Stats: 21% of U.S. Travelers Have Exceeded Their Luggage Allowance

A new study by a flight comparison company has found that as many as one fifth of Americans have exceeded their luggage allowance, forcing them to either pay on average $45 to travel with their excess luggage or ditch some items to lower their weight. Light clothing, books and grooming products are top of the list of items left behind and replaced at a later date.

Americans have the choice to pay a fee or ditch some items when they get to the airport and realize they’ve exceeded their luggage allowance. According to the new study, it’s typically cheaper to leave some items behind and repurchase them at a later date than it is to pay to take them on the flight.

The team at undertook the research as part of an ongoing study into American’s traveling habits and practices. 4,773 Americans aged 18 and over, all of whom have flown on vacation at least once in the past 12 months, whether within mainland America or outside, were asked about their luggage.

To begin with, all respondents were asked ‘How much luggage did you book for your last flight?’ to which the top response was ‘hold luggage’ (47%), while others stated they’d flown with ‘just hand luggage’ (28%) or ‘upgraded for additional luggage allowance’ (25%).

All respondents were then asked ‘Have you ever gotten to the airport and found that you’ve been over your luggage allowance?’ to which one fifth of respondents (21%) stated that ‘yes’ they have. When asked how they dealt with the situation, 58 percent stated that they ‘paid for the excess luggage’, whilst the remaining 42 percent confessed to ditching luggage to get the weight of their luggage down.

Those who stated that they left some items behind were asked what it was they were first to leave behind. When provided with a list of likely items and told to select all items they’d left behind, the top responses were: 

  • Light clothing – 41 percent
  • Books – 35 percent
  • Grooming products – 30 percent
  • Shoes – 16 percent
  • Heavy clothing – 13 percent

Of those who paid extra for their luggage, the average cost incurred was found to be $45. Of those who confessed to throwing some of their belongings away to get their weight down, when asked to estimate how much the items had cost them initially, the average cost was $22. 


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