Excess Baggage Fees: Are Indian travelers paying exorbitantly for overpacking?

On June 13, 2011 at 08:22 AM

New Delhi, June 13, 2011: With airlines becoming stringent and charging as much as Rs. 2250 for excess baggage fees and nearly Rs. 9000 for an oversize or overweight bag, Expedia.co.in, the world’s largest online travel company carried out an insightful study of the average travelers’ packing habits, focused on highlighting the key mistakes and solutions that travelers should consider. According to the Annual Expedia Baggage Survey, nearly 40% of Indians have paid excess baggage fees while traveling. While more than 60% said they had not even used all the items that they had carried with them. The results have been collated basis a survey carried out with over 500 Indian travelers who have booked air travel online.

With a huge number of travelers heading towards Europe for cool escapades in the Alps, followed by travel to the beaches and city holidays, this survey highlights the problems travelers face while planning their bags. Interestingly, mountain breaks also emerge as one of the most difficult holidays to pack for, with over half of the respondents (58%) stating that they were flustered while planning for such a trip. With the additional woolens they need to brave the chill of snow-capped mountains, and the different types of clothes they feel they need to enjoy the broad range of activities offered at such locations - including adventure sports, trekking and site-seeing - travelers spent a considerable amount of time fitting everything into just a single suitcase!

As per the study, Indian travelers have spent as much as Rs. 7500 on excess baggage fees, prompting them to take considerable steps to avoid paying for this extravagance. Some of the respondents admitted to wearing extra clothes, including up to three jackets, stuffing small things in pockets, and befriending fellow passengers travelling with lesser baggage to help accommodate their stuff. Some even used infant strollers to carry heavy items, since strollers are allowed into the cabin, amongst other innovative solutions.

From a packing perspective, more than half of the respondents (59%) admit to spending between one and two days preparing for their holiday. Less than a third (22%) admit to spending only two hours in packing their suitcases and nearly 18% spend more than 2 days in packing their bags.

According to Mr. Manmeet Ahluwalia, Marketing Head, Expedia.co.in,“With summer at its peak, and more and more consumers looking to visit new destinations, we felt it would be interesting for consumers to take a relook at their packing habits. It can help them avoid paying the airlines for items that they may not use in the first place. Proper planning and packing smart can help consumers save money, thereby giving them the extra cash to spend an additional day holidaying or allow them to enjoy some of the interesting activities that Expedia allows its travelers to experience”.

Some Expedia recommendations for avoiding excess baggage fees are given below:

  • Research is the key: Common…yet good advice. It’s always better to be prepared. Check for temperatures, altitudes, terrain and decide your clothing accordingly! There is no use for that pair of track pants if the weather is too cold even for jeans, or when you need trekking shoes instead of the sandals!
  • A dress a day: Count the number of days you are traveling and keep a maximum of a dress for each day. Be realistic, some clothes can be repeated, mixed and matched and you couldn’t possibly need more clothes than the days you are traveling. And if the trip is any longer than a week, remember you can always wash and wear.
  • Clothes that don’t show, can be repeated: A great tip for your trip to the Alps! That T-shirt that you want to flaunt will most likely be under many other layers of clothing. Reduce your excess baggage by carrying less of what doesn’t matter. Be ruthless! What you don’t have can always be bought on location.
  • Wear what you can: Already gone overboard while packing! Try wearing what you can to stretch your weight restriction by thinking carefully about your travel gear. Carrying the extra jacket on the flight and wearing that extra sweater can free up a lot of space in the suitcase.
  • Layer it to keep warm: A trick famous for keeping the traveler warm! Take multiple thinner items which can be layered instead of carrying one bulky and much heavier piece. The insulation provided by these layers can help brave the strongest of chilly winds.
  • Mix and Match: Stick with one basic colour scheme, preferably a dark one, which won't show marks and wrinkles. A single pair of jeans that are versatile and rugged can be worn with a number of T-Shirts, tops and shirts and create a number of different looks with eye-catching accessories that make for different looks.
  • Use travel packs: Buy the specially-created travel packs or the smaller bottle size of the creams and toiletries that you would need. What’s left over can always be used when you return, and what’s finished can always be replaced on destination. You’ll be surprised at how light the cosmetics/travel kit feels.
  • Budget for gifts - Take into consideration what you might spend if charged for excess baggage. Smaller gifts can convey the same sentiment - reflect on what you want to buy well in advance to be able to make it special. Also avoid pre-packing these gifts, since there is always a strong chance that your luggage would be opened by the customs.

With proper planning, solid research and a bit of creativity, those painful excess baggage fees can be avoided without putting a damper on your summer travel!

About Expedia.co.in

Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE), the world's largest online travel company, operates Expedia.co.in (http://www.expedia.co.in/) in India. Expedia.co.in provides Indian consumers with a distinctive suite of travel solutions comprising a wide selection of holidays, destination attractions, flights, hotels and car rentals supported by a 24x7 call centre. With products like ‘Build your trip’ consumers not only have the freedom to create their own packages but also receive the best discounts on creating packages from Expedia’s inventory of hotels, travel activities and car.

Expedia currently operates over 85 offices around the world and has more than 8000 travel experts worldwide, supporting travellers around the clock.

Link to the Expedia.co.in press centre - http://press.expedia.co.in/

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