Airline Baggage Fees for US to Europe Carriers

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

By Tom Meyers—

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.

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.

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. Please note that the following charges are one way.

We’ve highlighted in blue the airlines with “budget friendly” baggage policies–specifically, lower fees for a second checked bag and for excess weight. (Note that even with some of these airlines, a third checked bag can set you back $150… each way!) Honorable mention goes to Icelandair, which is the only airline listed to offer a second checked bag (of normal weight) for free.

Note that many of these airlines offer an additional checked bag for free for qualifying members of their frequent flyer programs. See notes below, and check with your airline for details.

These prices and policies are up-to-date as of April 11, 2011. Click the airline names for more details about their policies.

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 $50 / €40 / £36 $50 / €40 / £36 $50 / €40 / £36
Aeroflot Free $50 / €50 $150 / €150 $100 / €100
Air Canada Free $50 CAD $225 CAD $100 CAD
Air France Free $75 ($55 before June 1, 2011) $200 $75 ($100 before June 1, 2011)
Alitalia Free $55 / €55 $200 / €200 $100 / €100
American Free $60 $150 $60
Austrian Free $50 / €40 $200 $150
British Airways Free $48 / £32 / €40 $120 / £72 / €92 $60 / £40
Continental Free $50 $200 $200
Delta Free $55 / €55 $200 / €200 $150 / €150
Finnair Free €80 €80 €80
Iberia Free $60 / €50 $150 $60 / €50
Icelandair Free Free $110-125 / €82-93 $72-85 / €55-65
KLM Free €75  (€55 before June 1, 2011) €200 €75 (€100 before June 1, 2011)
LOT Polish Airlines Free $50 / €40 / 165 PLN €115 $115
Lufthansa Free, plus skis $50 $200 $150
Olympic Air Free 2 bags (up to 44 lbs, total) Free 2 bags (up to 44 lbs, total)
Swiss Airlines Free $50 / €40 / 60 CHF $200 / €150 / 250 CHF $150 / €100 / 150 CHF
TAP Portugal Free $50 / €50
United Airlines Free $50 €150 / £130 / 220 CHF €150 / £130 / 220 CHF
Virgin Atlantic Free $60 / £40 $140 / £90 $50 / £30



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: $50 (€40 / £36)
  • Third checked bag: $50 (€40 / £36)
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23 kg-32 kg): $50 (€40 / £36)
  • Note: Economy Class “Flexi-Fare” allows two checked bags free.
  • 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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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: $50 CAD
  • Third checked bag: $225 CAD
  • Excess baggage: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $100 CAD (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 small personal item.
  • 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: $75 ($55 before June 1, 2011)
  • Third checked bag: $200
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $75 ($100 before June 1, 2011)
  • Tip: Pay for additional bags online in advance and pay up to 20% less.
  • Notes: Flying Blue Silver, Gold, Platinum, or SkyTeam Elite / Elite Plus may also check an additional bag for free.
  • 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): €100 or $100
  • More information on Alitalia’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Note: “Classica Plus”, “Ottima” and “Magnifica” classes may check more bags for free.
  • Carry-on bag: One piece, up to 17.5 lbs (8 kg).
  • Note: According to their Web site, 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: $60
  • Third checked bag: $150
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $60
  • 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 (€40 when flying from Europe)
  • Third checked bag: $200
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg) $150 (more information on excess baggage charges)
  • More information on Austrian Airlines’ checked-baggage policy.
  • Note: Business Class and “status” members may check additional bags for free.
  • 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 bag: $48, £32 or €40*
  • Third and additional bags: $120, £72 or €92*
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $60 or £40*
  • More information on British Airway’s checked baggage policy.
  • * Note: These prices are online prices for excess and overweight luggage and must be booked in advance. Charges at the airport will be higher.
  • Carry-on: One piece, plus one laptop-sized bag or handbag.
  • More information on British Airway’s carry-on baggage policy.

