Saturday, 23 July 2016

How to Avoid Hefty Check-in Fees

Since a certain British full service airline decided to change their loyalty scheme, I have found myself flying a lot more on a certain British low cost airline lately. And with that, I seriously had to adapt my packing habits in order to avoid those hefty check-in fees.

Where I was used to bringing along crap like a laptop, a giant ass purse and checking in my little Samsonite trolley bag without incurring any additional costs, I now have to give a lot more time and thought into packing for a holiday. I had to come to terms with the fact that I could no longer bring 7 pairs of shoes, 14 outfits and a beauty case on my week's holiday to the sun. Hard times.

But I'm a fast learner and after a few of these low cost flights, I have come up with a few handy tricks that I would love to share with you.

How to Avoid Hefty Check-in Fees

Replace the giant ass purse with a teeny tiny one. 

I mean, what do you really need a purse for? Passport, wallet and a phone. Maybe a book and a bottle of water, as well. The trick is to leave a little bit of space in your suitecase and make it look like it still fits in. At least till you get past the gate agent. After that you are home free and you can keep the teeny tiny purse on you during the entirety of the flight.

N.B. if you are flying in winter time, wear the teeny tiny purse under your giant ass winter coat and the gate agent will be none the wiser.

Replace the teeny tiny purse with a duty-free shopping bag. 

Okay, a paper Pret-A-Manger bag is probably not quite Gucci, but it will have a better chance of getting on the plane with no hassle. All you have to do is buy as little as 1 banana, ask for a bag, and fill the bag with your passport, wallet, phone, a book and a bottle of water. You will see that you will not be asked to squeeze these items into your already bursting at the seams it is really that full, little trolley bag.

N.B. If you happen to fly through Amsterdam Schiphol, those See Buy Fly duty-free bags are supposed to be so hot right now. Eat that Gucci.


This tip is probably also more suitable for flying in winter, but in order to save some space in the trolley bag, I layer. I will wear two tanks, two Ts and a sweatshirt or two. If you've got one of those trousers with an abundance of pockets, even better. You can stuff all kinds of things in those.

Take it Slow

Flying low cost means that everyone else is also bringing trolley bags on board. No one wants to pay £23 pounds for that. There is a way around that hefty fee. Be a slow boarder. If the flight is full and you are the last one to board, the gate agent will check your bag in for free. That's right, you pay absolutely nothing. Easy peasy. While everyone else is standing in the queue an hour before boarding even starts, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the wait.

Soft Case vs Hard Case

I don't actually practice what I am preaching here, but it makes more sense to have a soft case bag. It is easier to sit on it and push it between those metal racks they make you put the bag in at the gate. It will leave fewer dents in your case as well.

I hope my tips are useful and will result in a fewer frantic packing experiences. And if all else fails, you can always smooch and sweet talk your handbag on board. I've heard that works too.

This post was written in  collaboration with House of Fraser (they sell cool luggage by the way). The words are my own.


  1. oooh I hadn't ever thought of a later check in to get an extra bag on. When I flew to NZ I was waaay over my limit and a nice chap in first class only had a carry on bag and could see I was distressed so said I could use his allowance :)

    1. It's not at check-in that they do that, but at the gate. That was so nice of the first class guy though! :-)

  2. Lovely tips for checking in luggage. I would remember these when I travel next.

    1. I'm glad to be of help for your next flight. Safe travels.