Malaysia Airlines Bans Check-in Baggage on Flights to Europe
In a move that has confounded airline analysts, Malaysia Airlines announced yesterday that no check-in baggage is allowed on its flights to continental Europe.
In a statement on its website, the carrier said “unseasonably strong headwinds” were limiting the amount of baggage its flights could handle.
“This longer flight path consumes more jet fuel and for safety reasons, Malaysia Airlines has had to impose temporary limitation on checked-in baggage allowance,” it said.
“Passengers who wish to check in their luggage will be able to do so, however their baggage will only arrive later.”
The airline advised economy passengers only to carry 7kg of hand luggage and first-class and business-class customers to limit themselves to 14kg of hand luggage.
Malaysia Airlines told AFP that they had no choice but to take these steps because “safety is our utmost priority” and the restrictions were “based on our risk assessment”.
Making the move even more bizarre is that MAS said the restrictions did not apply to London-bound flights but would affect its two other European destinations, Paris and Amsterdam.
It is not clear whether the move is intended as a security measure or to save fuel. My Savvy Traveller knows of no other Southeast Asian carrier that has imposed the same measures.
The money-losing flag carrier is still reeling over the loss of two aircraft in 2014 - one blown out of the sky over eastern Ukraine and another lost over the west coast of Australia in very mysterious circumstances.
Editor's note: At approximately 05:15GMT on Jan 6 the airline issued the following statement on its Facebook page:
Malaysia Airlines confirmed today that normal check-in baggage allowances are available on all flights across the network including services to Amsterdam, London and Paris. The airline has recently had to operate a longer route to Europe, which combined with strong head winds, limited the airlines' ability to carry baggage and cargo. The head winds over the last four days were in excess of 200knots which can add up to 15% fuel burn on a B777-200 aircraft. All baggage is being shipped to affected customers in Europe. Based on its current risk assessment, done on a daily basis, the airline is now able to take a shorter route on European flights. Malaysia Airlines maintains that safety is of utmost priority in its operations and will not hesitate to adjust its flight path based on its daily risk assessment.