Tips and Inspiration How to beat the Emirates baggage allowance rules

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How to beat the Emirates baggage allowance rules

There are lots of factors affecting the Emirates baggage allowance rules; it depends on the point of departure, the cabin class you’re flying, and whether you’re a member of the Emirates Skywards Program. In short, Economy travelers are permitted one piece of cabin baggage (55 x 38 x 20 cm) weighing a maximum of 7kg.

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The Emirates baggage allowance rules are different for tickets booked before and after February 4, 2019. To find out how your ticket might be affected, read on.

*Information correct as of January 2019, obtained from Emirates. Please always check the latest guidance before booking a trip. Prices, dimensions and information correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability. 

Emirates hand luggage allowance: size, weight and fees

Emirates cabin bag size Emirates hand luggage weight allowance Number of bags allowed onboard Cost to check in oversized hand luggage
Economy: 55x38x20cm applies to one handbag or one laptop bag

First/Business: 55x38x20cm applies to one handbag or garment bag. Plus 45x35x20cm briefcase

7kg in Economy

7kg per piece in First/Business

One hand luggage bag in Economy

Two hand luggage bags in First/Business

Dh158 per kilo at the airport (depending on the route)

Emirates hold luggage allowance: size, weight and fees

Emirates hold baggage size Emirates hold luggage weight allowance Number of hold bags allowed Cost of Emirates extra hold luggage
Total size of all bags must be under 300cm – add the length, width and height of bag to calculate this 15kg – 35kg in Economy (excl. Canada, North America and South America)

40kg – 50kg in First/Business (excl. Canada, North America and South America)

Unlimited number per passenger but each piece must weigh less than 32kg Online Dh711 – Dh3,555 for 5kg – 25kg

At the airport Dh158 per kilo

These fees vary depending on the route or class you’re flying, and the type of fare you’ve purchased

The above acts as a guide for Emirates’ baggage allowances. We advise you always check with the airline before flying.

Changes as of February 4, 2019:

Emirates has reduced the baggage allowance for certain Economy tickets issued on/after this date.

Here are the changes to weight concept:

  • Special fares – before Feb 4 – 20kg, on/after Feb 4 – 15kg
  • Saver fares – before Feb 4 – 30kg, on/after Feb 4 – 25kg

Here are the changes to piece concept (the Americas and flights from Africa):

  • Special fares to/from the Americas – before Feb 4 – two pieces up to 23kg each, on/after Feb 4 – one piece up to 23kg
  • Special and Saver fares within Americas and between US & Europe – before Feb 4 -two pieces up to 23kg each, on/after Feb 4 – one piece up to 23kg

1. Stick to packing essentials in your hand luggage

Emirates’ baggage policy isn’t the most generous so you need to pack your bags carefully. If you’re flying economy you’re allowed one piece of carry-on luggage – either a handbag or a laptop bag, or one wheelie bag. The maximum weight allowed is 7kg and the maximum size for a handbag is 55 x 38 x 20cm.
According to Emirates’ baggage policy, if you’re taking a wheeled suitcase in the cabin, the dimensions (height, width and length) must add up to no more than 114cm. You won’t be able to sneak on a larger wheelie either, Emirates says it won’t allow ‘overnight models’ in the cabin so you’ll be forced to check the bag and possibly face excess baggage charges.

This is actually less generous than some of the budget airlines including Ryanair, which allows one bag and a handbag or laptop bag. Read about Ryanair’s allowances here.

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2. Do your Emirates’ baggage homework

Don’t just rely on what your friends or work colleagues tell you about Emirates’ baggage allowance because it’s not always simple! Depending on where you’re flying to, you could lose out on a full suitcase (or end up paying Emirates’ excess baggage fees) if you don’t do your research. If you’re flying from Dubai to London in on an Economy Special ticket, for example, you’re allowed to check in 15kg of luggage if you booked your ticket after February 4, 2019. If you booked before February 4, 2019, you’re entitled to 20kg. If you were flying the same route on an Economy Saver ticket, you’d have a 25kg luggage limit (or 30kg if your ticket was issued before February 4, 2019). While if you’re flying long haul to Toronto, your Emirates luggage allowance is one bag of 23kg each for Saver faresand two 23kg bags in Saver, Flex and Flex Plus.

Flying to Toronto soon? Check out our tips on how to survive a long-haul flight!

3. Take advantage of your children

What we mean is take advantage of the fact you’re traveling with your children and use the Emirates extra baggage allowance. Regardless of what class you’re flying, if you’re traveling with infants you’re allowed one extra piece of hand luggage measuring no more than 55 x 38 x 20cm, and weighing a maximum of 5kg, and an additional 10kg of checked baggage. If all your children need are a few coloring books or an iPad, think about whether you could make better use of the extra allowance than simply throwing in an extra cuddly toy. You can also take one carry-cot or one umbrella stroller if there’s space in the cabin, or check these into the hold at no extra cost.*

4. Consider what type of packer you are

If you’re flying home with a suitcase full of presents for friends and family and have paid little attention to their size or weight, it’s probably worth investing in some extra luggage. It can cost a lot for excess baggage on Emirates, especially if it’s heavy. For a Dubai to London trip, you can buy extra weight online when you make your booking; it would cost Dh711 for 5kg, Dh1,422 for 10kg (up to Dh3,555 for 25kg). But if you end up with too much luggage and have to pay Emirates’ excess baggage rates at the airport, you’ll have to pay Dh158 per kilo, which is Dh790 for 5kg, up to Dh3,950 for 25kg.

5. Go miniature

So many holiday essentials now come in nifty travel sizes, there’s no need to take up precious space in your suitcase with a bulky hairdryer or laptop power pack.
If you must take your home comforts, pick up a travel hairdryer or a tiny steam iron and use the spare space for other things you really can’t live without. Remember, all of your miniature liquids in your hand luggage need to fit into a single, transparent, resealable bag no more than 20 x 20cm big.

6. Become a member

Being a member of the Emirates Skywards program is another variable in the Emirates’ baggage allowance calculation. If you’re an Emirates Skywards Gold member, for example, you’d get an extra 16kg allowance on your economy flight from Dubai to London, but nothing on top of the two bags totaling 46kg on your flight to New York. There are four tiers – blue, silver, gold and platinum – and the rewards vary a lot. If you’re an Emirates Skywards gold or platinum member, you’ll get guaranteed seats, even on fully booked flights, and lounge access for guests. On routes where Skywards members get an extra baggage allowance, silver is entitled to 12kg, gold 16kg and platinum 20kg.

There are a few UAE banks that offer credit cards that give you Skywards miles when you spend, but be vigilant about paying them off at the end of every month.

7. Buy the ‘official’ Emirates cabin wheelie

Emirates now has its own range of luggage and the line includes the Emirates Long Weekend trolley bag which conveniently measures 55 x 37 x 20cm, so will fit perfectly into the overhead locker.

8. Upgrade your ticket

This is quite a big expense simply to take advantage of the Emirates’ extra luggage allowance but if you’re feeling flush, why not! First and business class passengers are allowed two pieces of carry-on luggage, a briefcase (no bigger than 45 x 35 x 20cm) and either a garment bag or handbag (maximum 55 x 38 x 20cm). Each piece shouldn’t weigh more than 7kg. Sign up for promotional emails with the airline and keep an eye out for any sales. You could upgrade using Emirates Skywards miles, or if you’re feeling really confident, try asking at the airport.

Read more: Emirates business class – what’s all the fuss about?

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