Hand Carry Baggage and other woes.

Have you ever wondered why 7 kilograms is the maximum Hand-Carry Allowance? Who sets these limits and why? Can I carry my tennis racket? I’m going fishing, shall I bring a harpoon? or a fishing rod?

We’ve been on board three different Carriers, AirAsia Philippines, Cebu Pacific and Jetstar and each airline gives almost the same allowance but enforces it differently. We’ve found out that among the three AirAsia tends to be very strict in enforcing the 7-kilogram rule, and not only are they strict on the weight they are also particular on the dimensions as well.

7 kilograms is really not a lot, almost half is taken by our photo equipment alone.

On our trip to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur, we were departing from Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 with JetStar. KLIA 2 is the Hub of AirAsia and its headquarters is located nearby. When you look at the flight schedules almost all flights on the terminal are AirAsia and almost all Jets at the gates are carrying AirAsia liveries. Finding the lone check-in for JetStar was easy from the sea of AirAsia. When we were on our check-in process the JetStar Counter never even bothered to weigh our hand carry luggage or even look at our hand carry at all, the agent just nonchalantly issued us our boarding passes without so much as a glimpse of what we were carrying. We then hurried up to immigration and had one more security check before the queue. What surprised me was that the personnel singled out Air Asia passengers and weight in their Hand-Carry Luggage and even measured their dimensions, those who went over were sent back to check-in, JetStar Passengers, on the other hand, were waved through immigration without incident. We took note though that both Airlines have identical hand Carry Regulations but JetStar is a bit more relaxed than AirAsia.

KLIA 2- the Hub of AirAsia

From the Airline’s point of view, hand carry allowance is free with our economy class ticket and they have the right to enforce it or not, so as a traveler it is on our judgment to figure out which airline is strictly enforcing their allowances, but just to be safe it is always safe to assume that they will strictly enforce the regulations.

On our International flight to Singapore from Cebu International Airport with Cebu Pacific they were also very lax with the weight of our hand carry allowance, they just visually inspected our bags and proceeded to issue our boarding passes however on the same airport but this time from Cebu International to Puerto Princesa Palawan on AirAsia , a domestic flight, we assumed that since it was domestic and a relatively short haul flight on an Airbus A320, that they would be lax on our allowance but on check-in they weighed our hand carries baggage and we were excesses by at least half a kilo, thankfully the counter agent waved us through without extra charges but gave us a friendly reminder to religiously follow the hand carry allowance on our next flight, which we totally forgot, on this story ;A story of Bag-ins and 10 packing tips which on the flight back we had to pay for penalties.

Our Usual luggage: 1 back back each and one smaller bag.

So, who sets the hand carry allowance and why? we’ll we’ve done a bit of research and the reason for 7 kilograms varies from airline to airline.

  1.  The 7-kilogram maximum allowance for hand carry is set for health reasons for our charming flight attendants because bags exceeding 7 kilograms pose a hazard and increases injuries to the spine, airlines are stingy on Hazard Pay so the less work-related Hazard the less hazard paid to fork out, is it tax-free? well I think it’s also safe to assume that flight attendants on Philippine Airlines have stronger backs because their baggage allowance is 10 kilograms, just kidding PAL also follows the same 7 kilograms carry-on allowance plus a reasonable amount of reading materials and of course your laptop and its case are not included from your 7 kilogram allowance yeay, you can verify at PAL’s website PAL: baggage allowance ; don’t worry we’ll be posting the links for other airlines as well.
  1. 7 kilogram maximum allowance is also in place because, in the unlikely event that luggage is flung out from the overhead bin because of turbulence or whatnot, you’ll be glad that, if you are going to get hit, it will probably not weigh more than 7 kilos.  Stick and stones will break your bones, 7 kilos probably will so stow your bags properly.
  1. Your luggage dimension is important: 56cm x 36cm x 23cm. Height, Length, and Width wise and must not exceed those dimensions for everyone’s safety. Those dimensions are set because they are the maximum permissible bag size that can be safely stowed in the cabin if the flight was full and everyone was carrying the same bag. So it’s safe to say that their is no need to jostle for overhead bin space because if everyone were to bring the exact sized bag, everyone’s bag would fit in the overhead bin.

So who set’s this baggage allowance? it’s the International Air Transport Association: IATA link and if your airline is member chances are it will be following the same rules. Take note though that IATA just issues general “guidelines” so it’s best to visit the airline’s website to make sure. Even on the same airline, they have different allowances depending on your destination and it even gets tricky if you go international and have transferred to different airlines, so better do research before you fly.

What can I bring? Can I bring my Tennis racket?

Airlines have different rates for sports equipment and have a premium on top of the usual check-in rates, you’d be surprised what you can check-in. For some, it’s more economically viable to rent a bike, surfboard or ski/snowboard to your destination but sometimes it’s not the same as what you have so fret not, AirAsia will let you check-in the aforementioned items, just visit their site at AirAsia: Sports Equipment , well as for your tennis racket? it’s considered regular luggage so you pack it inside your check-in bag without worry.

What about my hand harpoon or a fishing rod? well for your harpoon, it is best not to pack it along with your baggage, as it may be classified as Dangerous good but however its cousin, the bow and arrow is a permitted sports equipment and you are allowed to check in one bow, one quiver and a set of arrows. for more info visit them at @AirAsia: archery 

So Travel wanderously…..

Visit us at our facebook page: Facebook/Travelwanderous

by: Ishmael Fusilero

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