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I have a ticket booked with Air Canada YYZ - ZRH - NAP. First leg is Air Canada, second is Swiss Air.

Air Canada's carry-on weight policy is refreshingly "must be light enough that you can store it in the overhead bin unassisted". Swiss Air says max 8KG, strictly enforced at the gate.

CTA 144-A-2014's interpretation note says in section 4.2 that the rules apply to carry-on, while 4.4.1 notes that "a single set of baggage allowances for carry-on baggage would not be practical" and "once a carrier’s baggage rules has been selected to apply to the passenger’s entire itinerary, that carrier’s baggage charges should not differ from flight to flight. Further, the passenger should not be charged an additional sum if the passenger’s carry-on baggage cannot be accommodated in-cabin (due to weight, size, etc.) and it must be checked instead."

It seems like Swiss Air will force any carry-on over 8KG to checked and want to charge extra, while CTA 144-A-2014 seems to suggest they should not charge more. I called Air Canada and the person I spoke with thought I might have to pay to check the carry-on Air Canada might reimburse me, but the agent seemed unsure. I called Swiss Air, and they said carry-on over 8KG likely would be ok, based on CTA 144-A2014, but the agent at the gate would have final say.

What will actually happen in this situation? Or, happened in your experience?

  • I think the key words here would be "... that carrier’s baggage charges...". So AC can't charge more, but Swiss is a different carrier, so the way I read it that paragraph wouldn't apply. – Doc Aug 23 at 5:42
  • YMMV, and I don't fly Swiss very often, but I can't recall my carry-on luggage's size or weight ever being checked. – jpatokal Aug 23 at 7:06
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    @jpatokal: Lufthansa group (LH, OS, Swiss) have recently become much more thorough about weighing bags. Mine got weighed in about 25% of all flights this year. It typically happens at check-in/security, so transfer is probably not as bad. Status doesn't help: I was flying from HKG->ZRH on Y but checked in at the first class counter since I have Star Alliance Gold . I still got yelled for being at 8.5 kg. Taking my coat out of the bag solved it, but still – Hilmar Aug 23 at 13:28
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    @Doc, I can see it might be read that way, but that would seem to negate the purpose of CTA 144-a-2014! should not be charged an additional sum only makes sense to me in the context of a subsequent carrier on the same ticket; "additional" being compared to the original carrier's charges. ? – Nathan Kidd Aug 23 at 14:35
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The gate agents at ZRH will be blissfully unaware of any CTA rules and will not care about them in the least. They will apply the LX carry-on policies that you have discovered.

Note, though, that enforcement isn't uniform. It depends on the aircraft used and flight load. I've both seen people getting away with very large and heavy carry-ons, and at other times gate agents using scales and frames to diligently enforce the policy.

Should LX agents indeed force you to check your bag and make you pay for it, you can always take it up with AC to reimburse you. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

  • Actual experience: LX randomly decided one bag was "too big" without checking it would fit in the sizing thing (it would have) and forced it to checked luggage at no cost (except wasting our time waiting for baggage in the pretty horrible NAP). (There were no weighscales at the gate in ZRH). LH just let us on, but they did have several employees at the gate eyeing up luggage and I saw some people forced to weigh and re-arrange weight. So I can't say anything about CTA-144A specifically, but your assessment of default agent behaviour being "it depends" seems accurate. – Nathan Kidd Oct 10 at 0:33

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