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Just How Strict is Air France with Carry-on Baggage?!?

How Strict is Air France with Carry-on Baggage?

Copyright: Tis Meyer /


As of 2013, Air France serves over thirty-six destinations and in France and operates worldwide to over seventy countries. Having served upwards of forty-six million passengers in its run, Air France is one of the largest flight providers globally and boasts inexpensive rates, destination guarantees, and excellent customer service.

Before international travel, many nervous customers and first-time Air France travellers wonder just how strict the airline’s carry on luggage policy is. To what degree do flight attendants tolerate minor deviations from Air France hand luggage policy? Rather than waiting for last-minute decisions by picky staff at the airport, it’s best to see how well others have fared with their hand luggage to avoid any extra travel-day stress.


How Strict is Air France with Carry-On Luggage?

There are a diverse number of factors that increase the strictness of Air Frances’ carry-on luggage policy. Season, time of day, how crowded the flight is, and the availability of digital kiosks all affect how likely it is that your bag will be checked.

Many users claim that if it’s a full flight, Air France staff adheres much more closely to their stated policy. It’s much more likely that staff will stop you as you are attempting to board the flight and tag your bag to be checked, although it’s unlikely you will receive any fees for this last-minute check.

Additionally, if there are no digital kiosks available for check-in, customers are much more likely to have to check their bag. Many angry customers cited that their baggage met all of the requirements, but a “.1 kg difference” off of the weight requirement forced their bag to be checked.

During the holiday, frequent flyers state that it’s a “toss-up” concerning whether or not staff will strictly adhere to the carry-on weight and dimension requirements. Since aircrafts are more full, attendants at the gate are much more likely to check baggage since there will almost always be less bin space available overhead.

However, staff at the check-in desk are overworked and their attention is split many different ways between calls and customers, making it less likely that they will check bags that seem to meet the requirements.

If your particular aircraft is smaller, it is much more likely that your bag will be checked last minute with no extra fees applied. One good way to tell if your flight model lacks extra bin space is to see if the seats are less than six seats wide for every row. Additionally, if you sit on the exit row, it’s likely that you will have to check a bag since there is not enough space under the seat to accommodate a personal item.


Air France: Where Do Bag Checks Occur?

Air France has a unique and variegated policy when it comes to bag checks. In fact, not all passengers bags get checked when they step up to the in-person kiosk, the boarding areas, or on transit to their gate.

Often, if the airport is unusually busy or it’s a common travel holiday, staff will forgo checking bags that “seem” to meet the weight and dimension requirements. However, customers should keep in mind that staff can pull you aside anytime before or after you get through security in order to perform an impromptu bag check. For most travellers, it is not enough to count on their bag, escaping the notice of staff at the counter or at their gate.

The first, and most likely place that customers will be stopped is at the in-person check-in desk. As customers check-in for their flight, staff will direct the customer to drop their bag into a pre-measured, empty bin to check how well the baggage adheres to dimension requirements. This checkpoint also weighs the bag to see if it adheres to Air France’s weight limits.

Frequent fliers suggest that customers avoid in-person check-in and opt for a digital kiosk if one is available. Often, small airlines will lack the digital kiosk; however, nowadays, many airports service more kiosks than actual flight staff check-in desks.

At the digital kiosk, you can discreetly check-in for your flight. Although a ‘measuring bin’ is provided, there is no way for staff to enforce that you use it.

If a bag exceeds either the weight or dimension requirements, the staff will likely tag the bag to be checked, placing it on a conveyor belt directly behind the desk.

If staff does not perform a bag check or flag an oversized bag at check-in, then it is exceedingly unlikely that the customer’s bag will be checked again. Most staff want to avoid the cumbersome, annoying process of upsetting a customer by checking their bag and applying fees right before the flight.

In order to check a bag once a customer has made it past security, staff need to flag an assistant that will deliver the bag to the hull of the plane, which is just as tiresome to you as it is to your attendant. If your bag does get checked, it is unlikely to incur regular checked bag fees unless it very obviously exceeds the dimension or weight requirements.

