18 April, 2012

With more than six million people expected to jet off on their summer holidays in the coming months, a new report from Kelkoo reveals that more than a quarter (27%) will exceed baggage limits and more than half of these (55%) will incur charges. These charges are expected to total almost £1million per day during the peak summer holiday season. In total, the report reveals that an estimated £37million worth of charges are expected to be collected by airlines in the main six week summer holiday season this year.

The report focused on UK holidaymakers who travelled by plane in the last 24 months. Passengers were segregated according to carrier type (low cost, charter or full service) to determine the number of people that exceeded their baggage limit. The report also examined industry data around the average number of bags checked in and the number of holidaymakers expected to fly this summer. Based on this data, this enabled the company to forecast the amount that will be spent on excess baggage this year.

Last year a total of 3.8million people were charged an estimated £186million for excess baggage. When this charge is split by airline type, just under a third (37%) of travellers incurred charges on low cost airlines, 20% on chartered and 41% on full service airlines. However, due to the average cost per extra kilo on low cost airlines reaching £13.20 - almost double that of charter (£7.15) or full service/scheduled (£7.46), these carriers reaped 47% (£87million) of the total charges collected which is a significant source of income. Airlines do not receive 100% of this fee as they have a pay an administration charge to the airport that collects it.

Research also reveals that on average, each UK holidaymaker who was charged for exceeding their weight allowance packed an average excess baggage of 3.5kilos, resulting in a cost of £48. This equates to 15% of the average overall cost of a return airfare (£318).

Despite a lack of understanding and preparation amongst many consumers around baggage limits, nearly one in ten (8%) of those that had to pay claim they will not use the airline again.

The company's CMO, Chris Simpson, said: "With summer holidays round the corner, travellers should look to compare prices not just between low cost and traditional airlines, but also between specific carriers as there are substantial savings to be made by shopping around. We’d also encourage all passengers to check their luggage allowance, and weigh their bags before they fly, to ensure they are not hit with an unexpected extra cost once they get to the airport. With airlines charging as much as £20 per extra kilo, this can be an expensive oversight.”

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