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Continental

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: $200
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $200 (more information on Continental’s excess weight policy)
  • More information on Continental Airlines’ checked-baggage policy.
  • Carry-on: One piece, plus one personal item (examples include: “briefcase, purse, day planner, small laptop computer, camera case, compact disk player or similar sized personal entertainment item”).
  • More information on Continental’s carry-on 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: $55 ($50 online in advance), €55 (€50 online in advance) from Europe
  • Third checked bag: $200 or €200
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $150 or €150 (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: €80
  • Third checked bag: €80
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): €80 (more information on Finnair’s excess weight policy)
  • More information on Finnair’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Note: Finnair Plus Platinum, Gold and Silver members as well as oneworld Emerald, Sapphire and Ruby members may check one additional bag.  Also, “Y” and “B” Class Economy and Business Class customers may check two bags for free.
  • Note: Extra checked-in baggage and excess weight baggage is 30% cheaper when pre-booked online.
  • Carry-on: One bag, up to 17.5 lbs (8 kg), plus a small personal item. (Note: Only Business Class, Finnair Plus Platinum, Gold and Silver members and Finnair Club members may take along an additional suitcase or laptop.)
  • 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: $60 or €50 at the airport (€40 online in advance)
  • Third checked bag: $150 (€95 online in advance)
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg) €50 or $60
  • 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: $110-125 or €82-93
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg) $72-85 (€55-65) (more information on Icelandair’s excess weight policy)
  • More information on Icelandair’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Carry-on: One piece, weighing up to 13 lbs (6 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: €55 (for departures before June 1, 2011); €75 (departures after June 1, 2011)
  • Third checked bag: €200
  • Note: SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus members (including Flying Blue Silver, Gold and Platinum members) may bring 1 extra piece of baggage in addition to their standard baggage allowance on flights operated by KLM and Air France.
  • Note: Save 20% 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) €75 (€100 before June 1, 2011)
  • 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 (12 kg)
  • Second checked bag: $50 from the US, €40 or 165 PLN from Poland, plus a “service fee.” (The service fee is not clearly explained on the Web site.)
  • Third checked bag: €115*
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg) €115*
  • *Note: We had some difficulty understanding these charges on the Web site. Please double-check with the airline before heading to the airport.
  • More information on LOT’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Carry-on: One piece up to 13 lbs (6 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), along with one pair of skis.
  • Second checked bag: $50.
  • Third checked bag: $200.
  • More information on Lufthansa’s checked-baggage policy
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg) $150
  • 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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Olympic Air

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

  • First and second checked bag: 2 free bags, however the combined weight cannot surpass 44 lbs (20 kg)
  • Note: If your two bags exceeds 44 lbs (20 kg), you may be charged an additional fee per kilo. That charge, according to Olympic Air’s Web site is, “unified until the final destination, for the specific route, and it is charged 1.5% of the full fare economy by IATA per extra kilo.”
  • More information on Olympic Air’s checked-baggage policy.
  • 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: $50, €40, or 60 CHF.
  • Third checked bag: $200, €150, or 250 CHF.
  • Note: For tickets issued before February 28, 2011, the limit is 2 pieces, each up to 50 lbs (23 kg.)
  • More information on Swiss Air’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg): $150, €100 or 150 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: $50 or €50
  • More information on TAP’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Carry-on: One item, weighing up to 13 lbs (6 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: $50
  • Third checked bag: €150, £130, 220 CHF
  • More information on United Airline’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Excess weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg) €150, £130, 220 CHF
  • More information on excess baggage charges
  • Note: Elite passengers: (Premier, OnePass Silver Elite, Companions traveling on the same reservation as an elite member, United First, United Business, United Economy tickets with confirmed upgrades to United First or United Business) 2 bags free, up to 50 lbs (23 kg) each.
  • 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: $60 / £40 at the airport (or $48 / £32 online in advance)
  • Third checked bag: $140 / £90 at the airport ($112 / £72 online in advance)
  • More information on Virgin Atlantic’s checked-baggage policy.
  • Excess-weight: 50-70 lbs (23-32 kg) £30 / $50
  • Carry-on: One piece, up to 13 lbs (6 kg), along with one personal item.
  • More information on Virgin Atlantic’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]
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