For many travelers, traveling through a European airport happens at least once throughout their journeys.
One of the luxuries of traveling from one European airport to another is that you don’t have to go through customs. Your passport isn’t stamped, which is definitely a bummer if your dream is to fill your passport with all your destinations, but on the bright side, you don’t have to wait on an excruciatingly long line that organizes travelers based on nationality. When you get off of a flight from Paris in Rome, you walk straight to the baggage carousel, and then off into il mondo italiano!
While traveling within Europe, another great advantage is low-cost flights! Barcelona to Brussels for 41 euros? YES PLEASE! It almost seems too good to be true, so is it?
When using a European low-cost carrier, one of the most important things to look into is the baggage allowance. Many of these companies make most of their money off charging for excess baggage, or even overweight carry-ons. Sometimes the weight limit is limited to 20 kilos, which is lower than the 23 standard kilos allowed for network carriers. They also tend to enforce the carry-on dimensions and weight limits. For example, with Ryanair, your fare only includes a 10-kilo carry-on. If you are traveling with check-in luggage, it is best to add it on before arriving at the airport, as reserving in advance is cheaper than paying at the check-in counter the day of traveling.
Unfortunately, some circumstances are unforeseen when tackling European airports. For instance, France has been in a State of Emergency for over a year now. Once, when traveling from Paris CDG airport, to New York JFK, my carry-ons were chosen at random to be weighed before going through security. At the Air France counter, a network carrier, my carry-ons were not weighed, so because of this random security check, I had to go back to the counter and check in my carry-ons that surpassed the 12-kilo allowance. Had I known that random security checks were being performed, I would have weighed both my carry-ons and my checked-in baggage, but that wasn’t the case. ALWAYS weigh your luggage before traveling to avoid surprises!
Lastly, don’t forget to check-in online! Some companies charge a fee to print tickets out at the counter, but you can save yourself time, money, and have your ticket accessible on your phone!
(photo sources from top to bottom: instagram @katowiceairport, instagram @henie_picart)