The Budget Airline Where Carry-on Bags Cost More Than Hold Luggage

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Photo by Ullman

by Hazel Plush, The Daily Telegraph, July 25, 2016

It’s cheaper to fly with just hand luggage, right? Wrong. At least not if you’re jetting off with Canadian low-cost airline NewLeaf. Book a seat with them, and you’ll have to pay handsomely for the privilege of stuffing your carry-on in the overhead locker – to the tune of up to $92 (£53). That’s per bag. In hand luggage.

It should be noted that the airline does allow you to carry a small "personal bag" free of charge – but the maximum permitted size is 16 cm x 33 cm x 43 cm. That’s smaller than Ryanair’s hand luggage allowance (55cm x 40cm x 20cm) – the dimensions of a laptop bag, or a slim backpack. And it can’t weigh more than 10kg. Chances are, if you have anything more than a toothbrush, novel and pair of pants, you’ll need a bigger bag – and for that you’ll have to shell out.

Regular carry-on luggage – which you must pay for – can measure up to 23cm x 40cm x 55cm - but must still weigh 10kg or less. Book it when you buy your ticket online, and you’ll be charged $31.50-$34.50; book it at the airport, and you’ll be charged $42-$46. Manage to sneak it through check-in as a "personal bag", only to be caught out at the gate? You’ll be charged $84-$92.

But there’s a twist. If you want to check that bag in to the hold – or a bigger one, up to 23kg, or 158cm in linear dimensions (that’s height+width+depth) – you’ll be charged much less. The online price is $26.25-$28.75; airport price is $36.75-$40.45; gate price is $73.50-$80.50. So it’s cheaper at every stage to check in a big bag rather than carry your luggage in the cabin. To save money, you’ll have to unlearn everything you thought you knew about budget travel.

Surely this move is just a big, juicy cash cow?

NewLeaf insist it’s not. “NewLeaf charges this fee to encourage our customers to check their baggage so we can get people on and off the aircraft in the shortest timeframe,” reads a statement on the website . “This helps us to satisfy you the customer, and keep costs down, which translates into lower fares.

“When you use our website versus our people (such as at Airport counters), you will be charged lower fees. As a rule when you buy, the further you are away from the aircraft door, the lower the fees.”

This article was written by Hazel Plush and travel writer from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.