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What happens if your luggage is overweight when you check in?

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Aug 8th, 2007, 08:13 AM
  #1
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What happens if your luggage is overweight when you check in?

Hi,

I've always done carryon when traveling to Europe and have been scrupulous about staying underweight. However, I have to check in a large amount of luggage for an upcoming trip. I'm hoping to stay in the weight limit, but I'm wondering what happens if I just can't. I've seen people at the airport pushing mountains of suitcases up to check in. What happens?

Also, I've seen people check in taped up boxes marked "fragile" "glassware." I guess those are purchases people are carrying home. I'm considering checking a well-packed desk computer. Am I nuts?
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Aug 8th, 2007, 08:20 AM
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You pay a fee for excessive baggage. Most airlines have the rate posted on their website. Check that carefully.

[On some airlines on some routes during certain times of the year, they may not take excess baggage at all. Like going to South America from the US. But extremely unlikely for Europe.]
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Aug 8th, 2007, 08:26 AM
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What happens? I can tell you from personal experience that sometimes you'll be charged for the extra weight and sometimes you won't.

I would never count on NOT being charged but it does happen.
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Aug 8th, 2007, 08:30 AM
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Every airline has a policy for overweight bags or too many bags. Ex - Delta charges $100 per bag for bags over 50lbs or $100 for an extra bag. You can pay the charge or rearrange your bags.

I am an American living in London, so I tend to bring lots of American stuff back here. I always weigh my bags before going to the airport. If they are all a few pounds over I will just make an extra bag so I have one $100 charge instead of 6. . .

Regarding the computer - my only concern is that the customs people will want to charge you VAT on it if it looks new. I also believe that things with wires WILL set off the FAA security monitoring and they will unpack the entire thing to see what it is. Now, this hasn't stopped me from bringing things I want on a flight and I occasionally pack up moving boxes of exactly the correct size and weight and they are frequently opened and looked at.
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Aug 8th, 2007, 08:32 AM
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Also check the luggage liability. For international flights, most airlines only give you the Warsaw Convention rate, which is about US$25/kg at the current rate. That is not a lot of money.

Some airline may allow you to buy excess insurance, or your travel or home insurance may cover it.
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Aug 8th, 2007, 08:35 AM
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Charges lately have been the equivalent of $20-$25 a kilogram. It's "free" money for the airlines so they are all cashing in on it.

Before the airlines all turned a bright yellow, you could slip heavy stuff into your carry on bags.
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Aug 8th, 2007, 08:44 AM
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Buy a personal scale. Calibrate it. Weigh the bags. Re-distribute the loads to a bit less than the allowed/free limits. Consider surface postal of excess baggage. Consider using shipping boxes instead of heavy luggage.
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Aug 8th, 2007, 08:47 AM
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Thanks for all these really great replies.

It really helps to know what kind of money we are talking about. I will be flying Alitalia. (I know, I know. but believe me, all the other options didn't work).

I will be sure not to check any wires. I'll bring those as carryon.

We might be able to produce paperwork showing the computer is several years old and a personal item.
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Aug 8th, 2007, 08:54 AM
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I know I'm being nosey, and you can tell me to mind my own business, but why do you want to bring an old computer with you?
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Aug 8th, 2007, 08:56 AM
  #10
 
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I assume you're flying from the US?

From Alitalia's website:

In USA, Canada, Brazil, Venezuela fixed supplements apply, differing from country to country, for excess baggage that anyhow cannot be more than 32 kg weight, otherwise it will be considered as cargo.

Your allowance for checked bags are two pieces of 23kg each, if you're flying coach.
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Aug 8th, 2007, 08:57 AM
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You need to call Alitalia's US office to find out what that "fixed supplement" is.
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Aug 8th, 2007, 09:04 AM
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rkkwan,

I'm bureaucratese challenged. Does that mean my husband and I can each carry 46 kg, plus another 32 as a separate item? Or does it mean that we can each carry 46 kg, and another 10 individually?

Anyway, 46kg sounds like a lotta luggage to me! I know the computer weighs 20lbs, so that's not a big deal.

hetmij,

It's a Mac, and to buy a new one in Italy means going to Roma, right? I'm not gonna be in Roma if I can help it.
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Aug 8th, 2007, 09:39 AM
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Twice (Aer Lingus and IcelandAir) I have been with someone who had bags over the weight limit. On both occasions, they **had** to redistribute their excess to my bags, they were not allowed to pay the excess. I think you need to check with the specific airline. I know for certain Aer Lingus said that it is a union rule that luggage handlers in Dublin would not handle anything "that heavy", so paying up was not an option.
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Aug 8th, 2007, 09:58 AM
  #14
 
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fall06 - It means each of you can take 2 bags of 23kg each, free. 4 bags total.

If any of the bag is 23-32kg, you need to pay a fixed supplement. If a bag is over 32kg, they will not take it, and you need to ship it as cargo or do something else.
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Aug 8th, 2007, 11:56 AM
  #15
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Thanks very much rkkwan. Even I don't want to deal with a bag 32kg, and surely we can meet that limit.

Amyb, I will check with Alitalia for what it's worth. You often get different answers depending on who you talk to.
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