Strictness of BA carry-on allowances?

Old Jul 4th, 2005, 12:56 PM
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Strictness of BA carry-on allowances?

The British Air website says carry-on bags are limited to just 13 pounds. Anyone know how strict they are about enforcing that? I pack light - my bag (always a carry-on before!) weighs just under 15 pounds fully packed. So I'm a little over for my upcoming trip to central Europe in two weeks. The bag size is well within the guidelines. I don't mind checking - have done so often in the past, but on my last trip (fortunately on the way home!) my luggage did not arrive with me - so I was going to carry on this time if possible. Anyone with recent experience with British Air?
Thanks,
Karen
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Old Jul 4th, 2005, 01:02 PM
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It's the luck of the draw or rather the ticket agent!!

Here's a previous posting..


http://www.fodors.com/forums_reg/pgM...es=33&start=50
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Old Jul 4th, 2005, 01:13 PM
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Thanks, Jody, I did a search before posting mine, but for some reason didn't come up with the previous thread - must not have used the right combination of terms.
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 03:50 AM
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I've had my bags weighed and rejected by BA at Dulles Airport (last January), but your bag sounds like one they would wave (or is that waive?) through. I had a backpack that easily exceeded the weight limit, but they didn't pay any attention to it because they were more interested in the larger rolling bag I was dragging behind me.
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 04:41 AM
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They are not just strict also not reasonable. Have you ever weighed a small empty carry-on? They weigh around 5 pounds. What does BA expect us to put in it that would't exceed 1.5 pounds? They walk among the passengers waiting in the lounge and literally grab almost every carry-on even if its size meets their listed limitations. I try to avoid flying with them for this reason. They expect you to carry your coat, book, computer etc in your hand instead of putting everything in one small carry-on.
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 05:55 AM
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My dear, BA never, ever have even so much as glanced at my carry-on let alone make me weigh it. Now other airlines I've flown with have made me repack my carry-on, which was, a little carry on camping for me.

BA tend to be a reasonable airline with none of this low cost nonsense.
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 06:54 AM
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These days I always plan to check my suitcase when I fly British Air.

Since the 1st time a few years back when they rejected my 22" for being too heavy (they didn't weigh it they simply picked it up by the handle and shook their head "no")... I have gotten to be a fan of checking thru. Much easier while you are in transit and going thru airports IMO. I do always pack a few clothes in my true carry-on sized bag and keep any essential or emergency items with me.

I believe the trouble comes when you are attempting to carry on everything for your two week trip, because that is not likely to make it under the 13 lbs. limit. I have found them to be strict with their policy (but that's not something I find unreasonable).
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 07:02 AM
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I fly BA from Denver several times per year. They always weigh my carry on if I say I'm not checking baggage. And when it is over the limit, they typically (but not always) require that I check it. They also are the worst airline I fly on connecting luggage - my connection is always Heathrow. In the last 2 years - they have missed the connection for my luggage about 50% of the time. that is why I try to travel very light and not check bags.
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 08:05 AM
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Dear, dear Kingdom,
I really tried to be as polite as I could. But let me put it bluntly. BA are down right nasty! They always snach carry-on from passengers even when they are small. I am a very experienced traveller and never encountered anything like that from any other airline. I guess you were just lucky. As mentioned, Heathrow is known for its worse luggage connection, they should at least let their passengers carry a reasonabled size carry-on with their essentials for long flights. My advise is that if you have to fly BA, don't take any carry-on with you to the cabin. This way you avoid unpleasant encounters.
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 08:09 AM
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When I noticed that BMI Baby only allows 14 lbs carry-on and 40lbs checked...I decided to fly Czech Airlines to Prague instead. It was $15 more per ticket, but I think my checked bag weighs about 44 lbs and my carry-on about 20lbs so BMI baby might have charged me $45 for "excess" luggage that is not really excess...just their way of padding the price of their low-cost tickets.
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 08:23 AM
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BA's (and indeed bmibaby's) limits are not unusual for European airlines : I've gathered from this board that US-based airlines have much greater limits for carry-on bags at least. The main reason for the weight limit is so that your bag won't kill anyone if it falls out of the overhead locker. As one who always sits in an aisle seat I get nervous if I see someone stowing an ovbiously heavy bag above my head, and I wish the airlines would enforce their rules more strictly. In my experience, they usually only bother if the flight is full, as then there is likely to be a problem with space for cabin baggage.
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 08:41 AM
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Oddly enough, BA has never even glanced at my carry-on luggage on any of several transatlantic trips with them (including my flight from Orlando that arrived back in London yesterday morning). I've also never seen a BA staffer cruise the gate area giving bags the evil eye. Another Fodorite finds that my posting of this experience is a "problem", but I'm just tossing it onto the general pile. However, it's my policy to travel with light carry-on anyway. (I learned my lesson on a flight from Chicago. I had a wheelie carryon stuffed with convention detritus and as I was pushing it into the overhead bin, I lost my grip and it came crashing down HARD onto the seat in front of me. Happily, the row was unoccupied, but I could have caused a serious head or neck injury to someone. That was the *last* time I brought a carryon that weighed more than 10 pounds!)
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 08:58 AM
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Good for you, BTilke !
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 09:01 AM
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BTilke - get over it, OK. I never said your posting was a problem. I am paraphrasing but basically said the the problem w/ anecdotal tales is that what happens in one case doesn't meant it will happen to others.

