The 20 kilogram baggage limit – some hints
The 20 kilogram baggage limit on some domestic flights in the Philippines can create awful headaches. And worse, one cannot buy additional baggage allowance. Here are some hints.
Why is there an absolute baggage limit ?
First reason is the length of the runway. An ATR72-500 such as flown by Cebu Pacific Air needs a runway of at least 1,333 meters for take-off and 1,067 meters for landing. Many runways in the Philippines are as short as 1,000 meters like in Camiguin (CGM) or in Caticlan/Boracay (MPH). On such runways the ATR72-500 can neither land nor take-off with maximum weight. With the new extended runway in Caticlan this problem should be resolved for Boracay during 2016. It still remains for the other small airports.
Second reason is the limited ATR72-500 payload of 7,500 kilograms. This means 104 kilograms per passenger when the plane is full. With the allowed 20 kilograms of checked in luggage and 7 kilograms of hand-carry remain only 77 kilograms of body weight per passenger. The standard Pinoy traveller will probably not reach this limit but foreign tourists are sometimes real heavy-weights. This is also the reason why passenger weight is measured at the check-in. The pilots take no risk and strictly control the MTOW (the maximum takeoff weight) and the MLW (the maximum landing weight). These weights can be compensated by fuel management.
It’s awfully short this runway in Camiguin.
How to haul more luggage to your destination?
On intercontinental flights passengers are allowed up to 30 kg (economy) and 40 kg (business) of checked-in baggage. How can you bring the 10 or 20 or even more kilograms of excess luggage to your destination? First of all, it isn’t possible to book two tickets for the same passenger. It is also not possible to book for somebody else who will not show up at the airport. So, what can you do?
- The best solution is to pack your goods into several baggage items. The heaviest one should not exceed 20 kilograms and contain everything you need the first day. This 20 kg item you take with you to the departure airport and check it in. The remaining item(s) you send by a cargo or courier service like LBC or JRS. The fees are acceptable and the luggage will be delivered next day to your address. Both courier services have branches all over the Philippines and you often find one near the airport. We recently tested this solution from Cebu to Camiguin. We paid 1,500 Pesos for 11 kg and the luggage arrived within 22 hours at our address.
- Find somebody who fetches you at the departure airport without any luggage and who flies back with you to your destination. This isn’t cheap but at least you can bring all your needed items or equipment to your destination. ATR72 do not transport sports equipment at special rates!
- When you have two stop-overs in the Philippines with the ATR flight at the end, try to check-thru all your luggage. This worked for me last summer from Manila via Cebu to Camiguin. The CEB staff in Manila checked all luggage thru to Camiguin – 40 kilograms! Using this trick, you need to be early and have a plan B. If staff at the first airport knows about the limitations you have to do some thing with your excess luggage.
- The last solution we can suggest are ferries or buses. Many places in the Philippines can be reached by ferry or by bus. Depending on your destination a ferry or bus trip may last for 2 days while the longest flight within the Philippines lasts just 2 hours. This last solution can be funny when the sea is calm and the ferry has nice accommodation or you are used to overland trips with buses. On some fast ferries and some bus lines you may encounter a baggage limit! But the time you need, the lack of comfort and the fares may send you back to solution number one.
Have a nice trip!