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TransAtlantic Airline with most generous carry-on luggage weight limit???

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Oct 19th, 2005, 08:15 AM
  #1
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TransAtlantic Airline with most generous carry-on luggage weight limit???

Okay, from my recent experiences with Virgin Atlantic I know that they are about the worst airline when it comes to carry-on luggage. Which Trans Atlantic airline, on the other hand, is the best for economy class carry-on baggage weight restrictions?

Continental is very generous but they sometimes fly on Virgin Atlantic so you have to be careful as whichever plane you fly on are the rules that apply, even if the ticket is issued by another carrier.

Also, a question about Tanzania...is the birding in the Northern Circuit anywhere near what it is in Zambia, if anyone knows? Want to figure out lenses that will be necessary for Lake Manyara/Ngorongoro Crater/Serengeti.

Thanks.
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Oct 19th, 2005, 10:00 AM
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At 6kg, BA and VS definitely have the lowest carry on allowances. BA does provide a higher allowance of 12kg for World Traveller Plus (premium economy) passengers so that's an option you might want to look into. Will provide some additional legroom/comfort too. VS also has Premium Economy but the carry on allowance is the same as regular economy though sometimes I think they tend to look the other way when you're flying PE (but it's not something I'd count on).

Air France has a carry on allowance of 12kg which I believe they enforce in economy.

I think Delta's carry on allowance is 18kg. In general, I find that the US carriers have more generous allowances and tend not to check carry on luggage weight.

If you book your flights on continental.com, it will tell you if the flight is a VS codeshare so you can easily avoid those flights. CO itself doesn't operate nonstop flights between LAX-LHR, so if you want to fly to LHR on CO metal, you'll have to route through Newark or elsewhere.

Is Europe just a transit point on your way to Tanzania or will you be traveling around? Most intra-Europe flights have very strict carry on allowances as well so that's another consideration.
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Oct 19th, 2005, 12:19 PM
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Hi Rocco,

Back to Tanzania so soon? What happened to India?

I've flown trans-atlantic on American, BA, Continental, Virgin, and SWISS. In my experience crossing the pond, American carriers are far more generous than European ones when it comes to carry-on bags in economy (all carriers seem to be equally nice when it comes to carry-on bags in business or first class). Continental is the most generous of the American carriers, though as you said you need to be careful whether it's actually a Continental plane.

On the other hand, the European carriers tend to have much nicer service and food...

Cheers,
Julian
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Oct 19th, 2005, 12:39 PM
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Julian,

India??? Wow, you are really behind on your reading!

It was Tanzania, then India, then possibly Thailand, then Argentina and now back to where I started from, Tanzania.

Thanks for the feedback on the baggage weight allowance. Fortunately, in February, a flight from L.A. to Europe will be dirt cheap, possibly $450 per person.
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Oct 19th, 2005, 12:49 PM
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Hi Rocco,

Unfortunately, I think my patients would take it amiss if they saw Fodors on my desktop when they came to see me, so I've fallen a bit behind on your usual lightning-fast itinerary changes!

How did you manage to talk Alexsandra into another safari so soon after Zambia? DId you resurrect your itinerary with ATR?

Cheers,
Julian
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Oct 20th, 2005, 04:51 PM
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Hi Roccco,
The US carriers are going to be better than any European carrier. I don't think any of them weigh carryon bags to Europe. American's carryon allowances are the same for Europe as they are for flights within the US--1 carryon bag, 1 personal item that must be under the standard dimensions, but no weighing or weight limits.

HOWEVER, if you are flying coach on one ticket from the US to Southern Africa, you get that monster 2 checked bags at max 70 lbs each. This is far more than the checked bag allowance either to Europe or from Europe to Africa. But the catch-22 in coach is that you will be allowed to carry anything you want on board over to Europe, but then be restricted (in coach) from Europe to Africa for carryon --but you will get the 140 lb max for checked bags.

The catch-22 is that I don't believe that you can get a single ticket that is coach (say to London) and a higher class from London to Africa. They don't do this on one ticket, and if they break it into two tickets, then you might/probably will get the checked baggage rejected/ charged an overage from Europe. ( I tried to do this on AA and BA earlier this year...didn't work. Perhaps they will change their policies so it is worth checking when you are ready to fly again.
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 04:15 PM
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Thanks Tasha and nice to see you back on the forum.

Unfortunately, I am having trouble finding reasonably priced DIRECT flights for my dates and I may need to connect through Nairobi. This would put me on Kenya Airways and/or KLM. Fortunately, the layover time on the way over is only 90 minutes and on the way home is only 3 hours.

