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To Check, or Not to Check? The Pros and Cons of Checking Bags for Business Travel

Let’s face it. You didn’t get to where you are in your career because you shy away from the tough decisions. From making the right hire to choosing which vendors and suppliers to use, you’ve got it down to a science. When it comes to whether to check a bag on your upcoming business trip, however, you find yourself vacillating on variables and mulling over minutiae. If you are a seasoned traveler, you may already have a routine, but for infrequent business travelers, here are some of the ups and downs of checked baggage.


“Or” Becomes “And” – The obvious upside to checking a bag is that you don’t have to pack as carefully. Since most airlines allow checked bags up to 50 pounds in economy and up to 70 pounds in business and first class, you can avoid having to choose between shoes or winnowing the wardrobe and that small set of hand weights. Keep in mind, however, that airlines impose a hefty fee for bags that exceed these weight limits. It’s always a good idea to refer to your airline’s policies before packing and weigh your bags before leaving for the airport.

Manic About Maintenance? – From toothpaste to creams, gels, lotions and liquids, there are strict limits on what is allowed in a carry-on bag. Per TSA regulation, you are allowed a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag. Each item must be 3.4 ounces or less. If your morning routine also provides a boost to Unilever stock, you may want to consider checking a bag to avoiding having to purchase these items at your destination, or being limited to the complimentary products provided by your hotel.

Avoid the Space Race – Overhead storage space is limited on flights and it goes on a first come, first served basis. Because many company’s travel policies mandate economy bookings on flights, you may find yourself well down the list on the boarding call and limited as to where you’ll be able to stow your bag. There’s nothing like waiting for an entire plane to empty so you can retrieve your bag above 49D.


Lost Time at the Carousel – You probably know the feelings of anticipation and eventual relief as your bag finally makes its appearance on the baggage carousel. Next comes the challenge of maneuvering through the crowd of three deep to lay claim to it and make your way out of the airport. This can consume valuable time that can be better spent on almost anything else. With just a carry-on bag, you’re free to bypass this whole scene and make your way to your ground transportation.

My Bag is Where? – If you travel enough, it’s going to happen. A missed connection, a delayed or cancelled flight or an error in processing can have you and your luggage separated for a few hours, or up to a day or longer. Carrying it all with you ensures that you are never separated from what you need and ready to focus on the business you came for.

Safe and Secure – You’ve most likely watched the baggage carousel and have seen the occasional open bag or broken suitcase. As much as you may want to believe that your checked bag is handled gingerly, we all know that they can be jostled and tossed as hurried handlers race to meet demanding flight schedules. Keeping your bag with you keeps it–and its contents–where they belong.

Tailor your decision to your specific travel situation. If you’re spending five days at a tradeshow, you might want to check your luggage. If you’re doing just a quick overnight trip, carry-ons make more sense. There is no true right or wrong answer.


By: Denise D.

Tags :air travelbaggage feesbusiness traveltravel

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