Over the Baggage Allowance? Here’s What to Do

Man pushing full luggage cart


Flying from Geneva to London the woman behind the check-in counter tells me I’ve misinterpreted the luggage weight restrictions. You see when I added one anti theft messenger bag for 11 Euros it asked me if I wanted to add a second bag for the same price. Figuring checking two bags would be easier than lugging everything as a carry-on, I agreed. Apparently the weight limit was the same whether I had one bag or two bags. Nobody told me. It was probably in the fine print. You should always read the fine print.

The woman behind the counter informs me that if I’d like to check my second bag, it will cost me $300. At that price, it would be cheaper for me to buy a plane ticket for my bag.

So I decide to check one bag and then–like any self-respecting female in a time of crisis–I march myself up to the women’s bathroom on the second floor to figure out what to do.

Here are the options I came up with.

Ship Stuff Home
If there is a post office in the airport you can always opt to ship the remainder of your belongings home. If you have some disposable income and extra time, this is always an option.

Throw Things Away
Nothing like getting rid of all of your excess stuff. It can be extremely liberating to ditch your belongings. Unless you’re like me and your belongings consist of two suitcases. In that case, throwing half of your worldly belongings doesn’t sound particularly attractive. Especially if you’re too broke to replace those items.

Sweet Talk Someone
If you’re really good at schmoozing, you could try asking a fellow passenger to take your bag. This is totally illegal and could get you in trouble, but I’m listing all options that ran through my head while standing over my excess baggage in the upstairs bathroom of the Geneva airport. This was an option.

Panicked Call to Nearby Friend
Have any friends in the city? Call them in panic mode and bribe them to come and pick up your stuff. They can ship it home to you later. Make sure it’s a good friend because you’re totally going to owe them for coming to the rescue.

Wear Everything at Once
Empty the contents of one bag and wear all of your clothes at once. With limited time before boarding, this was the option that sounded the most attractive to me so I dump the contents of my bag out on the counter and start putting on all of my clothes. Two t-shirts, three sweaters, one fleece, one scarf, one hat and three jackets later, I begin stuffing the pockets of my jacket with socks, underwear, books, and various electronic gadgets. I pray that security will have mercy on me. It’s a last ditch effort, but I don’t exactly have a lot to my name and throwing away what little I do have isn’t why I came to the airport.

Twenty minutes later I step out of the bathroom at least 10 kilograms heavier. Sweat is pouring from me as my overly dressed body struggles to regulate its temperature in the heated airport. My purse is bulging and I am carrying at least three books on top of my laptop. The airport security eyes me suspiciously, but with a roll of their eyes, they let me pass.

Moral of the story: A.) Either buy a bag that is the maximum carry on limit, like the 32 liter Ultimatesafe 32L.  B.)Read the fine print. Baggage allowances are getting mighty strict around these parts and wearing all of your clothes at once is exceptionally uncomfortable. Trust me.

By Nikki Hodgson