Is a single big item of luggage ok in long haul flights?
July 25, 2011 4:32 AM   Subscribe

Luggage on a long-haul flight: will I be able to have a really large trolley case, or does it have to be split up?

I will be flying soon from London to Seoul in South Korea. I will only find out flight and airline details last minute and in the meantime I would like to sort out my luggage, and what I can take.

I seem to remember on my last flight I was allowed 20kg luggage, but it must be two items, not a big one with most of the weight. Is there any sort of standardisation between airlines?

I would like to get a large trolley case for most of the luggage, one that is bigger than most you see, and then sling some other bits in a canvas kit bag. Is it a good bet that this is ok?
posted by Not Supplied to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
Every airline I've flown with gave its weight limit per item, and also gave dimension limits (for example, on KLM, the length + width + height of an item cannot exceed 158 cm). I don't think either measurement is very standardized, and most airlines probably accept oversized luggage (although I'm sure they'll charge you for it). You may be able to check several airlines' policies and make an estimate.

Personally, I don't think a large trolley case would be a very safe bet, based on what I've seen other people using when flying between the U.S. and Europe. But I could be wrong.
posted by neushoorn at 4:43 AM on July 25, 2011

The only standard that I know of, is that under UK health & safety regulations airlines flying out of the UK can't accept single items of luggage that weigh more than 32kg.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:53 AM on July 25, 2011

Are you talking carry on or checked baggage? I'm guessing checked, because I don't think anyone lets you bring on 20kg!

There's the List of Airline Baggage Limits.

But in general, 20-23kgs. Some airlines do not allow a single piece of luggage to weigh more than 23kg for occupational health and safety reasons. Usually when they use the weight system, you can have any number of bags, as long as they total less than the limit.

The piece system, usually used by US and Canadian airlines typically gives you two pieces of luggage, each being up to 23kg. Guessing this would be unlikely on a London-Korea route.

Large trolley case is ok as long as it doesn't weigh more than about 20kg when full.

If you assume that you will fly direct, you can probably look up which airlines fly that route and check their specific limits.
posted by AnnaRat at 4:55 AM on July 25, 2011

Sorry, EndsOfInvention is right, the occ health and safety limit is 32kg, not 23kg (so even if you pay excess baggage, you can't have a piece that is heavier than that), and I think you are limited to dimensions of 158cm.
posted by AnnaRat at 4:59 AM on July 25, 2011

Thanks. I can't find any specific airlines serving Korea there, but I think last time it was 2 pieces of luggage each up to 20kg. A lot of the long haul ones do something like this.

So I suppose I have to have 2 bags. Oh well.
posted by Not Supplied at 5:00 AM on July 25, 2011

Double check that it is two items, because I remember as a kid (growing up overseas and flying around a bit) that when our flights were routed through the Americas we got 2 suitcases each, and when not routed through there (eg. London to Seoul) we were allowed 1 suitcase each of 21 kilos. (excess up to 32, I think) This may have changed.

I'm one of those annoying 'travel light' people, but I'll spare you the spiel. :)
are you sure you can't just take hand luggage? it's so much nicer! :P
posted by titanium_geek at 6:02 AM on July 25, 2011

Different airlines have different rules. However, I have never seen a max weight higher than 32 kilos, and it is normally 21ish (50.5 pounds), and the max dimensions are also specified.

You'll have to look to your specific airline and ticket to discover the number of bags, weight, and size for your specific flight.
posted by pmb at 6:47 AM on July 25, 2011

I would bet any reasonable sum (say $1) that checked it will be: any number of pieces totalling not more than 20 kg, and carry-on: one piece not more than 10 kg. Both will be subject to size limits. You get the odd case where an airline will allow a higher limit (usually 23 kg) to check, but reduce the carry-on limit by the same amount. I can't see any airline requiring you to separate 20 kg checked baggage allowance into two pieces. But absolutely check as many airlines as possible. It will be a direct flight, or at least on the same airline the whole way, won't it?
posted by Logophiliac at 8:27 AM on July 25, 2011

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