The arrival flight is at 8:50AM, which means that if I chose to, I could skip Arusha entirely and go directly into my safari. This would give me the liberty of either spending my first couple nights in London or Amsterdam or of spending only two nights in Arusha (if I still wanted to do the Mt. Kiliminjaro half marathon) instead of three nights. I am leaning towards spending no time in Arusha and starting out with a couple nights in Amsterdam or London, even if it will be the late February cold weather.

I would have a Friday and Saturday night in London or Amsterdam and then have an overnight flight to Nairobi with a very early arrival and then be in Arusha before 9AM.

Because of the cost of living and other reasons that may enhance my experience in Amsterdam over a London experience (something to do with this damn glaucoma), I am definitely leaning towards Amsterdam.

Amsterdam (2)
Manyara Tree Lodge (2)
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (2)
Olduvai Camp (1)
Nomad Masek (2)
Nomad Piaya (2)
Mbuzi Mawe (2)
Emerson & Green, Stone Town (2)
Palms Zanzibar (3)

18 nights in total, but in reality it would be two days shorter than my just completed 19 night itinerary with the reduced travel times. Seven nights in luxury hotels/resorts, 11 nights on safari. While I could do all safari, I do think this is a good compromise.

If there was a good 3 night package in Amsterdam, then I would definitely consider it.

I checked the carry on baggage restrictions for Kenya Airways and this is what I found. Effective from 1st November 2004 all passengers departing from the London-Heathrow Airport are only permitted 20 kg checked in baggage and 10 kg hand baggage. I checked the carry on restrictions for KLM and they are the same.

22 pounds of carry on per person is no problem whatsoever. That was about the weight of my Tamrac backpack.

Well, it is sinking in...I am more than likely going to be leaving for Amsterdam, followed by Tanzania and Zanzibar, about four months from today! I am going to learn what it is like to eat s*** but whatever it takes, I am not going to give up a $3,000 nonrefundable deposit.
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 04:18 PM
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Correction/Clarification

>>>If there was a good 3 night package in Amsterdam, then I would definitely consider it.

I am talking about a Luxury Link package. There is currently one but it is outside the city and that is not where I want to be.
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 05:16 PM
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Kenya Airways...hmmm...when I flew roundtrip Nairobi-Lusaka this summer, they didn't check carry on weights, but they DID charge for every bit of overweight checked baggage, and it was expensive, even for the relatively short haul. AND the argument that sometimes avoided overweight charges on SAA (that you were an international passenger just connecting) doesn't work at all thru Nairobi, where there is nothing approaching that dandy 140 lb per person allowance.

Wonder if they really are tightening up on carryon weights, that would be a b*tch...I have a feeling that they might be, because this is all a great new revenue source!!
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Oct 22nd, 2005, 06:22 PM
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What my parents and I are doing for my safari next June is two flights - a flight SFO-LHR using frequent flier miles, and then a roundtrip LHR-JRO on Kenya Airways. Since these are two separate flights, I'm building in buffer days between them in case of delays.

What i've found is that Kenya Airways has a direct overnight flight (LHR-JRO) that arrives in the morning at JRO (via NBO). For June this is pricing out at $1000 for an economy class ticket. The KLM flights I've found are morning fllights out of Amsterdam that arrive in the evening of the same day. To do those flights, I'd need to do LHR-AMS-NBO-JRO.

As noted, with the stopover in Europe, it's hard to avoid the more restrictive carry-on limitations. The KLM/Kenya airways restrictions are about as good as it gets for economy class. If you break things up in two flights, then you have a lot more options in terms of choosing an airline to get yourself to Europe and can avoid the restrictions imposed by carriers like BA and Virgin. Moreover, it'll be easier to find a cheap fare to Europe during the winter.

I'm actually flying Virgin Atlantic SFO-LHR, but was able to use Amex MR points to get myself an Upper Class award. The carry-on restriction for upper class is 16 kilos, so no problems on that score.
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Oct 23rd, 2005, 09:11 AM
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Hi.
One of the best ways to ensure your carry-on is left inconspicuous is to carry it like it weighs very little. That way, as long as it does not exceed airline carry-on dimensions, you should be fine. And if the check-in staff ask to see it - lift it up with one hand - and hope you don't have to hold it up whilst they look at it for ages;-) Works especially well for me when I have just bought lots duty free bottle - once my carry-on weighed about 18kg - no questions asked. Hope this helps.
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