Why weight – the perils of excess baggage

A word of advice for anyone planning to fly with excess baggage; be very careful which airline you choose!

In travelling around with our equipment, however portable it might be, there are often times when the question of excess baggage is raised; increasingly so as airlines tighten their belts.

We learnt through bitter experience a year or so back that the wrong choice of airline can make a difference of thousands of pounds to the cost of getting to and from the required destination.

We nearly succumbed to the same trap again this last week when booking flights for our technician to get out to Macau, China to record ISUOG’s (The International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology – rarely is an acronym so sorely needed!) 7th International Scientific Meeting which takes place at the end of this month.

Initially we booked with Cathay Pacific who seemed to be offering a good deal and the right flight times. Upon further inspection however it turned out that the excess baggage charges over and above the one checked bag allowed, would be $60 per kilo per leg; $120 for the round trip. Even for the modest single extra 20Kg bag we were planning this amounted to an eye-watering $2,400! More than four times the original ticket price!

Fortunately we saw the light in time (i.e. re read the small print on the Cathay Pacific website) and re booked on a Virgin flight for a similar ticket price but where an extra bag costs $48 each way; a saiving of $2304 on the round trip! (British Airways have a similar charging structure to Virgin.)

Why can’t all airlines be as sensible as Virgin and BA… at least as regards excess bagage?