Bags and more

Baggage essentials

 

Find out everything you need to know about taking baggage with you on flights with British Airways and our partners, what you can pack, and what to do when something goes wrong.

Suitcase and carry case.

Hand baggage allowances

Every flight includes our generous free baggage allowance, giving you plenty of space for the essentials you might need for your journey.

Hand baggage allowances

Two suitcases and carry case.

Checked baggage allowances

For those times when hand baggage isn’t enough. Leave your bags with us at check-in and let us do all the heavy lifting.

Checked baggage allowances

Suitcases and bags.

Extra and overweight baggage

Going over your free baggage allowance can cost you, but buying extra allowance in advance can save you time and money.

Carrying extra and overweight baggage

Sporting goods and musical instruments.

Sporting goods and musical instruments

Many sporting items and musical instruments can be carried as part of your free baggage allowance, but some require special arrangements or incur an additional charge.

Carrying sporting goods
Carrying musical instruments

Banned and restricted items.

Banned and restricted items

We want you to be able to pack in confidence, so this guide should help you decide what and how to pack for your journey.

Check the rules on banned and restricted items

Preparation travel suitcase at home.

Packing tips

Learn to pack in style and make the most of your free baggage allowance with our handy guide.

Improve your packing skills with our simple tips
More tips on packing essentials

A suitcase on a baggage belt.

Lost and damaged baggage

We make every effort to return your bags on time and in tip-top condition but if things go wrong we’ll pull out all the stops to fix it.

Get help with lost and damaged baggage

Airportr.

 

British Airways helps reinvent British seaside tradition

British Airways helps reinvent British seaside tradition

Picture: britishairways i360

The traditional walk down the pier has been a tradition at British seaside resorts since 1814. The idea was you could take in the air as you strolled down the ‘prom’. Then look back and enjoy the town or city you were visiting.

Brighton, on the English south coast, is a very popular with those living an hour away in London. The city enjoyed two piers until 2003 when fire ripped through the historic landmark and it later collapsed.

Fast forward to today (4th August 2016) and a pier is being opened right next to the site of the old west pier. This is no walk out on the ‘prom’ however. This is a pier in the sky. Supported by British Airways and other partners the British Airways i360 is a vertical pier.

The i360 is a cable car takes you up 450 feet (137 meters) in the air giving visitors a 360 view of the surrounding area with views over 26 miles. You will be standing or sitting to take in the view. There is even a skybar within the capsule that will open in the evening allowing you to enjoy a drink while you take in the evening view.

Picture: britishairways i360

The capsule is spacious and ten times the size of the pods at The London Eye at 18 meters in diameter.. Costing £46, The i360 is three times the size of Nelsons Colum.

 

Is travel insurance right for you?

Is travel insurance right for you?

Hundreds of millions of travelers ask themselves this question each year. And one in three jet-setters now opt in for travel insurance.1

But before you can answer this question for yourself, you need to equip yourself with some knowledge, including what exactly travel insurance actually is, what the benefits are, and under what circumstances it makes sense for you and your family to elect for insurance before your next trip.

What Is Travel Insurance?

Different travel insurance companies and other credible sources may range in the nuance they use to define travel insurance, but here is a great place to start: travel insurance is insurance. It’s there to help us financially and otherwise in stressful and unexpected scenarios.

Travel insurance is designed to cover those who elect coverage with financial safeguards in the case of events ranging from inconveniences to calamities. Coverage may include both costs incurred before your trip, such as nonrefundable event tickets or hotel stays, and during your trip, including travel interruptions and medical expenses.

Like other insurance products, from homeowners’ to auto insurance, there are specific provisions tied to policies that outline when and how reimbursements are given – and how much insured travelers are eligible to receive.

Another element of travel insurance is assistance. For example, a travel insurance company may offer aid to subscribing travelers ranging from sharing helpful information to arranging for medical evacuations.

The most important detail to know about travel insurance is that its features can range broadly depending on the company offering the product, the package or policy that’s selecting and a host of other factors.

What Are the Benefits of Travel Insurance?

Part of travelers’ responsibility when it comes to educating themselves about travel insurance includes learning how and when their other travel partners may or may not offer them assistance when a trip doesn’t go as planned.

For example, you may learn that airlines aren’t obligated to do anything when your flights are delayed.When the airlines are the ones at fault, they may offer some assistance, but they’re not bound by law or duty to do so.

