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How Heavy Can A Checked Bag Be?

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While there is no universal weight limit for checked bags, most airlines permit a checked bag of 62 linear inches (27” x 21” x 14”) with a maximum weight limit of 50 pounds.

The struggles of packing for a flight journey are real. Deciding what to pack in your carry-on and checked luggage without exceeding the airline’s weight limit can be a real pain, especially during the holiday season.

Scrambling around to make adjustments just before your trip to the airport, or even worse, at the airport check-in counter, is an absolute nightmare. It all comes down to the question, ‘How heavy can a checked bag be?’

How Heavy Can A Checked Bag Be

The Quick Answer: Most airlines allow a checked bag with maximum dimensions of 27” x 21” x 14” (or a total of 62” linear size) with a maximum weight limit of 50 lbs.

Of course, checked bag weight limits vary based on the airline, your destination, and your flying class.

Checked luggage weight limit

Most airlines permit passengers to have one carry-on and one checked bag.

The standard weight limit on most airlines in the US is 50 lbs (23 kg) per checked bag. Spirit Airlines and Allegiant are some budget carriers that allow only 40 lbs.

Besides the weight limit, checked bags must measure 62 inches (158 cm).

It isn’t unusual to expect a higher allowance for some international airlines.

The permitted weight limits for checked bags and the number of checked bags you can take along depend on the following:

  • The airline
  • The destination
  • The class you’re flying in
  • Other exceptions (children/infants, US military personnel, etc.)

Exceptions

How Heavy Can A Checked Bag Be_Exceptions

Most airlines waive checked bag fees for passengers flying First or Business Class, military personnel on active duty, and those with elite status with the airline.

While any checked bag exceeding the permissible weight limit will need you to pay the excess (overweight) fees, any bag weighing over 100 lbs will probably not fly. This is because even overweight bags have a weight allowance cap by airlines.

Whether you take your checked luggage free or with an excess baggage fee, the size limitations are 62 linear inches for each checked bag.

Useful tip

Keep a luggage scale handy to be sure of the weight of your checked bag

You can even keep one inside your suitcase and use it to weigh your bag while returning.

Different airlines checked bag weight limits

Different Airlines Checked Bag Weight Limits

Here’s some information on how heavy your checked bag can be with different airlines.

American Airlines

The checked bag allowance for all regions except Australia or New Zealand is 50 lbs (23 kg), with a maximum bag dimension of 62” (158 cm).

For First or Business Class passengers, the weight limit of 70 lbs (32 kg) applies for complimentary bags and 50 lbs for excess charged bags.

If you’re flying to or from New Zealand or Australia, you can take up to 70 lbs (32 kg) for complimentary bags and 50 lbs for excess charged bags.

The first checked bag charges for domestic travel are $30, increasing with each additional bag you check-in.

how heavy can a checked bag be American Airlines

Delta Airlines

For travelers on Economy, the checked bag allowance is 50 lbs (23 kg), and the baggage size mustn’t exceed 62” (158 cm).

The first standard checked bag will cost you $30, which will be waived off if you’re a part of their loyalty program.

For First and Business class passengers, the weight limit is 70 lbs per piece of checked luggage.

how heavy can a checked bag be Delta Airlines

United Airlines

A standard checked bag measuring 62” must be within 50 lbs (23 kg) for Economy passengers and within 70 lbs (32 kg) for First and Business Class passengers.

If you have the MileagePlus status, you can take up to 70 lbs of checked luggage.

You’ll have to pay $30 for your first checked bag.

Southwest Airlines

Each checked bag can weigh 50 lbs (23 kg) and must be within 62” in linear dimension.

You can check in your first two bags for free. An additional fee of $75 is applicable for each additional bag or oversized bag.

how heavy can a checked bag be Southwest Airlines

JetBlue

A checked bag must have a 62” overall dimension and not exceed 50 lbs (23 kg).

The fee for the first checked bag is $30. Elite members can check in the first two bags free of cost.

The checked luggage weight limits vary for different international destinations.

Frontier

A checked bag must be 62 linear inches and weigh less than 40 lbs (18 kg). This includes large duffel bags, large suitcases, and sporting equipment.

Your first checked bag costs $30.

Spirit

The checked bags must be a maximum of 62” in linear dimensions (including wheels and handle) and weigh 40 lbs (18 kg). The first checked bag fee is $34. 

They don’t accept bags more than 80 linear inches (203 cm) or weighing more than 100 lbs (45 kg).

Alaska Airlines

The standard checked bag must weigh 50 lbs, with a maximum dimension of 62”. You’ll have to pay $30 for the first bag within the size and weight limitations.

how heavy can a checked bag be Alaska Airlines

Allegiant

A checked bag can weigh up to 40 lbs (18 kg), with a maximum size of 80 linear inches (203 cm). The fees for the first and second checked bags are up to $35 per bag, depending on the destination.

Hawaiian Airlines

Your checked bag mustn’t exceed 62” linear dimensions or a weight limit of 50 lbs (23 kg).

For travel within the State of Hawaii, your first checked bag will cost $25, while for domestic travel not within the State of Hawaii, the cost is $30.

how heavy can a checked bag be Hawaiian Airlines

Checked Bags FAQs

What happens if checked bag is over 50 pounds?

If your checked bag is over 50 pounds (23 Kgs) when it is weighed at check-in then the airline will probably charge you an excess baggage fee. Excess baggage fees can be very high.

Is there a maximum weight for checked luggage?

Many airlines have a 50 pound (23 Kg) weight limit before charging excess baggage fees. A few budget airlines have a lower limit.

Are airlines strict with baggage weight?

Airlines are strict with baggae weight allowances for two reasons – they need to make sure the aircraft is not overloaded and they make more money by charging excess baggage fees on overweight bags.

Summary

Unless you’re willing to pay some hefty excess luggage fee, you’d probably want to stick to the allotted weight limits for a checked bag.

Don’t forget to doubly check exactly how heavy your checked bag can be for the airline you’re flying. Also, ensure how many pieces of checked bags you can take with you unless you fly only with a carry-on!

Other air travel articles

Now that you know about a checked bag’s weight limits, you’ll probably want to read into some of my other helpful air travel articles:

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