I am looking for a flight search engine that includes a luggage calculator in the price. I recently booked a trip and had the choice between two carriers at the time, and not feeling very stupid I chose the cheaper one.

The crux is that after I had paid I found out that the more expensive airline had vastly different rules for baggage. In fact it allowed twice the amount of baggage without extra charge.

After having found the price for extra luggage very extreme I had already decided I will send the extra baggage as separate freight, because the speed is not important. But of course had I known this from the start I could have saved myself a lot of work and money.

I am aware that this information can be found on respective carrier website, but even within a single company it can differ from route to route. Would be handy if I didn't have to try and calculate it all myself.

So my question is simply, is there any flight search engine/price comparison site where I can also enter my total baggage needs to have it included in the price comparison between carriers?

  • International intercontinental, short-range, domestic (which routes)? Only for 0-1 checked bags? (fees for 2nd checked bag can be higher) listing weight limit for checked bag? (these can vary a lot, by ticket class and route). Also for 1 carry-on baggage? (yes some low-budget airlines charge for that too, and/or impose severe size and weight limits, depending on class of ticket) – smci 37 mins ago

Sort of. You could use FlightFox which allows you to specify your terms (date, cities, etc) and one of the options is whether or not you have baggage. It's up to the experts on the site then to find you the cheapest WITH baggage.

I did this recently for several flights around NZ/Aus, where there are airlines like Virgin or Jetstar, all of whom charge extra for baggage, so look cheap at first. Each of the experts that submitted flights to me all correctly took this into account, and specified that they'd done so. So it seems pretty reliable. Of course, being done by humans and not computer, caveat emptor and all that, you should still double check yourself.

note - around this time I actually joined Flightfox as an expert 'flight hunter'.

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    Well then, FlightFox it is! I need to remember to remember to post a new answer to this in the future when someone does include this feature in a regular search engine heh :D – Alendri Oct 3 '12 at 18:52
  • Did you use to work for FlightFox? – Andrew Grimm Aug 6 '17 at 23:12
  • @AndrewGrimm ages ago, yes, as one of their 'experts'. Take this to Travel Chat though if you want to ask more :) – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Aug 7 '17 at 6:19

This question is five years old, so the "state of the art" may have advanced significantly for lots of engines, but I've noticed that at least Kayak allows you to specify how much baggage you have. Unfortunately, it doesn't mention in-flight meals, which is another way they can slug you.

Example link to a query

Note: As of 2019 this feature works on Kayak.com, but not on some of their other international sites.

enter image description here

  • Fee Calculator shows only Payment fees, not Baggage fees, for me. – gerrit Nov 14 '17 at 19:19
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    @gerrit this no longer works on the Australian website, but works on the .com version. Weirdly in July 2017 it worked on the Australian site, but not on the American one :) – JonathanReez Supports Monica Apr 4 at 19:08
  • I'm trying the .com version right now, from Korea. While it looks like it works, when I actually get to the site and select my luggage needs and enter stuff into all the compulsory fields, I finally find out the actual price is still about double the price the Kayak told me it found )-: – hippietrail Aug 15 at 12:19

Maybe not exactly what you asked for, but makes searching a little easier: on Fareboom when you go into details of a specific result, you can click and have it show something like: Free Baggage: 20 kg

Doesn't allow to enter your luggage mass in the search form, but at least you don't have to visit each carrier website to find out.

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    Fareboom was new to me, so I tried it. The form asks for "city or country" but if I put in Spain to USA, the pop-up is "please select a valid airport or city." Put in two airports, maximum radius, and month of June, and I get "those airports don't qualify for the whole month option." – WGroleau May 11 '16 at 11:39
  • @WGroleau: so just select sample cities like MAD-JFK or whatever, as a guideline, to see the numbers. – smci 32 mins ago

tl;dr: no such thing.

I'd like to be able to enter into a search engine whether or not I plan to bring a carry-on

Carry-on policies change all the time (I gave you three airlines changing within two weeks of writing of this answer). You would need a crew constantly being on top of every airline you can search for. For added fun, you'd need to surface priority fares because they very well might be cheaper than buying this or that alone -- or sometimes there's just no other way to have this or that except by going priority, personal items especially. The existing enormous computational complexity of putting together routes now gets even more complicated.

Not to mention that people might adapt. Say, Wizz's previous policy required you to pay for a large cabin bag. Maybe you reconsidered what you planned to pack when you saw that but how would the search engine ask you whether you really want to bring that item on board? Yes, in my dreams I would be able to enter all my viable bag combination and let the engine do the work... this is not feasible.

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    It more sense to have a company keep track of all those changes than to have every individual air traveler trying to do it. The economy of scale suggests the potential viability of a business model there because by centralizing the research, the business can lower the total search costs faced by society / air travelers collectively, and pocket some of those savings as a profit. – WBT Nov 12 '17 at 4:33
  • Problem is, you can't start this business small. You need to create the database I mentioned and you are entering into an already crowded market. Even if this would be a superior product, the risk is enormous and the potential uptake is not so much. – chx Nov 12 '17 at 9:45
  • An existing company already offering related services could start this up, to help crowd out competitors. That'd make the most sense on the feature/product/company analysis. – WBT Nov 12 '17 at 22:19
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    I still think no company wants this sort of tedium. I do not know whether the competitive advantage would be enough. – chx Nov 12 '17 at 22:46
  • If no company wants this sort of tedium, (potential) customers want it even less. Lots of companies are built by one person or a small team volunteering to do something that a much larger number of people also don't want to do, capturing value from the reduction in the total number of people who'd have to do it. – WBT Nov 13 '17 at 20:37

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