For the most part, BA (and Virgin for that matter) is normally very strict about cabin luggage.
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 09:15 AM
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I have seen the Lounge Carry On Police in action at Heathrow, connecting on a flight to Rome. I was horrified, because my small but heavy carry on contained my camera and lenses, toiletries including medication, a tiny laptop -- none of which I was willing to check for obvious reasons. Fortunately they didn't come over and heft my bag.

I have also found BA personnel to be, on occasion, less than pleasant without any provocation.

I'm not sure which angers people more: the strict weight limits for carry on, or the uneven enforcement of those limits.

mkingdom, if you were flying business class or first, the allowances are much greater. Perhaps that is why you had no problem.
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 09:52 AM
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>For the most part, BA (and Virgin for that matter) is normally very strict about cabin luggage.<

Unless you're an employee of both of these airlines who can speak with authority on the topic, the above qualifies as mere speculation.

Or are some folk's anecdotal tales more credible than others?

The best you can say is that is that the policy is randomly enforced. Plan accordingly for your own level of comfort regarding the risk of being asked to check a carry on.



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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 09:54 AM
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Marilyn,
You are so right!
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 12:46 PM
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eri, those are the four of the sweetest words in the English language.

obxgirl, "the policy is randomly enforced." I think the point is that if you are used to flying the major US carriers, you've never had to deal with carry on weight limits. It can be a bit of a shock to realize this rule is definitely enforced at least some of the time on BA. You can find a bunch of threads about it, with lots more people saying it happened to them than saying don't worry about it. So the informal, unscientific survey would indicate it's a valid concern.

By the way, I doubt if an employee of BA could tell you with any greater certainty whether your carry on was going to get weighed.
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 12:55 PM
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We flew BA Boston-London roudtrip in April (school vacation week in Boston). Both flights totally full. I did not see them weigh anyones carryon, but I did see them turn away for gate-checking quite a few obviously over-weight bags. So at least on my 2 flights it appeared that they did it by eye and turned away only those clearly over weight.

From above posts, it seems it is sometimes just luck. If it were me I would try with a 15 pound bag and then if necessary take out a sweater, cosmetic bag, whatever, and put it in my pocket for the flight.
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Old Jul 5th, 2005, 12:55 PM
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Wow, thanks everyone for your input! My bag weighs in at 14 1/2 pounds (which I thought was REALLY light!). Rather than try to pack even lighter, I think I'll just go with it and see what happens. If they make me check it, so be it. But if they'll let me carry it on, I'll do so - I'm nervous about the Heathrow connection. I have a small personal bag and will put extra underwear and a toothbrush in it just in case - and will keep my fingers crossed!
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