A baggage policy is a set of rules established by an airline that defines how many bags passengers may check in and possible related charges. These rules vary across airlines and depend on ticket fare, cabin class, frequent flyer status, aircraft size, and flight route.
The baggage policy defines
- the weight and size of checked and carry-on bags,
- baggage allowance for different fare groups,
- charges for additional baggage,
- the list of items not allowed in carry-on baggage (e.g., sharp objects, aerosols, liquids above the specified amount, medication without documented proof of the medical need, etc.), and
- the list of items not allowed in checked baggage (e.g., explosives, drugs, firearms, hazardous materials, etc.).
Baggage policies are defined by every carrier independently, and IATA, though an aviation industry regulator, plays no role in this activity. However, IATA develops standards and best practices for baggage operations, such as tracking and tracing mishandled bags.