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Don’t make this mistake when traveling in Asia

by Christy Morgan

Air travel between Asian countries is relatively easy and inexpensive. They are numerous airlines that offer one way fares as low as $30. What you might not realize is the budget airlines charge extra for baggage over 7kg in weight. And that isn’t a lot of stuff!

I made the mistake of booking through the cheapest flight I could find to get me from Bali to Thailand. That meant I was flying two different airlines for each leg of my journey. Air Asia for Bali to Singapore and Jetstar for the Singapore to Phuket leg.


My second mistake was not being clear on what 7kg looked and felt like. All I knew is that my bag is carry-on size so I thought I could bring it as a carry-on. Feel free to check out what I packed in my carry-on for my 2 month trip in Asia right here. They weighed the bag and it was a whopping 14kg. So much for packing light! I had to pay a 350,000 rupiah fee (about $30 USD) to check my bag with Air Asia Indonesia as they refused to let me take it onboard.

Since I was flying another airline for my second leg I feared I would have to pay again when I checked into Singapore. Yep. There I had to pay $60 Singapore dollars (about $45 USD). Even if you check a bag, but have a layover in another country, you will have to go to baggage claim, grab your bag and recheck it again.

So my “cheap” flight got a lot more expensive. I would have saved a bit if I would have added the luggage on when I bought the ticket online. But that is still extra money that I didn’t account for when I booked my flight.

When all is said and done I probably could have flown one non-budget airline for the entire trip that has free checked luggage (like Bangkok Airways which I took from Phuket to Ko Samui or Thai Airways which I took from Surat Thani to Bangkok) and paid about the same. And much less hassle with a higher quality service. The staff for both Bangkok and Thai airways were amazing.

So don’t make this mistake when booking flights in Asia.

1. If flying a budget airline in Asia with a bag over 7kg add the luggage on when you book the flight online. It will be more expensive at the counter. Even if your bag is carry on size, weigh it to confirm it meets the weight restriction.

2. Try to fly the same airline carrier for all legs of your trip if possible. Then you pay only once for your luggage. Or take a nicer airline that has free checked bags and make sure not to go over their weight limits (20kg for Bangkok, and 30kg for Thai Airways).

Have you ever made this mistake while flying? Tell us about it in the comments!

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