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carry on weight restrictions

When looking at European airlines baggage restrictions, I notice there is a weight limit for carry on. Do the airlines actually weigh the hand baggage?

Posted by
9363 posts

Most budget carriers are VERY strict about their carry on rules. Some have size restrictions, some have weight restrictions, some have both. Unless you want to risk having to check your bag at the last minute (with a hefty additional fee), you need to make sure that you meet their standards. If you want to risk it, a bag that doesn't look stuffed full will attract less attention than one that appears to be bursting at the seams. They most likely will not weigh it, but if they think it could be over, they might.

Posted by
8234 posts

Some do, most don't. If you look like you're straining with a fat bag, they might weigh it.

Many airlines limit carry-on's to 10 kgs.--22 lbs. Many limit check on bags to 20 kgs.

Posted by
8631 posts

I have seen them sometimes weigh carryons at check-in, and randomly checking them in the gate area. Lufthansa's is 8 kg.

Posted by
44 posts

Earlier this month, on a flight to Rome, I saw them instantly charge the man behind me $100.00 for having an overweight carry-on and they made him check it in. His bag was the correct carry on size, but too heavy. They did not even give him a chance to rearrange things and we were 3 hours early for the flight as directed. On the other hand, I was in line in front of the above mentioned passenger, but I I told the agent that "mine might be little over." It was 2 pounds over. He thanked me for the info and directed me over to a table to rearrange things. My husband pulled out our luggage scale, reweighed his bag and we started to repack things. I put things in my jacket, as did my husband and then our bags were re-weighed and we had no extra charges. When we got to our destination and went straight to customs before everyone else who went to the luggage carrousel, we were very glad to have follow the RS light packing guidelines. I think it's those last minute I-migh-need-this-things and the electronics that go in that make everything weigh so much.
My husband swears his Scottevest jacket must have weighed 8 pounds! But those two jackets saved us $200.00 when we left and again when we transferred to another airliner in Copenhagen. Both times they were sticklers about weight....not so much size... My carryon was 21" rather than 20" but it fit in the Easy Jet overhead and so I was fine.

Posted by
19169 posts

I once checked in for a Lufthansa flight, and they asked me if I would be checking my bag. When I said, "No", they weighed it. It was under the 17.6# (8kg) weight limit so they let me take it with me.

Another time, I changed planes in Düsseldorf, and a lot of passenger, who were apparently originating in Düsseldorf, had green tags on their bags. I assumed the bags had been checked at the desk for size and/or weight and passed.

Posted by
23464 posts

We have the same thing happen in Prague on Delta to New York. All bags were weighed and tagged at check-in. Overweight it was checked and hand luggage was give a tag - don't remember the color. We notice one family traveling with some hand luggage and in particular a short but fat duffel bag. Probably an acceptable size for carry on but it looked heavy. The family kind of left the bag in line and ignored it during check in when there other bags were weighed and tagged. Noticed them later in the waiting area with the duffel bag and no tag. They had a priority status so were boarding ahead of us but the gate attended noticed no tag and stopped them. I could hear the father arguing that the tag must have fallen off, was lost, etc. They were pulled to the side and told to take the bag to the front check in and get a new tag. The gate attendant was unyielding. When we walked pass the father was raising the stakes - voice louder, something about who he was, etc. When we deplaned in New York for immigrations and customs, we did not see the family.

Posted by
1068 posts

I've had bags weighed but not often. The exceptions are the "budget" airlines which make a lot of their profit by strictly adhering to the carry-on rules. However, even KLM and others have weighed bags in the past.

Posted by
18744 posts

Good to know all of this, because if there were no checks we wouldn't have to obey the rules of the sales contract. Next thing you know they will start enforcing the size limitations . Dang inconvenient the rules!

Posted by
327 posts

I have booked round trip from USA to Greece with United Airlines. The return flight leaving Athens is on Lufthansa which has luggage restrictions more strict than United. I read that luggage restrictions are based on your first flight leg. Not knowing if that meant first leg of the round trip or first leg of the return segment, I phoned Lufthansa and was told luggage rules would be based on United Airlines. In actual experience, can I expect that to be true?

Posted by
15675 posts

I flew Air France out of Paris CDG in April and they were checking hand luggage weight and size after at security. The frame to fit the bag into was also a scale, so it's checked in one fell swoop. They even checked my small backpack, that was at about 1/3 the 12 kg. weight limit.

Posted by
16088 posts

So the dumb question here, as I've really never quite understood the rationale?

I may not be explaining it very well but what difference does it make to the total load a plane is hauling if, say, a significant number of passengers are carrying X number of pounds of extra weight (in items/clothing) ON them instead of IN their bags? Are the restrictions a matter of attempting to achieve more even weight distribution throughout the cabin? Or Is it mostly a profit-making strategy?

I am not questioning size restrictions - those make sense - but having witnessed passengers removing the extra weight from their persons once ON the plane and stuffing it back into their bags...

Sharon, you and your DH are far from the first to have (wisely) gotten around weight restrictions by wearing the overage. It's a very common solution these days, thus my question.

Posted by
5697 posts

Well, I asked a similar question years ago when I weighed only 110 pounds -- why did my luggage get restricted when my bag and I together weighed less than the person in the next seat by him/herself ?

Posted by
16088 posts

Laura, as I'm about the same weight as you are, I could ask the same question?
But I won't 'cause THAT would open an entirely different can of worms! :O)

Still, passengers can (and some do) load themselves up with however many pounds they can tolerate, and they can (and do; I've seen some of them) just unload much of that extra weight their carryon while standing in the loading queue or upon reaching their seats. Pretty much defeats the purpose?

Posted by
14247 posts

@ Lynn, my experience was on Delta/KLM/Alitalia so not with your airlines, but on a return flight from Florence booked on Delta and with the AMS/SEA segment being Delta, the gate agent in Florence went by the Alitalia rules for carry on weight and size. I was new to International travel and did not know this was even a possibility, so had to scramble to get my Kindle and some other stuff out of my too heavy carry on so it could be checked. As a rookie traveler, I learned a valuable lesson!

While it may be true they go by United standards on your flight, I would have everything packed so your carryon can be checked if needed without too much fuss.

Posted by
5837 posts

I'm guessing that an air carrier may have two reasons for carry-on weight limits. The first is the structural integrity of the overhead. I recall seeing a posting limit of 40 pounds on some overheads in the past.

The second reason is weight and balance calculations. The FAA allows operators of large aircraft to use standard average passenger weights including clothing and carry-on.

FAA AC120-27E:

The standard average passenger weights...include 5 pounds for summer
clothing, 10 pounds for winter clothing, and a 16-pound allowance for
personal items and carry-on bags. Where no gender is given, the
standard average passenger weights are based on the assumption that
50 percent of passengers are male and 50 percent of passengers are

Posted by
23464 posts

We hit an airline restriction last January of 44 lb/per person total weight. Our luggage to be checked, carry on luggage, loose clothing - sweaters, rain jacket, camera bag, it all went on the scale. I was afraid to ask if I had to take my shoes off. We barely made it.

And I have stood in more than one Lufthansa check-in line where every bag was place in the sizing box and weighed. You just have to be prepared.

Posted by
15666 posts

While weight and balance are important in terms of amount of cargo and cargo placement, and as long as human cargo is not bunched up, whether you put 10 pounds or 30 pounds in the overhead makes no difference.

The reason some airlines keep their carry-on weight down, besides minimizing the risk of something falling on your head, is to speed up boarding and deplaning.

If people can't bring aboard large, heavy bags, it should be easier, and faster, to get people on and off.

And now that the airlines charge for checked bags, for many this is a way to make money.