I've just booked a business trip to Cyprus. Accommodation all sorted, I just needed to arrange flights. A quick look over the available carriers and Easyjet offer the cheapest (no frills) flight from the local airport. Job done. We are all aware of the 'extras' that are tacked onto flight prices, what with airport taxes and fuel taxes, it seems the price stated is rarely the price you pay.
And it'll come as no surprise to the regular traveller that you even have to pay for the privilege of taking luggage with you...thats if you check it in. At £18 per piece with Easyjet (varies for other carriers) it can often cost more to take a bag with you than the flight itself! There is a solution however. Hand luggage does not incur a charge so I am for the first time attempting to take all my necessary belongings with me as hand luggage, avoiding both the charges and indeed the time and hassle of waiting at the baggage re-claim for my bag to arrive (or not as the case may be from an unfortunate experience last summer where about half of the passengers luggage was 'forgotten' by the airline and flown back 3 days later, but that's another story!).
Having done a little research into baggage allowances for hand luggage, Easyjet (and all other airlines that I recall) have those handy metal framed 'hand luggage' size guides dotted around the check in area and the current size guidelines are 56cm x 45cm x 25cm. I'm sure the regular traveller has had their knee cap bashed or an elbow walloped by a fellow passenger navigating the seats with hand luggage that appears more like a suitcase, but if the airlines insist on charging for checked in luggage and allow such large hand luggage, then why not. I used to get disgruntled by this, but figure if I can't beat them, then join them! So my most recent purchase has been a Berghaus Optimus 40, which believe it not accommodates up to 40ltrs of luggage, weighing in at just over 2kg (pretty light weight for a wheeled case with handle!). At £80, it isn't cheap, but that's only 4 flights of not checking in luggage and its paid for. The question is can I fit all my necessary clothes and bits and bobs in it.
There are no doubt a few draw backs....you'll need to ensure that you:
- Pack well
- Pack efficiently - take only the clothes you will NEED, not those you think you might wear!
- Check your 'liquid' container sizes, max 100ml containers and you'll need to put them in a see-through bag for inspection
- You'll need to put in overhead locker on the plane as unlikely to fit under seat - I like to have my magazine, ipod etc readily to hand
- Be careful not to knee-cap fellow passengers when lugging the thing around
- £20 per flight (on average) saved by not checking in baggage
- no worrying moments at the check in desk while your bag is 'weighed' if you go over the rather mean 20kg (average) allowance, it'll cost you!
- No waiting around at baggage reclaim for your bag
- First to the car hire desk or taxi stand!
Avoid the baggage reclaim by packing light
On the whole however, hand luggage looks like it has got one over on checked in luggage, I'll update the blog upon my return to let you know how it goes! One thing is for sure though, in my eyes I am getting one over on the airline and I'll be sure to get to the Paphos Airport car hire
desk before all those waiting for checked in luggage and be on my way enjoying my holiday long before many of you have even collected your luggage!
Handluggage 1 - 0 Checked in Luggage
I have been flying handluggage only for some time now and enjoying the savings, both time and money (online check-in is also a must!).