Travel to USA on H4 Visa : Tips for managing your Check in Baggage

 

It was a sunny Friday morning. A dear friend of mine asked me how much baggage was allowed while coming to the U.S. A very critical question, indeed. I remember before getting married and flying to the USA, there was not a  single day that passed without a discussion on the allowed baggage aboard.

Why is it important to know the baggage limits?

You must know how much to stuff your bags with! This is important for

  1. shopping accordingly, and
  2. classifying your needs into ‘what I DO need’ and ‘what i can do without’

If you know the maximum allowable baggage limits in advance you will pack diligently and avoid unloading,reshuffling, or paying for an extra bag on the airport. 

Tips to deal with baggage related issues

  1. Always pack your bags within weight limits.
  2. Measure your bags at home on a weight scale. Remember this may not be as accurate as the one at the airport so try to be a few kilograms/pounds within the weight limit.
  3. If one of your bags weighs above the allowable limit and the other has space quickly reshuffle some of the stuff so that both bags weigh evenly and you do not pay for extra weight.
  4. If you do have extra weight politely ask the officials to give you a complimentary package. If they refuse, just pay for it if you do not want to leave it behind!
  5. Excess baggage charges will be collected at the check in counter. Keep enough currency to make this payment.
  6. All this takes time and you do not want to get late for security check and boarding. So hurry hurry hurry!

Examples of Baggage Limits

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) sets certain guidelines for baggage size and specifications. Most airlines vary the requirements according to their policy. Checked Baggage regulations are also based on what class you are travelling in and on the destination. Local baggage limits are very different from that allowed on international flights. Following are some examples of check-in baggage limits of various airlines, for traveling to the U.S. Economy Class only!!

  1. Jet Airways 2 pieces only weighing 23 kgs each.The sum of 3 dimensions (H+W+L) must not exceed 158 cm (62 inches) for each bag.You can find more infomation on www.jetairways.com (Product & Services > On Ground Services > Baggage Information)
  2. Cathay Pacific Airlines Economy Class 23kg (50lbs) per bag (with maximum of 2 bags). The dimensions are 158 cms (62in). You can find more information on http://www.cathaypacific.com/cpa/en_INTL/helpingyoutravel/baggageinformation

Baggage related information keeps changing frequently. Please confirm the maximum baggage allowance before you travel.

Traveling from India to the U.S.

Jet Airways and Cathay Pacific are not the only options. There are many international carriers. Continental Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Gulf International Air,Emirates, etc can be good options. The criteria should be ‘cheapest’ with ‘maximum allowable luggage’ and ‘least travel time’. Now you cannot have the cake and keep it too, so try to strike an optimal balance. 

Travel on H4 Visa: The last tip

To sum up “travel smart, travel cheap, but travel comfortable!” Make sure that you do not have any irritants (liquids,sharp items, metal items) in your hand-bags, and your checked- in baggage is within the allowed limits, and you are all set. We ended up having my perfume bottle and a flashlight confiscated and never returned, but you can be careful…:) It was my mistake. Have a nice trip!

 

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