Hand luggage stress

Corporate travellers can benefit greatly from only travelling with hand luggage: there's no need to go to baggage drop-off; you by-pass the baggage carousel and go straight through to customs; you have very little to lug around during the journey; and you have everything handy. Despite these advantages, airline companies have a knack of making travelling with hand luggage a stressful experience.

Different rules

At this moment in time, each airline company can decide its own rules regarding hand luggage - and each set of rules differs greatly from the next. When I fly with easyJet, I am allowed to take one large item of hand luggage with me. There's also no weight limit. If I travel with Brussels Airlines, however, I am only allowed 6 kg of hand luggage, which may mean that I have to take checked luggage with me. KLM allows passengers to bring two items of hand luggage. However, this policy isn't the same at other airline companies. In short, the rules are not consistent and as such are very confusing. This is certainly the case for travellers who are stopping over and flying with different companies, as it can be a real inconvenience. 

Efficiency and ease

The issue around hand luggage could be solved if all airline companies applied the same rules. This was also the opinion of the trade organization International Air Transport Association (IATA), which attempted to discuss this issue with the air transport industry. Unfortunately, a number of American airline companies disagreed, which meant little changed in the current situation. I think it's a shame that airline companies fail to see the issue through the eyes of corporate travellers. It's in the interests of passengers that travelling becomes easier, and it's in the interests of the airline companies that this process also delivers gains in efficiency. Clarity with regards to baggage regulations would benefit both sides.
As long as there is no solution, travelling with hand luggage will remain a potentially stressful experience. If you want to know which rules apply at the different airline companies, then please contact your Travel Management Company.

Steffie Marx
Business Travel Consultant
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