Most airlines change luggage weight limits
By Cynthia Bauer, Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
/ Published March 29, 2003
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFPN) -- Most major airlines have changed their checked baggage policy concerning weight limits and excess charges for luggage on domestic flights, according to Air Mobility Command transportation officials. These changes will affect military travelers.
"The carriers will continue to accept luggage up to 100 pounds per piece but significant fees will be charged after luggage exceeds their weight limits," said John Lundeby, a traffic management specialist with Air Mobility Command headquarters. "Most airlines allow two pieces of luggage, 50 pounds maximum each, to be checked free of charge. Bags exceeding 50 pounds, but less than 70 pounds, will be assessed an excess-baggage fee, normally around $25 per bag. Bags between 70 and 100 pounds will be charged additional fees, normally around $80 per bag. Bags weighing over 100 pounds will not be accepted."
Waivers are available to all military members, including active duty, Guard, Reserve and Coast Guard.
"The airlines do offer waivers to allow military personnel on orders to check luggage that weighs over the limit, but not to exceed 70 pounds, without paying an additional charge," said Lundeby. "But each airline has its own rules of what will be accepted without an additional charge.
"Some airlines also restrict the waiver to types of luggage," he said. "For instance, one airline will apply the weight waiver to only one bag, which must be a military-issue bag, such as a duffel bag or B-4 bag."
The waivers do not apply to family members or to Defense Department civilians, even if they are on official travel, and do not apply to servicemembers on leisure travel.
Carriers with domestic flights, including Northwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Airlines have already put new policies into effect. Continental Airlines has announced they will make changes to their policy April 15.
"The best advice I can give travelers is to check with the airlines on the weight restrictions before traveling, either through the carrier's Web site or by calling their toll-free number," said Lundeby.
Ticket agents and local traffic management offices can access each carrier's baggage rules and waivers through their computer reservation system.
"If you think your checked bags will exceed 50 pounds each, make sure you have excess baggage authorized (on) your official orders," he said. "Travel pay will not reimburse you for excess baggage fees unless you have this authorization."
Lundeby said that travelers on AMC Patriot Express flights are allowed two checked bags at 70 pounds maximum for each bag. Commanders may approve excess baggage in the traveler's orders. Passengers on AMC space-available flights have the same limit of two bags at 70 pounds each; however space-A travelers are not authorized excess baggage. (Courtesy of AMC News Service)