There are a number of similar misconceptions that travel insurance can guard against. Insurance comes packaged together with specific coverage benefits – the type and amount will range based on the provider and the package selected – that fill gaps where your travel plans may be exposed to a number of threats.

What kind of threats? Take lost baggage. Sure with the rise of bag fees, airlines are seeing fewer and fewer bags checked. And they’re doing a better and better job of keeping tabs on them. Still, lost and damaged bags are the No. 2 complaint issued to the Department of Transportation. Additionally, while domestic airlines safely transport more than 99 percent of all luggage, international carriers still lag behind.3

But a lost, damaged or even stolen luggage benefit is just one small benefit of most travel insurance offerings. Others may include:

  • Trip Cancellation Protection: This is the big one, and includes reimbursement for non-refundable trip payments and deposits.
  • Trip Interruption Protection: Sometimes trips start on time and end prematurely due to forces of nature and other circumstances beyond your control. This benefit includes reimbursement for unused costs and transportation costs to return home.
  • 24-Hour Hotline Assistance: While this doesn’t come with a dollar amount, getting real-time help when you’re in a pickle is invaluable. Especially if you don’t speak the native tongue. This can include the arrangement of evacuations for medical emergencies, pre-trip assistance, etc.
  • Coverage for financial default: What if the tour operator for your upcoming family vacation stops answering your calls? And then the line is disconnected and the company is out of business. Travel insurance may be your most reliable means of financial recourse.

A Travel Insurance Plan for Everyone

The most essential part of educating yourself about travel insurance involves drilling down into the details of specific plans.

Different tiers of benefits and coverage levels allow travelers to match the insurance to their specific travel plans. A four-alarm, full-blown globetrotting honeymoon and Aunt Lucinda’s family picnic and bake-off may not both require the same travel insurance product.

Among the first considerations to make when selecting a travel insurance plan is whether to pursue trip-specific or annual coverage. Frequent travelers, and those with a big family or young kids, may want to carefully consider the cost savings that an annual plan can provide. It’s not hard to do the math: when travelers add up the piecemeal cost of insurance for the trips they plan to take in the next year and compare it to the annual price tag, there will be a more attractive choice.

 

Travel Insurance Explained

Travel insurance is designed to provide financial protection for unexpected events that impact a traveler’s trip. Popular benefits on a travel insurance policy include coverage for trip expenses, medical emergencies, and luggage. There are three different types of travel insurance policies: single trip, annual, and group.

Single Trip Travel Insurance Policies
Single trip travel insurance covers travelers for one trip, starting when they leave home and ending when they return. A single trip policy can cover up to 10 travelers on international or domestic trips.

Travelers who are concerned about having to cancel their trip should consider a single trip policy with Trip Cancellation coverage. This benefit reimburses insured trip expenses if a traveler is unable to travel for one of the policy’s covered reasons. Travelers must insure all or some of their trip cost to be eligible for this benefit.

Most cancellation-style policies are comprehensive, covering travelers for their trip payments, medical emergencies, travel delays, and luggage. This type of single trip policy typically costs between 4% and 10% of a traveler’s trip cost, depending on their age, the length of their trip, and their total trip cost.

Travelers who are not concerned about cancelling do not need to insure a trip cost, and can buy a non-cancellation style policy to cover medical emergencies, travel delays, and luggage. Because there is no insured trip cost, these policies are typically less expensive.

Annual Travel Insurance Policies
Annual policies are designed to cover travelers taking multiple short trips throughout a year. Travelers select a specific start date for an annual policy, which should be the departure date for their first trip. An annual policy will last one year from that date.

Annual policies typically limit how long one trip can last, and may have limits for how many trips can be taken throughout the year. The Maximum Trip Length ranges from 30-365 days, depending on the policy.

The coverage offered on an annual policy usually differs from a single trip policy. Most annual policies provide Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation benefits, but typically do not include Trip Cancellation coverage.

Group Travel Insurance Policies
While a single trip policy can cover up to 10 travelers, group travel insurance allows parties of 10 or more travelers to purchase one policy for their trip. Group policies offer benefits similar to single trip policies, including coverage for cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, and luggage.

Purchasing a group travel insurance policy can be a more convenient option for organized groups traveling together. Because group policy premiums are not based on age, they can be less expensive per traveler.

