Airline Baggage Fees for US to Europe Carriers

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Delta baggage check
Delta's baggage check in Atlanta. Photo: Hoyasmeg

When flying between the United States and Europe, you probably know that it’s best to pack light. After all, the less luggage you have to haul around town the better.

Related: 10 tips for packing for a two-week European trip

For Cheapos, there’s one more obvious reason to keep the amount of luggage to a minimum: checked-baggage charges.

Pre-“Great Recession,” many transatlantic carriers allowed you to check two bags for free on international flights. After years of financial turbulence in the airline industry, however, most airlines have implemented new baggage policies intended to lighten their load while cashing in on new fees.

We’ve just updated the following chart to reflect baggage policies and charges as of December 2014. It’s amazing how things have changed since we first published this piece in 2011. Continental, for starters, is no longer around. And, as of this year, Wow! Air and Norwegian are offering tantalizing deals for US to European travelers (although neither allows a free checked piece of luggage for their lowest fares).

US to Europe Flights: Baggage fees

Here’s a quick overview of baggage policies for the major airlines flying between the United States and Europe. Prices have gone up quite a bit since we last updated this list, and they keep increasing by the day, even with oil prices now dropping. Some airlines have also made it come complicated to calculate baggage charges, so you might have to dig deep into their websites for the information. But we discovered that in some cases fees have doubled or more in just a couple of years!

Please note that the following charges are one-way.

Note that the prices below are for standard tickets purchased on the airline. Many of these airlines offer a checked bag for free for qualifying members of their frequent flyer programs, for tickets purchased with an airline-connected credit card, or those booking in a class higher than economy. See notes below, and check with your airline or credit card for details.

These prices and policies are up-to-date as of December 12, 2014. Click the airline names for more details about their policies.

Winners and losers

We’ve highlighted what we think are the airlines with the best “Cheapo-friendly” baggage policies. This is assuming that most US-based travelers to Europe will be checking in at least one suitcase. Policies that we feel are a good deal are highlighted in green, while those that aren’t budget-friendly are in red.

Most big-name and legacy carriers still permit one free checked bag for US to Europe passengers. However, Wow! and Norwegian are operating on the European low-cost carrier model, and thus they charge for nearly every extra possible (such as bags, reserved seating, meals). However, they also often offer tickets at far lower rates than their more famous competitors. Thus, just because Norwegian and Wow! might charge for bags (and be highlighted below in red), the final cost of flying to Europe could be substantially lower than flying on a legacy carrier that offers a free checked bag. In the end, you have to add it all up to find the best deal. (Read more about this.)

Purely in terms of baggage policies, we have to proclaim Iceland Air the clear winner, in that they’re the only airline on the list to permit two free checked bags.

Carrier 1st checked bag: to 50 lbs (23 kg)
2nd checked bag: to 50 lbs (23 kg)
3rd checked bag: to 50 lbs (23 kg)
Extra weight: 51-70 lbs (24-32 kg)
Aer Lingus Free $100 / €65 / £75 $100 / €65 / £75 $100 / €65 / £75
Aeroflot Free $50 / €50 $150 / €150 $100 / €100
airberlin Free €150 €150 €100
Air Canada Free $100 $225 $100
Air France Free $100 $285 $100
Alitalia Free $55 / €55 $200 / €200 $75 / €75
American Free $100 $200 $100
Austrian Free $50 $100 $150
British Airways Free $85-100 / £55-65 $170-200 / £120-140 $100 / £65
Delta Free $100 $285 $100
Finnair Free $100 / €75 $200 / €150 $100 / €75
Iberia Free $80 – $100 $160 – $200 $100
Icelandair Free Free $133-152 / €100-114 $125-141 / €93-105
KLM Free $80 – $100 $285 $100
LOT Polish Airlines Free $100 / €75 $100 / €75 $130 / 100
Lufthansa Free (ski bag can count as a free item) $200 / €150 $200 / €150 $150 / €150
Norwegian Air $42 ($50 at airport) for direct LowFare tickets, free with LowFare+ and Flex fares. $50 for direct LowFare tickets $15 per kilo
Olympic Air Free 2 bags (up to 44 lbs, total) €30 – €45 €30 – €45 €30 – €45
Swiss Airlines Free $200 / €150 / 180 CHF $200 / €150 / 180 CHF $150 / €100 / 120 CHF
TAP Portugal Free $100 $100 $100
United Airlines Free $100 $200 $200
Virgin Atlantic Free $85-100 / £55-65 $170-200 / £120-140 $60 / £40
Wow! Air $48 — $124, up to 44 lbs (20 kg) (depending on destination and when you pay) $48 — $124 $48 — $124 $23-25 per kilo


Aer Lingus

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $100, €75 or £65
  • Third checked bag: $100, €65 or £75
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23 kg-32 kg): $100, €65 or £75
  • More information on Aer Lingus’ checked baggage policy.
  • Carry-on: One piece, up to 22 lbs (10 kg), along with one small personal item.
  • More information on Aer Lingus’ carry-on policy.

