Emirates cuts baggage allowances on cheaper tickets

January 23, 2019
United checked baggage

Emirates is quietly cutting some checked baggage allowances by five or 23 kilos from February 4.

Those traveling on its cheaper economy class “Special” tickets on routes where weight is used to define baggage allowance will see their baggage allowance cut from 20kg to 15kg.

Also losing out are those in the Emirates Saver category, where the allowance goes from 30kg  to 25kg.

Those on “Flex” and “Flex Plus” tickets in this category retain their limits of 30 and 35 kilos, respectively.

Business and first class allowances also remain the same.

The biggest impact is on routes that use the number of pieces to define the baggage allowance.

On flights to and from the Americas, as well as those originating in Africa, all economy class passengers are, currently allowed two pieces of luggage each weighing 23kg.

From February 4, people flying on Special fares will lose a suitcase to get one piece of 23kg luggage on these routes.

Baggage allowances for flights within the Americas and between the US and Europe change to see travelers on Special and Saver fares reduced from two to one piece of 23kg luggage.

Emirates argues the adjustment enables Emirates to offer customers “more flexibility to select the fare and associated benefits that best meet their travel needs”.

The airline says members of its Skywards frequent flyer program may get extra baggage allowances, depending on their status.

It also notes: “If your journey from Australia, New Zealand or Asia to North or South America includes a stopover in Dubai greater than 24 hours, or a sector in Europe or Africa, the weight concept will apply for the entire ticketed journey.”

Many airlines have changed their baggage policies and either charge travelers for all checked luggage or slug them with high excess baggage rates.

The result for travelers using a number of carriers on a trip can be a confusing patchwork of charges and rules.

Hefty luggage fee rises of up to 100 percent and new rules were introduced in 2018 on some airlines in North America and Europe.

JetBlue, WestJet and Air Canada all raised baggage fees while Ryanair has reversed its stance on carrying wheelie bags for free.

Major US carriers followed with price rises for a first checked bag of  20 percent to $US30.

READ Major US carriers join the rush to increase checked baggage fees.

The airlines argued the rises helped offset higher costs, including raised fuel prices and increased labor expenses.

US Department of Transportation statistics give an indication of the benefit to airlines’ bottom lines, showing US carriers between them earned almost $US4.6 billion in checked baggage fees in 2017.