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Weighing of Carry-On -Lufthans, RyanAair, others

This question has appeared several times here in the past regarding weighing of carry-on.

We have just complected our 4th full trip, plus one with a transatlantic leg, on Lufthansa. That's a total of 17 flights, airports include Philadelphia, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Budapest, Newark, and a Munich transfer. In every case, we have appeared at the gate with our loaded RS convertibles on our backs. Not once were we ever requested to size or weigh these (they clearly fit the sizers). It is possible that the weight may have been a kilo over their 8 kg limit, it's hard to tell on our bathroom scale. We don't think they care since you are easily carrying it. For that matter, we have never been checked on other airlines, and that includes our first experience with Ryanair, which on this trip. That, BTW, was incredibly painless, especially as we bought our seats far-enough ahead with such a low price that the extra charge for priority was well worth it. We firmly believe if you show up with your pack on your back, without other hand-helds, you will not be checked. As if to prove that point, the only time one of our bags was rejected was on OrangeBus leaving Budapest several years ago. I had already boarded with my bag, but my wife was stopped because she was carrying her bag by hand to fit easily through the doors and struggling with it. She was thus made to place it under in the hold, with a surcharge, even though it was within their size limit and fit the overhead rack.

Posted by
1724 posts

17 flight!!! Wow
Will just add just came back and flew on Norwegian, Vueling and Aer Lingus and none of them even looked at our carry-on's let alone weighed them.
On the last leg we picked up a bunch of duty free stuff so were definitely exceeding the personal allowance for carry-on on our Aer Lingus Dublin to Boston leg.
Each were also lenient on a couple of extra pounds overage on checked baggage.
I was fearful of both, as my carry-on was a heavy camera bag that might have been too tall and definitely was a little overweight and a check-in bag that was a couple of pounds over all of the time despite our best efforts to reduce.

Posted by
16165 posts

My experience has been that gate agents seem to be a bit blind to back-packs if you are wearing them. They always look to your hands to see what you are carrying and if you have a roller board. Nonetheless, I carry a couple of bungey cords in my back-pack to squeeze it down to the 9 or 10 inch width if need be. And I keep to the weight limits, which also saves my back.

Posted by
4560 posts

My experience has been different. I have had hand baggage weighed.

I have observed that many airlines are inconsistent about size and weight enforcement. I have had hand baggage weighed a number of times over the years. I've also been made to gate check bags that were within the size limit due to full flights or the use of a regional jet. I've observed that some airlines tend to enforce the rules more strictly when a flight is full.

I think the bottom line is that if your bag doesn't meet the criteria, you should be prepared to check, but pleasantly surprised if you can carry on. Even if your bag meets the size and weight criteria, if the bag doesn't fit under the seat in front of you, you may still be required to check if the overhead bins fill up before you board or if you happen to be on a regional jet with tiny overhead bins.

Posted by
18025 posts

I once had my bag weighed at the Lufthansa counter when I checked in and said I had nothing to check. Another time, when I was still carrying a bag packed close to 8 kg, I had picked up a couple of glossy, magazine style, resort town brochures and a book, and my bag was close to 26#. When I checked in at FRA, they saw that the bag met the size requirements and didn't weigh it.

A few years ago, on a domestic flight with a regional jet, they required all rolling suitcases to be gate checked (and returned them to the gate at the destination). I was able to take my convertible backpack on board, but my partner had to gate check her roll-aboard. No problem, except it took a while to get all of the rolling bags out of the plane and to the gate after we landed. I could have been long gone, but we had to wait for hers.

Posted by
2265 posts

Hmm, I wonder if it also helps to NOT have to go to a check-in counter. Even at that, the couple of times were not allowed an online check-in (AA returning from Dublin, Istanbul to Budapest), or else were required to see the Ryanair counter for a Visa stamp, there was no issue.

Posted by
14415 posts

I flew Turkish Air from Chicago in August and they were weighing cabin bags at check-in, then putting tags on them. It would have been pretty simple to take heavy items out of the bags, have them weighed and then put more stuff in them.

The problem is that you never know if the size and/or weight limits will be checked and the penalties can be costly.

Posted by
1970 posts

I've had my luggage checked lots of times....Alaska, Delta, Condor and Turkish. I do carry on only. I've been checked at the ticket counter and at the gate. I DO think airlines care....sometimes...and since I can't predict their behavior on any given flight and since I like to avoid hassles, I match the carry on guidelines for all airlines I fly. It's just simpler that way.

Posted by
1240 posts

On my upcoming it will be impossible (well, maybe someone would) go carry on for 2 !/2 weeks with a 5 kg (11 lb) limit for carry on luggage. This is on Bangkok Airlines.

Posted by
2265 posts

True, but they also now allow a second smaller bag. And as reported, they never looked at us twice as we stood there with our bags on our backs while they were checking our passports and then REPRINTING our boarding passes (rather than just stamping ours.)

Posted by
6082 posts

I was on a Lufthansa flight where they were weighing bags at the gate area as people sat and waited for boarding, not at check-in. The gate agents walked around eyeballing bags and weighing the ones that looked too big. I noted that mostly they were targeting roller bags, not backpacks.

Posted by
12400 posts

This year end of May I flew from SFO to Frankfurt on Lufthansa, had a carry-on, which was ca. 17-19 pounds. At check-in and at boarding, I was never questioned about weight or size of this shoulder sack intended to be a carry-on, just walked in with the sack hanging over my right shoulder. I'm sure "they" could tell that my sack would fit the overhead bin quite nicely no matter which way it was put in there.

Posted by
21264 posts

The issue is not whether or not your carry on was weighed or put in the sizing box. My experience is that it rarely happens but when it does you better be under the limit. I can go 20 or 30 times without being check but that doesn't mean I will not be checked the next time. And I have stood in lines where every bag was checked. There is no way to guarantee that you will not be checked. So if you are not within the limits, you need to have a plan B to deal with the situation. You need to plan to be within the limits. You have no choice.

Posted by
4385 posts

I stuff my family's carry-ons to the brim every time I come home to Vienna. I weigh my checked luggage with precision, but never the carry-on. So long as they look the correct size, no problem. If I have to toss a magazine or something from Trader Joe's, then I will, but it has never happened. And when my family and I come through, we look like a total circus. You should have seen what we packed when we lived in West Africa for 7 years.

Posted by
12400 posts

I don't count on being checked, never have been checked either by Lufthansa or any other airline. The odds are against it. They can spot out a shoulder sack that is above the limit since the sack is not overloaded. If I were to fly Ryan, I would be more aware of packing less. for the carry on or just check it in.