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Why do you think Airlines are limiting weight of carry on and luggage?

I can't figure out why airlines are limiting the weight of carry on's and luggage you check. My sister got charged because her bag was over 50 pounds.
Are they selling the extra space to hall frieght and making extra money that way? I have not read anything in the news, maybe I missed it. Thanks for letting me know.

Posted by
970 posts

The basic reason seems to be to increase revenue at a time when expenses, especially fuel costs, have been increasing. I'm sure, too, that discouraging checked luggage also reduces costs.

Each aircraft has a fixed weight limit. If it exceeds that limit, it won't be allowed to fly. Airlines would like every pound to be a paying pound. Econo airlines in Europe already charge for any checked luggage. I believe Skybus does in the U.s., as well. I won't be surprised to see the practice spread.

Posted by
805 posts

Two reasons:

  1. For carry on, it is mostly a space issue. People take too much onboard and the plane fills.

  2. For checked luggage, cost and loading time. It takes a long time to load bags if you have 2-3 for each passenger, which slows down their ability to "turn" aircraft (have them land, unload and go somewhere else quickly). In addition, aviation fuel is expensive and the heavier your bags are, the more fuel they require to be consumed and the more expensive they are to the airline.

Personally, if you can't travel in Europe (assuming you have normal needs) with one checked/carry on both of which are under the weight limit, you are packing too much. My mom and sister traveled for 6.5 weeks with just that much stuff.

Posted by
21862 posts

MONEY/REVENUE The airlines are desperate for every penny they can get. IF you were willing to pay an extra $50 or $100 on your ticket the restriction would be gone. But it works two ways -- if overweight they get a little extra and if you pack efficiently and are underweigh they save on fuel costs. It is called WIN/WIN for the airlines. A recent articles in the WSJ suggested that all airlines will move to a la carte pricing -- fee for everything. Base ticket price + bpoking fee+seat reservation fee+baggage handling fee based on weight and number of pieces+ beverage fee + entertainment fee. etc. If you want it, you pay for it. If you don't want it or need it, you don't pay for it. A new world is coming.

Posted by
705 posts

From what I've been told by 'people in the industry' it's to do with fuel amongst other things. The extra weight does make a difference. It's so expensive now that they try for any saving. Also turn around time sounds logical. Things are so competitive that they will do anything to save money.

Posted by
31524 posts


I believe the changes in baggage limits are mostly due to the steadily increasing cost of fuel. Many people haven't learned the concept of "packing light", so the excess weight tends to add up fairly quickly, especially on a flight with a few hundred passengers. There's no "free lunch" so it requires fuel to haul that around.

Given the increasing competition in the airline industry, it's difficult to recover fuel costs by charging more for tickets, so this can be "managed" to some extent by limiting baggage weights.

I suspect this is something we're all going to have to get used to.