccompanied Baggage

All sources accurate as of 19 March 2020


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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