Schengen Visa Requirements Regarding Travel Insurance

If you are traveling to Europe and are not a citizen of the United States or a European country, you may need to obtain a visa known as a Schengen visa.

In order to obtain the Schengen visa, travelers are typically required to have medical coverage for their entire stay in the Schengen territory. For those who do not have medical coverage elsewhere, a travel insurance policy with $50,000 of Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation benefits typically satisfies requirements.

Policy information is delivered immediately by email in a format recognized by all consulates and visa issuers.

Travel Insurance and the Schengen Agreement

The Schengen Agreement was made to abolish border controls between European countries to allow travel between those countries as long as a Schengen visa is obtained.

The Schengen Countries are:

Austria
Belgium
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Italy
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Slovak Republic
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland

As long as the necessary controls have been completed upon first entering one of the Schengen countries, you will need only one visa. Whether you are visiting for business or pleasure, if you are not staying longer than 90 days, the Schengen visa is your best choice.

From the Directive of the European Council:

“Applicants must show that they are in possession of adequate and valid individual or group travel insurance to cover any expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment.

The insurance must be valid throughout the territory of the Member States applying in full the provisions of the Schengen acquis and cover the entire period of the person’s stay.”

Should I buy travel insurance?

It’s summertime, and many Americans are looking forward to much-needed vacations. As they book their flights or reserve their hotel rooms, there’s a good chance someone will ask them the following question:

“Would you like to add travel insurance to protect your trip?”

A number of folks jump at this offer, out of fear or simply out of impulse, and the U.S. Travel Insurance Association estimates that about $1.9 billion in policies are sold annually, according to the most recent numbers.

So should you add travel insurance to your trip? And if so, what should you look for in a policy?

Types of Travel Insurance Coverage

The good news is that providers offer a menu of services, from which consumers pick and choose.

Some of the most common options:

•Medical. If you have ever come down with a bad stomach bug and got frustrated locating a gastroenterologist in your hometown, just imagine that search in the jungles of Cambodia. Medical travel insurance can help provide coverage to limit out-of-pocket costs.

•Evacuation. If you’re abroad and must deal with a natural disaster or political unrest, getting to a safe place in a strange land is a harrowing experience. It can also be incredibly expensive. Travel insurance can help cover the cost of getting out of harm’s way.

•Cancellation. More painful than suffering a last-minute injury that ruins your trip can be the realization that you can’t get back the big bucks you paid for travel arrangements or a tour. This kind of travel insurance also covers cancellations due to other problems, including if your tour provider goes bankrupt or an airline delay causes you to miss your event.

•Baggage. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than lost, damaged or stolen luggage. But at least being covered will provide some reimbursement for that new bathing suit you’re forced to buy upon arrival.

•Death and dismemberment. Similar to typical life insurance, this option provides your heirs with a payout should you die during your trip.

Should You Buy Travel Insurance?

If you’re a worrier, it’s difficult to put a price tag on peace of mind. But even the most nervous of travelers should think twice about certain areas of travel insurance, because the benefits are extremely limited or because you may be covered elsewhere.

The easiest one to pass on is death coverage, sometimes referred to as “crash insurance.” Plane crashes are so rare that even a small charge for this kind of coverage isn’t worth it. Besides, if you’re a young parent truly worried about your own mortality, a good term life insurance policy is probably the way to go.

A bit more complicated but worth looking into is the question of whether you are already covered.

Dig into the details of your destination with your health insurer. I was encouraged to learn that my personal CareFirst insurance would cover me at about 60 different hospitals around Antwerp, Belgium. Good to know for when I plan my European tour!

It’s also worth exploring any insurance coverage you may have as part of your credit card. American Express is well-known for its perks, for instance, and some premium cards offer coverage for lost luggage or flight cancellations — as long as you swipe your AmEx to pay for the trip, of course.

Then there’s the question of just what you’re insuring.

For instance, the U.S. Department of Transportation limits lost baggage claims to $3,300 — and when airlines do reimburse you, it always accounts for depreciation. So your skis or golf clubs may be worth covering with travel insurance. But a small bag with a bikini and sandals? Maybe not.

The same is true for medical insurance or evacuation. If you’re going bungee jumping, it might be wise to take out some extra insurance — and some providers have a specific clause for “adventure sports.” But if your worst risk is not applying enough sunblock at the beach, that’s a different story.

Jeff Reeves, Special for USA TODAYPublished 1:34 p.m. ET June 20, 2015