My father recently came to visit us in Spain. Not knowing how people travel now, he had not sent his luggage on ahead by FedEx courier to Spain but brought his suitcases with him. He is well past 70 years old and has had a couple of operations on his heart, he arrived absolutely exhausted because a strike at Malaga Airport had resulted in there being no luggage trolleys. Having paid extra to fly a premium airline, his suitcase was bulging. The suitcase being elderly as well, it had no wheels and my poor father carried this thing through the now greatly extended distance that Arrivals at Malaga airport have to travel to the car hire booth where there was the inevitable 30 minute queue in 38º heat.
It took him two days to recover from the ordeal and when I found out the extra he had paid for the inconvenience of lugging his suitcases to check-in (instead of checking in on-line); waiting by the baggage carousel for luggage that always seems to arrive last and then carrying it through the airport I was absolutely amazed. Let’s just say you could have flown Madrid – New York return for that price.
There is no doubt in my mind that my parents would have saved a great deal each on their return journey by choosing a less expensive airline and sending their bags by courier, let alone the benefit of a less stressful and quicker journey.
If you are only going to take hand luggage from Spain, how much are you allowed? Needless to say, this varies by airline so I had a quick look at 10 budget airlines that passengers may use to fly between the UK and Spain and compared the carry-on allowances of all these.
My wife recently travelled Ryanair from Malaga which is in the old Terminal 2 instead of the spanking new Terminal 3. From check-in in the old terminal you need to walk around 1/2 km to security in the new terminal and then 1/2 km back to departures in the old before being allowed to walk the 1/2 km to the actual departure gate. She has rebelled at carrying her smart leather hold-all and now insists I buy her a bag with wheels that is (a) the lightest possible and (b) the largest that can be carried on-board. Well, here’s the comparison list, graded by weight (kg) allowance first and then external volume (litres) allowed for your suitcase, the worst offenders come first with a score of ten, the best score one:-
First Choice (10) 44 litres 5kg;
Thompson (9) 55 litres 5kg;
Monarch (8) 63 litre 5kg;
Aer Lingus (7) 63 litres 6kg;
FlyBe (6) 40 litres 10kg;
Ryanair (5)44 litres 10kg;
Iberia (4) 44 litres 10kg;
Jet 2 (3) 63 litres 10kg;
BMI Baby (2) 51 litres Unlimited kg* PLUS Laptop / handbag;
Easyjet(1) 63 litres Unlimited kg*
* For Unlimited you must be able to place bag in overhead locker by yourself.
So, if she ever wants to travel FlyBe she needs a miserly 40 litre case (not much chance of going over the weight limit there). The top four on the list, with weight limits of 5 or 6 kg are ridiculous – are you really going to put your SLR camera and iPod in your hold baggage? I think not! The average wheeled carry-on suitcase weighs around 2.5 kg leaving you an actual allowance of 2.5 kg, I have hard-back books (to read on the flight) that weigh over 1kg and my notebook computer weighs more than 2.5kg. It is just not possible for us to travel on the first five airlines on this list.
So with whom would you travel? Well, Easyjet give you a whole 63 litres of luggage space on-board with as much weight as you can carry and stow yourself (say 20kg for the average person) but, to my mind, BMI Baby top that, although with a smaller allowable case (51 litres) and again unlimited weight but the ability to bring on a second bag such as a laptop or a handbag, brings the civility of business-class travel to the budget priced flights.
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Article Added on Sunday, December 4, 2011
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