Checked baggage

A suitcase labelled as checked baggage on arrival at Madeira Airport. The bag tag attached to the handle enabled the baggage handlers to load the baggage onto the correct aircraft.

Checked baggage refers to the items of luggage delivered to an airline or train for transportation in the hold of an aircraft or baggage car of a passenger train, which means it is inaccessible to the passenger during the flight or ride.

This baggage is limited by airlines with regard to size, weight, and number, usually dependent upon the fare paid, or class of ticket. Baggage exceeding the limits is regarded as excess baggage.

Checked baggage on airlines

Checked baggage policies

On short-haul internal flights in the US, with some exceptions,[lower-alpha 1] checked baggage is no longer complimentary with most discounted economy tickets, and must be paid for in addition to the ticket price; a passenger generally has to hold a higher or full fare economy ticket, travel in a premium cabin, or hold elite status on an airline to be afforded complimentary checked baggage. For long-haul and transoceanic flights, checked baggage is included as standard.

Elsewhere, policies vary. In general, low-cost carriers such as Ryanair in Europe and AirAsia in Asia charge for checked baggage, whilst for full-service airlines the cost is included in the ticket price.

Passenger-baggage reconciliation

According to the rules of most air transportation authorities, such as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and European Union's Joint Aviation Authorities, should passengers flying internationally with checked baggage fail to arrive at the departure gate before the flight is closed, that person's baggage must be retrieved from the aircraft hold before the flight is permitted to take off. In the United States, this does not apply to domestic flights since all bags are required to go through explosive detection machines (EDS) prior to loading. Making sure passengers board flights onto which they have checked baggage is called "passenger-baggage reconciliation" and is accomplished automatically through two commercially available systems. The security presumption of passenger-baggage reconciliation is that terrorists will not want to kill themselves, and will not board an aircraft if they have caused a bomb to be placed in its hold. This presumption does not hold true of suicide bombers.

Unaccompanied suitcases led to the downing of four flights, when a bomb inside the suitcase exploded:

Excess baggage

"Excess baggage" redirects here. For other uses, see Excess baggage (disambiguation).

Excess baggage is the amount of baggage that is in excess of the free allowance in size, number, or weight permitted for the journey. At the carrier's discretion, this may be carried at an extra charge, but no guarantee is made and it may have to be sent as freight instead. Some airlines impose excess baggage embargoes on certain (usually smaller) routes, indicating that they will accept no (or very little) excess baggage.


  1. Low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines is unusual in permitting two pieces of checked luggage without charge.[1]


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