By the time you add on luggage fees, the cost of flying abroad can often total more than you originally bargained for.
The thrifty among us may be tempted to wear all our clothes at once in order to dodge the extra charges, but one passenger recently found out that doesn’t always end well.
Ryan Carney Williams, who goes by the Twitter name Ryan Hawaii, claimed he was held at Iceland Keflavik airport because he wore 10 layers of clothing at once in order to travel with no baggage.
He was reportedly turned away from boarding two planes - one British Airways and one easyJet.
BA told HuffPost UK Williams was denied boarding due to his behaviour, not his attire, but it still got us thinking: how can you avoid luggage charges?
Here are six top tips for avoiding those last-minute fees:
1. Choose your airline carefully.
Different airlines have different luggage restriction policies and fees, so check these before you travel.
For example, Ryanair recently announced a policy change meaning passengers can no longer take two items of luggage in the cabin on flights unless they pay an additional fee of £5. Ryanair’s check baggage price starts from £25 if purchased online in advance and going over the luggage limit will incur fees.
In contrast, British Airways customers are able to take two bags of hand luggage on board the plane, free of charge, as long as they abide by size and weight limits.
BA has different rules regarding check-in baggage allowance depending on the locations you’re flying between, but on the majority of flights, adults can check in one bag of up to 23kg at no additional charge. However, if you go over the maximum size and weight allowances you’ll need to pay a fee, which again will vary depending on your airport.
Check out our handy explainer for more details on how some of the UK’s biggest airlines compare when it comes to luggage allowance.
2. Pack smartly.
If you’re prone to overpacking, don’t be tempted to leave it until the last minute. Sit down and work out how many pairs of knickers you’ll actually need for the week, instead of throwing them in like there’s no tomorrow.
The team at Heathrow Airport has created the video below with top tips from air stewards on how to make the most of the packing space you have, (plus avoid creasing).
It includes advice such as stuffing socks and underwear in shoes and rolling items (instead of folding them) to fill any nooks and crannies.
3. Buy a lightweight suitcase.
Your suitcase itself can add precious pounds to your luggage, pushing you closer to those dreaded fees.
Most supermarkets and travel stores now stock lightweight suitcases and although purchasing new luggage may mean spending more now, it could save you money in the long run.
If you’re not in a position to splash the cash on new luggage at the moment, ask friends and family if anyone has a lightweight option you can borrow.
4. Weigh your suitcase at home.
Purchasing a device to weigh your suitcase (like the one pictured below) could save you from a nasty shock at the airport.
For a slightly less accurate (but cheaper) option, try balancing small suitcases on bathroom scales to see if they abide by luggage limits.
5. Share the load.
If you’ve overpacked but your mate is far more sensible, call in a favour and distribute items between the two of you at the airport.
Certain airlines also allow customers to “pool” the luggage allowance within their party, as long as they booked their flights at the same time.
For example, with TUI Airways, you’re entitled to at least 15kg checked luggage per person (some flights offer a 20kg allowance). However, you can pool your luggage allowance with anyone else travelling on your booking, as long as each bag weighs no more than 23kg.
6. Put your best foot forward.
While wearing your entire wardrobe at once may not be the best way to avoid bagging charges, dressing smartly can save you packing space and weight.
Wear your heaviest shoes to the airport alongside any chunky cardigans or large statement jewellery to keep your case weight down. Just remember to repeat the trick on your flight home.
Commenting on Ryan Carney Williams reportedly being prevented from boarding two planes, a British Airways spokesperson said in a statement: “We do not tolerate threatening or abusive behaviour from any customer, and will always take the appropriate action.
“We give our customers a wide range of fares to choose from to meet their needs. Our hand baggage only fares from Iceland are as low as £47 each way, and are designed for customers who are travelling without any hold baggage.
“We do understand that our customers’ plans can change so they can choose to pay a fee at the airport if they need an extra bag. We explained our policy to our customer, and offered him an alternative flight to London.”
HuffPost UK has also contacted easyJet for comment and is awaiting response.