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It seems that it is common that the baggage allowance on flights to Brazil is more generous (both in number of pieces and weight) than to other countries. In fact many airlines, have a specific exception to their general rules for Brazil. Examples:

I've heard a rumor, that this may be related to international treaties, but I'm not sure. Does anyone know the answer?

Related question: Why is TAM Airlines baggage allowance so much? [closed]

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Several Google hits agree that this allowance is a requirement of the Brazilian government, either by treaty or unilaterally. In principle you could probably find it in Brazil's equivalent of the Federal Register; I didn't try since I can't read Portuguese. –  Nate Eldredge Jun 6 '13 at 14:19
    
US Airways has the same policy also -- I noticed it on a sign at the airport when checking in for a flight last week. First two bags free if going to Brazil, and much less charged for additional bags. Same policy for transpacific flights (except high charger for 3rd and 4th bags). For transatlantic and rest of North/South America/Caribbean they charge for 1st bag on up. –  tcrosley Jun 6 '13 at 22:06

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Evidently it's a ANAC (National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil) regulation. From KLM's website:

For tickets whose itinerary originates in Brazil (for both the outbound and inbound journeys), the Civil Aviation Authority Agency (ANAC) determines that for each adult passenger, the free bagagge allowance consists of 2 pieces* of max. weight of 32kgs (70 lbs) each. The sum of the 3 dimensions of each piece cannot exceed 158 cm (62 in.) and the sum of the dimentions of both pieces cannot exceed 273 cm (107 in.).

As to why this is, there's speculation that it allows more people to shop both in Brazil and overseas and bring stuff back to Brazil / take it from Brazil - meaning more tax can be charged on these items. But that's just speculation.

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For those that can read Portuguese, ANAC's travel tips pamphlet has the rules: www2.anac.gov.br/dicasanac/pdf/novo/anac_panfleto_bagagem.pdf Summary: 2x32kg on the "piece system" or 20kg total in economy class on the "weight system". New rules are being proposed that are supposed to clarify the old rules, but the look pretty similar: anac.gov.br/noticia.aspx?ttcd_chave=934 –  user27478 Jun 13 '13 at 10:26
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I suppose the additional tax that could be raised on luggage might be an incentive, but after living in Brazil for three years, I think it has more to do with the Brazilian government meddling in anything it can especially when it involves giving people (or consumers) "rights". I mean they have enshrined in their constitution that female prisoners with children must be allowed to breast feed their babies! –  user27478 Jun 13 '13 at 10:31
    
Yeah I did wonder about whether it was a civil liberties type of thing, but couldn't find anything to back that theory up. Thanks for the links! –  Mark Mayo Jun 13 '13 at 10:39

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