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How to Get an Overweight Bag on an Airplane as Carry-On

Sorry to disappoint you, but this isn’t a post about smuggling large women onto planes so you can avoid buying them a ticket. This is a serious (sort of) tip about cutting down on airline fees, just don’t blame me for any resulting back/shoulder injuries!

A great way to save money while flying is to not check in any bags, but who wants to travel with only 7 kg worth of stuff?

The most important thing is to convince yourself your bag weighs less than 7 kg. If you believe it, so will they. Meditate, watch “How to control your mind” videos and become some sort of mental guru, or just learn to act well. When you are lining up at the ticket counter you should carry your bag on one shoulder. This might hurt your shoulder after a while but it’s the price you’ll have to pay. It’s all about perception, and if someone sees you doing that they automatically think your bag is light.

It’s also important to choose wisely when you start to line up. You need to be a good judge of character and be able to tell if someone is having a bad day. If the airline staff member is angry or frustrated they might not be willing to let you on with your huge bag, and you’ll be forced to pay far more than you would have if you booked baggage online.

So, you’re now at the counter. Smile and be friendly to the airline staff, chances are they won’t weigh your bag, but if they do (and it’s overweight) remain calm and friendly and they’ll usually let you away with it. If all else fails, threaten to go to the bathroom and wear every item of clothing you have and fill your pockets with all your electronics; I’ve never had to take it that far but it’s always an option.

My bag only weighs around 12 kg, but this tip could probably work for much heavier weights. Stay tuned next week when I try to get a 42 inch TV, a microwave and a bag full of metal on a plane as carry-on…

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Jon Algie

Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.
The 20 Yuan note which features the scenery around Yangshuo
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21 Comments

  1. June 24, 2014 at 4:44 am — Reply

    Brilliant tips, and I can see it all working. I am generally wearing my jumper (jacket) when I approach the counter and my pockets are already loaded. I just move it all back after I get on the plane. I will try the one shoulder technique next time. If I did get to the end, it wouldn’t be an empty threat. I would put it all on!

    • Jon Algie
      June 26, 2014 at 11:11 pm — Reply

      I probably would too, they charge you so much to check in bags at the counter!

  2. June 24, 2014 at 7:34 pm — Reply

    I see that Adele and I’s advice about meditating has taken affect 😉

    • Jon Algie
      June 26, 2014 at 11:09 pm — Reply

      Haha yip, I’m checking into a month long silent meditation course as we speak.

  3. June 30, 2014 at 9:28 am — Reply

    Lots of pockets! You could rename this, how to piss off your fellow passengers by hogging all the overhead space. Just saying…

    • Jon Algie
      June 30, 2014 at 4:48 pm — Reply

      I prefer that to being behind people in line that have lots of bags to check. I take about a minute to get my boarding pass etc – so it all balances out!

  4. June 30, 2014 at 4:38 pm — Reply

    Great tips! I never had anyone weigh my carry on. All they care about was the size of that little suitcase.

    Will try out some of your tips, and I would love to see what happens next! 😀

    • Jon Algie
      June 30, 2014 at 4:49 pm — Reply

      Good luck, might be hard to carry a suitcase on your shoulder though!

  5. July 1, 2014 at 11:42 pm — Reply

    haha that’s a great tip! My bag always get weighed, but it’s never been over – I’ll use this when it is 🙂

    • Jon Algie
      July 5, 2014 at 1:56 am — Reply

      Nice, mine hardly ever gets weighed but it’s always over when it does, I still get away with it though.

  6. July 2, 2014 at 1:43 am — Reply

    Oh I’m quite the master at smuggling oversized bags onto Ryanair and other low cost airlines 😛 I’ve never been caught so I haven’t had to try to smile it away.
    An extra tip… I stand a little reverse-slouched. I stick my tummy out, so my bag’s bulge looks smaller because half of it fills up the space my back should have been 😉 (Does that even make any sense? 😛 )

    • Jon Algie
      July 5, 2014 at 1:57 am — Reply

      Haha, that’s a good tip, it’s all about perception!

  7. July 4, 2014 at 1:34 am — Reply

    Hahahaha! love it! cants wait to see how it goes with the tv ;D

    • Jon Algie
      July 5, 2014 at 1:58 am — Reply

      Haha, I should actually try it, but then I’d have to buy a TV!

  8. July 7, 2014 at 12:27 am — Reply

    I love the thought of you waddling out of the toilet wearing all of your clothes like that one episode of Friends where Joey wears all of Chandlers clothes.

    • Jon Algie
      July 10, 2014 at 12:54 am — Reply

      I actually had to do it the other day, Jetstar are really picky about weights!! I had that episode in mind when I was writing this as well!

  9. July 8, 2014 at 8:52 am — Reply

    Hilarious. Gotta keep in shape to travel. It helps in all sorts of ways, huh? Tossing around heavy bags as if they’re nothing. Great post.

    • Jon Algie
      July 10, 2014 at 12:56 am — Reply

      Haha yip, why lift weights when you can lift bags!

  10. October 12, 2014 at 2:10 am — Reply

    Great tips, well done! 🙂 In case someone is very scared of taking an overweight hand luggage, just wear as much clothes as possible or carry a jacket with you and fill the pockets with stuff (that’s allowed!). When I was younger, I used to wear a huge jumper and have another handbag hidden under the jumper.. I was seriously travelling with low budget, and I always thought it was unfair that very fat people were allowed to take the same amount of hand luggage as me even they weight 100 kg more than me – so I did everything I could to fill that gap! I’m a bit ashamed of that way of thinking now… 😀

  11. November 17, 2014 at 7:11 pm — Reply

    Oooh ok.. 😀 I’m really curious to hear about how you’ll do with the TV and microwave. Good luck you pioneer 😉

  12. November 30, 2014 at 10:22 am — Reply

    Great tips. Good luck with your second try!

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