Luggage Shipping & Excess Baggage
The Truth About Luggage

Lugging a heavy suitcase through the airport can make a stressful trip even harder, but a lightweight suitcase could help you zip through the lines and up to your terminal with ease. Additionally, many airlines require you to use light luggage in order to meet weight limits as well as size restrictions. We hope these tips will help you meet airline restrictions and get through the airport easily.

Since paying for luggage on flights has become fairly commonplace, and travelers now expect a fee to check the bags they do not want to carry onto the plane. You might think that paying to check your luggage means you can throw on a suitcase or bag of any size and weight without additional costs. However, that is not the case with most domestic and international airlines. You need to ensure your checked bags adhere to the size and weight restrictions set by the specific airline you are flying, or you will pay an extra fee.

With regularly-updated airline regulations, we understand that packing may be a confusing step in preparing for your trip or overseas move. The limitations on checked baggage size will likely dictate how and how much you pack, but it is important to be aware of size limitations to avoid adding unnecessary charges to your fare. The myriad airline carriers provide varying size limits and restrictions, normally measured as the sum of the length, width and height of your checked luggage. Most airlines use a limit of 62 total inches, though some are more generous, and some differ depending on the destination of the flight. Exceeding this limit can result in oversized charges, or checking refusal altogether.

Pay Attention to Weight Limits
Limits depend on the airline, but most have a size limit of 62 linear inches; these constraints are put into place to accommodate enough space for all passengers’ baggage. Unfortunately, exceptionally oversized luggage may be loaded on a standby status, meaning the luggage will only be loaded on the next flight with available cargo space. To avoid this drawback, airlines will usually allow passengers to check up to 10 bags that conform to their size limitations. If you are travelling only remember to pack for the duration of your trip but if you are moving overseas, NowShip FAST will be a better alternative.
Linear Inches
The maximum number of linear inches on a checked bag for most airlines is 62 inches. This means that when you add up the length, width and height of the luggage you intend to check, it should not be more than 62 inches. Most standard suitcases, garment bags and duffel bags measure 62 linear inches or less. While the airline representatives will not measure all bags that get checked for your flight, they might pull out the tape measure if it looks larger than average.

Weight Restrictions
Domestic and international airlines such as Delta, Southwest and British Airways impose a weight limit of 50 pounds on any checked luggage. This is a per-piece limit, meaning if you are paying to check two or more bags, they must weigh no more than 50 pounds each. If you weigh your bag before going to the airport and it exceeds 50 pounds, consider packing two lighter bags instead of one heavy bag. The fee for an additional piece of checked luggage is often lower than the charge for a single overweight bag.

Oversized Baggage
Special items such as surfboard, bicycles or musical instruments as well as any luggage that exceeds the 50-pound weight limit of most airlines will incur an over-sized or overweight baggage fee. The cost will depend on the airline, for example Southwest Airlines charges $75 for oversized luggage, and Delta charges between $125 and $200, depending on how many bags you are checking, as of publication. (Bringing those golf clubs might be a surprise once at the airport, NowShip My Clubs might be a cost effective solution depending upon your destination).

Under certain conditions, you can check in luggage that exceeds the airline's linear height and weight restrictions. For example, if you travel first class or on a Business Elite fare with Delta, you are entitled to check up luggage up to 70 pounds for free. Many airlines also allow active-duty military personnel to travel without any restrictions on the number or size of the luggage they check. Ask your airline whether you are eligible for any of these exceptions before you check your bags.

Definition of a lightweight suitcase:
First, it's important to know how much lightweight luggage can weigh to earn the name LIGHTWEIGHT. A 22-inch upright must be under 10 pounds when empty to earn lightweight status. Truthfully, the lighter the suitcase the better. You’ll be surprised that some lightweight bags weigh even less and fall into the 4 to 8 pound category. The lighter the luggage, the more you can pack in it, so if you aren't good at packing light, be sure to look for the lightest suitcase you can find.

Hard or soft lightweight suitcases:
It's possible to find lightweight luggage with either hard or soft shells, although soft-sided bags tend to weigh less. If you want strength and durability of a hard-sided suitcase, you should choose a case made of ABS or polycarbonate. Both these materials are the lightest hard-shell materials currently available in the marketplace. Light luggage made of durable, rip-stop fabrics, like nylon, or fabrics with thick weaves, like Cordura also makes the best lightweight luggage. These fabric suitcases, in our opinion, are often just as durable as hard-sided luggage sets yet lighter.

Look for lightweight frames:
Most uprights and luggage sets will have frames; lightweight bags and suitcases, by nature will have frames made of materials such as aluminum, fiberglass, or even graphite. These frames should be flexible like a honeycomb frame. This ensures that your bag can pop back into shape and provide support. Collapsible frames are even better, as they provide all the same benefits of lightweight bags while being easy to store.

Extra features can add weight:
When you're choosing your lightweight suitcase, you'll need to consider which features are important to you, as they can and do affect the weight of your bags. Inline or spinner wheels and telescoping handles make pulling your luggage behind you lots easier, but they can make your suitcase too heavy for you to pack everything you need. Expandability is certainly a great feature for any bag to have, but on a lightweight suitcase, it might tempt you to over-pack.