Back in the good old days, you could do basically anything on airplanes and airlines wouldn’t bat an eye. But nowadays, there are rules and restrictions that sometimes don’t even make sense. Combining the baggage weight allowance between your travel partners seems like something that should be commonly accepted, but unfortunately, it’s not. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about sharing the weight allowance between multiple passengers.
What Does Combining (Pooling) Baggage Allowance Mean?
Combining or pooling baggage allowance refers to sharing the checked luggage weight restrictions between multiple passengers on the same flight. For instance, if you’re flying with your friend and each one of you is allowed to have a 23 kg (50 lbs) checked suitcase, pooling or combining the baggage allowance would mean packing 20 kg (44 lbs) in one suitcase and 26 kg (57 lbs) in the other one.
Usually, combining the checked luggage allowance is allowed only between passengers on the same booking. This means that not only do you have to be on the same flight, but also share the same booking number. Normally, it doesn’t matter if you’re related or not, as long as you share the same booking number.
Pooling the luggage weight allowance is a gray area for many airlines. Some openly allow combining baggage allowance, others publicly say that it isn’t allowed, and others don’t say anything about that, and instead deal with that on an individual basis. Even if an airline has stated that luggage pooling is allowed, the end judgment depends on the check-in officer. And if he’s in a bad mood, well, you’re out of luck.
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Can Baggage Allowance Be Combined for Hand Luggage?
Usually, combining the baggage allowance for hand luggage between different passengers is prohibited. For instance, you’re flying with your friend and both of you can have a 10 kg (22 lbs) carry-on, you can’t pack 5kg (11 lbs) in a single carry-on, and 15kg (33 lbs) in the other one – each one needs to be below 10kg (22 lbs.)
That said, some airlines allow combining the hand luggage allowance in a different sense. What they usually mean by that is that each passenger has a total combined weight limit for their personal item and their carry-on. For instance, if the combined hand luggage weight limit is 10 kg (22 lbs,) your personal item can weigh 9 kg (20 lbs), and your carry-on 1kg (2 lbs) or vice versa. This doesn’t mean that the weight limits are also combined between different passengers.
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Can Baggage Allowance Be Combined for Checked Luggage?
Some airlines allow you to combine the total checked baggage weight allowance between different passengers on the same booking. For instance, if you’re flying with your family, three people in total with a checked luggage weight restriction of 23kg (70 lbs) each, you would be able to split the weight however you want (as an example: 17 kg / 20 kg /32 kg.)
The largest airline regulator, International Air Transport Association (IATA), has imposed the following restrictions for checked luggage: No checked bag can be over 32 kg (70 lbs) in weight and 158 cm (62 inches) in total dimensions. Most airlines stay within the IATA guidelines, so even if baggage pooling is allowed, no single bag can be over these restrictions. These restrictions were made to improve the work conditions for baggage handlers. 32 kg (70 lbs) is already pretty heavy, and anything over that would seriously increase the risk of back-related injuries for the baggage handlers.
Usually, baggage pooling isn’t allowed in flights that fly to or from the United States or Canada, and in U.S. or Canada-based airlines. But in Europe, Asia, India, and Latin America, a large portion of the airlines allow you to pool the baggage weight allowance. Down below, we researched the baggage pooling rules for a few of the largest airlines.
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Rules for Combining Baggage Allowances Between Different Airlines
American Airlines doesn’t allow checked luggage pooling. Here’s a quote from their website: “All bag fees are non-refundable and apply per person, each way, even if you purchase or get an upgrade that includes free checked bags.” Their restrictions for checked bags are as follows: 62 linear inches / 50 lbs for regular passengers and 62 linear inches / 70 lbs for business and first-class passengers.
Delta Airlines hasn’t mentioned anywhere whether they allow luggage pooling, so it’s safe to assume that they don’t. Their checked luggage restrictions are as follows: 62 linear inches / 50 lbs.
Southwest Airlines doesn’t allow combining checked luggage weight restrictions. Their checked luggage restrictions are as follows: 62 linear inches / 50 lbs. You can check in the first two bags for free for each passenger, but each bag needs to be within the size and weight restrictions.
