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How much extra can airlines charge for baggage and seating – and how can you avoid hidden fees?

How much extra can airlines charge for baggage and seating – and how can you avoid hidden fees?

In the King’s Speech this week, the government vowed to crack down on “drip pricing”, such as when extras are added to the basic air fare.

Airline passengers are said to be particularly vulnerable to “consumer harms”, including additionial charges for luggage or seating. Carriers say charges are clear, and passengers can choose what they need.

But how high can the price of extras rise – and can you avoid them? These are the key differences.

Airport check-in

Very few airlines charge a fee for checking in at the airport. Two that do are Ryanair and Wizz Air.

For Ryanair, passengers who have not checked in online up to two hours before their flight can do so at the airport with the payment of a fee – £55 in the UK, less elsewhere. Passengers who have checked in but cannot present the boarding pass on the Ryanair app or on paper must pay a boarding pass reissue fee of £20 in the UK, €20 (£17) elsewhere.

Wizz Air allows passengers to pre-book airport check-in for £11.50/€13 – but airport check-in without pre-booking costs £35.50/€40.

Checked baggage

Airlines vary widely in their practices, and often it depends on the length of a flight – and sometimes how much demand there is for it. These are the basics:

British Airways

Domestic and European flights tend to have a charge of around £17 one way for a 23kg bag – rising to £50 for many long-haul flights.


On the longest easyJet flight, a six-hour haul from Belfast to Hurghada in Egypt covering 2,762 miles, a15kg checked bag costs £31, while a 23kg case is £40. On a short flight such as Belfast to London Gatwick the price falls to £21 and £26 respectively.


For a typical flight such as Newcastle to Faro, a 22kg checked bag costs £38.


A typical flight is from London Stansted to Budapest. On this, a 10kg checked bag is £15, while a 20kg case is £25.

Wizz Air

The airline has a wide range of options. From Liverpool to Warsaw, for example, the rates are as follows:

  • 10kg: £22
  • 20kg: £40
  • 26kg: £42
  • 32kg: £46

It is clearly worth taking one mighty 32kg bag than, say, a 10kg and 20kg case.

Cabin baggage

British Airways

BA has an extremely generous free allowance of two pieces (one small backpack sized, one large roll-along) with a weight limit of 23kg each.


A large piece of cabin baggage typically costs an additional £24.


The airline has a 10kg allowance…

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