Could airBaltic’s Heavy Hand Luggage Spread To Other Carriers?

airBaltic has announced that its heavy hand luggage scheme has seen huge demand. The Latvian carrier currently offers eight kilograms of free hand luggage. However, upon payment of €9.99, the airline will increase this by 4kg. Could the heavy hand luggage scheme take off elsewhere?

airBaltic, Heavy Hand luggage
airBaltic is seeing huge popularity with its heavy hand luggage concept. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Hand luggage is a fairly important amenity for many travelers. In fact, some will travel with just hand luggage, while others will even pay for the privilege. For low-cost carriers, paid hand luggage is a vital revenue stream. Could other carriers profit from offering heavy hand luggage?

The concept of heavy hand luggage

Heavy hand luggage sees passengers voluntarily paying to take an extra heavy bag on board an aircraft. In the case of airBaltic, this sees passengers opting to pay €9.99. In exchange, they are able to take 12 kilograms of hand luggage, as opposed to 8.


Speaking about the success of heavy hand luggage, Martin Gauss, CEO of airBaltic said,


“Heavy cabin baggage is an innovative service and we see that it is continuing to grow in popularity. So far, the service has been growing by around 10% every week in volume terms, showing that our passengers appreciate the product.”

airBaltic, low fares, heavy hand luggage
airBaltic is a hybrid carrier offering low fares alongside a business class product. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Hand luggage is especially popular as many carriers are increasingly charging for checked bags. This is tied in with the fact that passengers increasingly don’t want to wait for their baggage at the reclaim belt. Additionally, many passengers are wary of losing their luggage even though it is a relatively rare occurrence.


Could the concept be applied elsewhere?

It is entirely possible that we could see the concept pop up elsewhere, however, it’s impossible to say for sure one way or the other. The concept could equally be applied to either low-cost or full-service carriers. However, the main problem is that many carriers don’t currently weigh hand luggage prior to a flight.

In terms of low-cost carriers, changing for hand luggage is something that we already see. Take Ryanair for example; the carrier already charges to take anything above a small item that will fit under the seat in front. Paying for extra hand luggage is already an incredibly popular option on Ryanair, and I can easily see passengers happily paying more to take extra baggage aboard Ryanair’s flights.

heavy hand luggage, airbaltic, low-cost carrier
Heavy hand luggage could be a popular choice for low-cost carriers. Photo: Bic (Wikimedia Commons)

On the other hand, I could also see the concept being applied to some more traditional carriers, especially in the economy class cabin. While the change wouldn’t be popular, it is absolutely plausible that passengers would pay for the privilege. Especially given the popularity of hand luggage over checked bags.

Would you pay extra to carry heavy hand luggage? Let us know in the comments!


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Antoine Faure

About hand luggage Easyjet says : “There’s no weight limit but we do ask that you are able to lift it into the overhead locker”.


Main problem with hand luggage is that there is not enough space in airplane for everyone in bins.
Yes i can put it under the seat but that is really not comfortable.
Actually i would rather pay for my hand luggage to have space above my seat, than 4kg more.
And I hate that normal airlines like austrian is allowing people to take as many bags as they want.


Yes Gertrudo agree with you, I had seen in Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific as well. Way too many hand luggage. Sometimes I wonder where is the consideration for other passengers. I would be happy to pay for €10 hand luggage with a restriction of international standard size of bag. Need to control so that overhead bins are not overly heavy with bags. Otherwise it will be hazardly dangerous.


Agree Gertrudo. Many time I have boarded a plane only to find the overhead locker above my seat to be full despite no one sitting close by yet. And when the plane lands some person from 5 seats back walks up and grabs his or her oversized bag. I mean what the hell!
Enforcing existing procedures would be a good start before coming up with new ideas in my opinion.


Am not sure what there is to get excited about paying 10 euros each way for an extra 4kg of hand baggage. Having been in the travel industry for over 30 years and nowadays busier than ever I use easyJet’s no weight limit hand baggage policy and, even better, BA’s two piece policy of one large and one small each with a limit of 23kg as huge selling points for these airlines which clients often grab with both hands. easyJet’s fares are as low as Ryanair’s and with early planning you’ll get BA flights at Ryanair prices……and with all that… Read more »


“Additionally, many passengers are wary of losing their luggage even though it is a relatively rare occurrence”. I dont classify 24.8 million bags a year going missing as a rare occurrence (unless your other article was wrong). Yes I would happily pay a small extra charge even if it is just to cover the possibility that my luggage scales were inaccurate. Also there are times when one wants to have some heavier items in the carry on bagage which might get damaged in hold bagage.