United Airlines doesn’t allow pooling checked luggage restrictions. Checked bags are limited to 62 linear inches, 50 lbs for Economy passengers, and 70 lbs for Business, Polaris, and First-class passengers.
Ryanair allows combining the checked luggage weight restrictions. Normally, with Ryanair, checked luggage should be under 20 kg (44 lbs) and be within the following dimensions: 81 cm (31.8 inches) in height, 119 cm (46.8 inches) in width, and 119 cm (46.8 inches) in depth. However, two passengers from the same flight (same booking number) can pool their weight restrictions together. For instance, if two passengers have a limit of 20 kg each, one can have a bag of 15 kg and the other one of 25kg. For health and safety reasons, no bag can be heavier than 32 kg (70 lbs.)
EasyJet allows pooling the total weight allowance for checked luggage between passengers booked on the same flight (same booking number.) With EasyJet, checked luggage is a paid service and you can choose between 15 kg (33 lbs), 23 kg (50 lbs), and 32 kg (70 lbs) weight allowance options. For instance, if you and your friend both purchase 15 kg checked bags, one bag can be 10 kg in weight and the other one 20kg. For health and safety reasons, checked luggage can’t be larger than 275 cm (108 inches) in total dimensions and weigh more than 32 kg (70 lbs.)
Turkish Airlines doesn’t allow combining baggage allowance. Their checked luggage weight restrictions depend on the destination and the passenger class. In general, it’s either 23 kg (50 lbs) or 32 kg (70 lbs.)
Lufthansa doesn’t allow pooling the checked luggage weight allowance. Their checked luggage restrictions are as follows: 158 cm (62 inches) in combined dimensions, 23 kg (50 lbs) in weight for Economy and Premium Economy passengers, and 32 kg (70 lbs) for Business and First class passengers.
Jet2 Airlines allows combining the checked luggage weight allowance. With Jet2, each passenger can check up to three 22 kg (48 lbs) bags, or 66 kg (145 lbs) in total. No bag can weigh over 32 kg (70 lbs.) For instance, if you purchase two checked bags and your total allowance is 44 kg (96 lbs,) you can have one bag that weighs 30 kg (66 lbs) and one that weighs 14 kg (30 lbs.)
IndiGo allows pooling checked baggage weight allowance. Depending on the destination, the checked luggage weight restrictions on IndiGo are 15 kg (33 lbs), 20 kg (44 lbs), or 30 kg (66 lbs.) If two passengers are booked on the same flight (single booking number), they can combine their total weight allowance, but no bag can exceed 32 kg (70 lbs) and 158 cm (62 inches) in total dimensions.
With Emirates, you can pool the checked baggage weight allowance on all flights, except for the ones originating in Africa and flights to and from the Americas. Depending on your flight class, you’re limited to a certain amount of total weight, regardless of how many bags it’s split into – 20 kg for Economy Special, 25 kg for Economy Saver, 30 kg for Economy Flex, 35 kg for Economy Flex Plus, 40 kg for Business, and 50 kg for First Class. No individual bag can exceed 32 kg (70 lbs) and 300 cm (118 inches) in total dimensions.
Air Asia allows combining the checked baggage weight allowance. On all flights, except to and from the United States, each passenger can purchase a checked luggage weight allowance of 20 kg, 25 kg, 30 kg, or 40 kg. It doesn’t matter how many bags the total weight is split into, but no bag can be over 32 kg (70 lbs) in weight and 319 cm (126 inches) in total dimensions. This weight limit can be combined between multiple passengers with the same booking number. On flights to and from the United States, each passenger can have up to two checked bags, weighing no more than 20 kg each.
Qantas Airlines doesn’t allow combining the baggage weight allowance between different passengers. They have a pretty complicated checked luggage policy, so it’s best to just use their checked allowance calculator because it depends on the flight class and destination.
Air France allows combining the checked luggage weight allowance between different passengers on the same flight. No single bag can be over 23 kg (50 lbs) or 32 kg (70 lbs) in weight, depending on the flight class, and no bag can exceed 158 cm (62 inches) in total dimensions.
With British Airways, passengers on the same flight can’t combine the checked baggage weight allowance. No bag can exceed 23 kg (50 lbs) or 32 kg (70 lbs,) depending on the flight class.