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Aeroflot

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $50 or €50
  • Third checked bag: $150 or €150
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $100 or €100 (more information on excess baggage fees)
  • More information on Aeroflot’s checked baggage policy
  • Carry-on: 1 piece, weighing up to 22 lbs (10 kg), plus a small personal item.
  • More information on Aeroflot’s carry-on policy.

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airberlin

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: €150
  • Third checked bag: €150
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): €100
  • More information on airberlin’s checked baggage policy
  • Carry-on: 1 piece, weighing up to 22 lbs (10 kg), plus a small personal item.
  • More information on airberlin’s carry-on policy.

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Air Canada

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $100
  • Third checked bag: $225
  • Excess baggage: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $100 (more information on excess baggage fees)
  • More information on Air Canada’s checked baggage policy.
  • Carry-on: 1 piece, weighing up to 22 lbs (10 kg), plus one smaller personal item weighing up to 22 lbs (10kg)
  • More information on Air Canada’s carry-on policy.

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Air France

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $100
  • Third checked bag: $285
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $100
  • Tip: Pay for additional bags online in advance and pay up to 20% less.
  • More information on Air France’s checked baggage policy.
  • Carry-on: 1 bag and one personal item. Total weight for the two items must not exceed 26.5 lbs (12 kg).
  • More information on Air France’s carry-on baggage policy.

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Alitalia

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $55 or €55
  • Third checked bag: $200 or €200
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $75 or €75
  • Note: Save 20% when purchasing extra baggage allowance online
  • More information on Alitalia’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Carry-on bag: One piece, up to 17.5 lbs (8 kg).
  • Note: According to their website, personal items such as briefcases and computers are considered to be “hand luggage”.

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American Airlines

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $100
  • Third checked bag: $200
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $100
  • Carry-on: One piece and one personal item are allowed.
  • More information on American Airlines checked and carry-on baggage policy.

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Austrian Airlines

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $50
  • Third checked bag: $100
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg) $150 (more information on excess baggage charges)
  • More information on Austrian Airlines’ checked-baggage policy.
  • Carry-on: One piece weighing up to 17.5 lbs (8 kg), plus one personal item.
  • More information on Austrian Airlines’ carry-on baggage policy.

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British Airways

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kgs)
  • Second checked bags: prices range from $85 – 100 or £55 – 65 (depending on ticket type, destination and when you purchase, see details)
  • Third checked bag: $170-200 or £120-140
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $100 or £65
  • More information on British Airway’s checked baggage policy.
  • Carry-on: One piece no more than 50 lbs (23kg), plus one laptop-sized bag or handbag.
  • More information on British Airway’s carry-on baggage policy.

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Delta

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $100
  • Third checked bag: $285
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $100 (more information on Delta’s excess weight policy)
  • More information on Delta’s checked-bag policy.
  • Carry-on: One piece, plus one small personal item.
  • More information on Delta’s carry-on baggage policy.

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Finnair

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $100 or €75
  • Third checked bag: $200 or €150
  • Note: When all the flights in your itinerary are operated by Finnair, and the flight number starts with AY and the ticket number with 105 you can pay in advance online for a discount
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $100 or €75 (more information on Finnair’s excess weight policy)
  • More information on Finnair’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Carry-on: One bag, up to 17.5 lbs plus a small personal item for a combined weight of 8 kg.
  • More information on Finnair’s carry-on baggage policy.

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Iberia

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg).
  • Second checked bag: $100 at the airport ($80 online in advance)
  • Third checked bag: $200 at the airport ($160 online in advance)
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg) $100
  • More information on Iberia’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Carry-on: One item, plus one personal item.
  • More information on Iberia’s carry-on baggage policy.

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Icelandair

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: Also free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Third checked bag: $133-152 or €100-114
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg) $125-141 or €93-105 (more information on Icelandair’s excess weight policy)
  • More information on Icelandair’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Carry-on: One piece, weighing up to 22 lbs (10 kg), plus one small personal item.
  • More information on Icelandair’s carry-on baggage policy.

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KLM

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $100 at the airport or $80 if purchased online
  • Third checked bag: $285
  • Note: Save 20-50% on additional bags when you pay for them in advance online. Details.
  • More information on KLM’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg) $100
  • More information on KLM’s excess weight policy.
  • Carry-on: One piece and one small personal item, with a combined weight up to 26 lbs (12 kg).
  • More information on KLM’s carry-on baggage policy.

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LOT

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $100 or €75
  • Third checked bag: €100 or €75
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg) $130 or €100
  • Tip: Pay online early to save up to 20%
  • More information on LOT’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Carry-on: One piece up to 17.5 lbs (8 kg), along with one small personal item.
  • More information on LOT’s carry-on baggage policy.

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Lufthansa

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $200 or €150
  • Third checked bag: $200 or €150
  • More information on Lufthansa’s checked-baggage policy
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg) $150 or €150
  • Tip: You can opt to take your ski bag as part of your free baggage allowance
  • More information on Lufthansa’s excess weight baggage policy
  • Carry-on: One piece up to 17.5 lbs (8 kg), along with one small personal item.
  • More information on Lufthansa’s carry-on baggage policy.