Unless you are one of the last customers to board the plane, most well-seasoned Air France fliers state that it’s unlikely you will have to check your bag. In the event that there’s no more overhead bin space to accommodate your bag, the flight staff will be forced to check it at no fee to you.

Ultimately, there’s no sure-fire way to avoid checking your bag at all costs. Though some fliers have tried and true methods that always seem to work, the truth is that staff reserve the right to check your carry-on luggage at any point at their own discretion. According to some fliers, the more inconvenient you make it to check your bag, the less likely that Air France staff will do it.


What are the excess baggage fees (hand luggage) like with Air France?

Considering the high fees of checking bags for international flights, it’s no wonder why so many people try convoluted methods all to get out of checking their bag. Since your bag could be lost en route or damaged, more customers than ever are unwilling to endure the high cost of checking their baggage.

Interestingly, Air France has lower fees when customers pre-check their bags online. Although the savings are small, if you are almost certain you will be forced to check your bag, it’s best to state it beforehand rather than waiting at the airport where complications could arise.

Whether or not your bag is checked at the in-person desk or at the gate before liftoff, the fees of checking bags last minute at the airport may vary. However, it’s much less likely that you will be forced to pay fees at the gate if you escape the notice of Air France staff when checking in.

At many airports in the United States, Air France, and its affiliates no longer accept cash payments for checking in bags. Customers must use payments such as credit, debit, or some form of digitally traceable payment. Before you head to the airport, it’s best to call an Air France associate to determine how you can pay for a checked bag if you are forced to check it in.

In fact, some customers go past security even when they are certain that their baggage far exceeds the height and weight requirements of the aircraft. Even so, they make sure to be one of the last passengers to board their flight. Most of the time, staff will force them to check their baggage without fail; however, staff will cite that there isn’t enough overhead bin room in the cabin and will not apply fees to the customers’ bag. This simple trick has saved some savvy travellers hundreds of dollars in checked baggage fees.


What are Air France’s Carry-on Baggage Requirements?

Briefly, it’s important to discuss the actual requirements that Air France holds for all customers’ carry on baggage before we mention how strict the airline is.

Most importantly, all customers are allowed to carry two pieces of hand luggage onto the plane: one carry-on that can be stowed in the overhead bin, and one personal item like a purse that can be squeezed under the seat. Premium Economy and Business fliers may bring two overhead bags and one personal item (small piece of hand luggage)

Your overhead bag must not exceed the following dimensions, according to official policy: 55 x 35 x 25 cm (or 21.7 x 13.8 x9.9 in).

At checkout, a bag check basket is available to easily measure your check-in bag at drop-off and boarding areas. Prior to boarding, staff will routinely check the size of your handbag before you are allowed to board.

As for weight, your carry-on should not exceed 12 kg or 26 pounds.

For Business and up, the weight limit is 18 kg or 40 pounds.

Your personal item (e. g. a handbag or laptop bag), which can be stowed under the seat, must not exceed 40 x 30 x 15 cm (or 16 x 12 x 6 in).

Keep in mind that if you are seated in an exit row, you may be forced to stow your personal item in the overhead bin rather than under the seat in front of you, since there is no seat space under the seat.


The Verdict

Air France conducts more random checks than most airline providers. Baggage checks can occur at any point before and after a passenger makes it through the security checkpoint, whether it’s at the in-person kiosk, the digital kiosk, or the flight gate itself right before take-off.

Despite these frequent checks, most staff make exceptions for reasonable extenuating circumstances provided by customers. Medical devices and duty-free goods are usually allowed to be carried onto the plane with no extra hassle.

Much of Air France’s policy depends on the time of year, size of the airline, crowdedness of the flight, and other factors beyond travellers’ control. There are many ways that fliers can avoid checked bags fees or even checking their baggage at all through using the digital kiosk, checking in online, or being among the first to board the plane.