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Norwegian

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: $42 ($50 at airport) for direct LowFare tickets, free with LowFare+ and Flex fares.
  • Second checked bag: $50 for direct LowFare tickets
  • Note: When you reserve a ticket you can see your fees for checked baggage for each leg of your flight. Sometimes they offer package deals that include checked baggage, meals and a seat reservation.
  • More information on Norwegian’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Excess weight: price is charged $15 per kilo, call airline for details
  • Carry-on: One piece, plus a personal item that must fit under the seat in front of you
  • More information on Norwegian’s carry-on baggage policy.

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Olympic Air

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg).
  • Second checked bag: €30 (pre-purchase) or €45 at the airport
  • Third checked bag: €30 (pre-purchase) or €45 at the airport
  • More information on Olympic Air’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Excess weight: 46-70 lbs (21-32 kg): €30 (pre-purchase) or €45 at the airport
  • Carry-on: One piece up to 17.5 lbs (8 kg).
  • More information on Olympic Air’s carry-on baggage policy.

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Swiss Airlines

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg).
  • Second checked bag: $200, €150 or 180 CHF.
  • More information on Swiss Air’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $150,  €100 or 120 CHF
  • Carry-on: One piece,  up to 17.5 lbs (8 kg), and a small personal item.
  • More information on Swiss Air’s carry-on baggage policy.

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TAP Portugal

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $100 (but use their online calculator for details)
  • Third checked bag: $100
  • Excess weight: $100
  • More information on TAP’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Carry-on: One item, weighing up to 17.5 lbs (8 kg).
  • More information on TAP’s carry-on policy.

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United Airlines

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $100
  • Third checked bag: $200
  • More information on United Airline’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg)  $200
  • More information on excess baggage charges
  • Carry-on: One bag, plus one personal item.
  • More information on United Airline’s carry-on baggage policy.

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Virgin Atlantic

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: Free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $100 / £65 at the airport (or $85 / £55 online in advance)
  • Third checked bag: $200 / £140 at the airport ($170 / £120 online in advance)
  • More information on Virgin Atlantic’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Excess-weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg) $60 / £40
  • Carry-on: One piece, up to 22 lbs (10 kg), along with one personal item.
  • More information on Virgin Atlantic’s carry-on baggage policy.

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Wow Air

Notes: All information is for US to Europe flights, economy class.

  • First checked bag: $48 to $124, up to 44 lbs (20 kg) (depending on destination and when you pay)
  • Second checked bag: $48 to $124
  • Third checked bag: $48 to $124
  • Tip: Prices are much cheaper when booking baggage fees online (over 50% in some cases)
  • More information on Wow Air’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Excess-weight: $23-25 per kilo
  • Carry-on: One piece, up to 11 lbs (5 kg), along with one personal item.
  • More information on Wow Air’s carry-on baggage policy.

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Want more info?

To view even more information on airline baggage policies among domestic carriers, have a look at this handy baggage fee guide from airfarewatchdog.com. Or if you’re looking to research airline fees beyond the world of luggage, try this comprehensive airline fee guide from SmarterTravel.com.

Once you’re ready to research airlines routes within Europe, try our guide to cheap flights in Europe and also be sure to use WhichBudget.com’s helpful cheap flights search engine.

About the author

Tom Meyers

About the author: Tom Meyers created and launched EuroCheapo from his Berlin apartment in 2001. He returned to New York in 2002, set up office, and has led the EuroCheapo team from the Big Apple ever since. He travels to Europe several times a year to update EuroCheapo's hotel reviews. Tom is also a co-host of the New York City history podcast, The Bowery Boys. Email Tom. [Find Tom on Google Plus]

Leave a comment

7 thoughts on “Airline Baggage Fees for US to Europe Carriers”

  1. i am so sorry I traveled by delta to Amsterdam,It was very painful and extremely long travel,the staff in LA airport were not friendly,I was charged for 2nd baggage,i was told in Amsterdam air port as i purchased it in 9/ 2011 I was not suppose to pay for 2nd baggage.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Consumer Travel Alliance » 2011 Transatlantic baggage fees for summer travel

  3. Pingback: 2011 Transatlantic baggage fees for summer travel

  4. what i don’t understand is why the second bag is cheaper when flying to europe from the us and more expensive when flying from europe to us. i recently flew with delta and paid $55 when flying to europe and 55euro on the way back…

    Reply
  5. I didn’t see Iceland Express listed on the list, but it, too, goes from the US to Europe (I can speak for an EWR to LGW flight) with a quick layover in Iceland.

    It allows one free checked bag up to 50 lbs.

    Reply
  6. Timeless Drifter

    And here I thought airline policies had gotten so crazy, they all charged for all bags. Guess my family will be getting souvenirs after all! Thanks for the reality [bag] check.

    Reply

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