I like shoes and clothes (rather a lot, in fact). Ordinarily, this isn’t a problem when moving, especially since my last moves have all been manageable with a car and a U-haul. However, moving across an ocean is an entirely different matter.
In the wake of what I’m sure was some terrorist-related-issue, it appears that airlines flying from the U.S. to Europe have changed their baggage guidelines as of January/February 2010. Formerly, you were allowed two checked bags, plus a carry-on before they started charging you. That number has now decreased to one. ONE measly bag.
My initial investigation into the baggage matter proceeded like so:
- Mother claims there is a two-bag allowance on international flights. I decide to confirm.
- Check LOT website (I’m flying LOT, by the way). Find website supremely unclear. Website includes phrases that do not inspire confidence (“fee level depands on point of sale” [sic]).
- Call LOT directly. Representative says that first bag up to 23 kg (~50 lbs) is free, additional bags (same weight limit) are $64 USD. Ok, that seems reasonable. Relay information to mother.
- Mother does not believe and calls LOT, coming away with this information: first bag (up to 23 kg, as always) is free, 2nd bag is $64 USD, all bags after that are €115 (that’s Euro, folks) + another $25 USD for a service charge. What?! Suddenly not so reasonable.
Now I needed another solution. Thankfully, I’d already been researching shipping options with a company called Polamer. Polamer allows you to ship by air ($11.20 up to 4 lbs., then $2.15/lb after that) or by sea ($10.35 up to 15 lbs, then $0.69/lb after that). So, if you’re shipping a 50 lb bag, it’s $126.10 by air or $57.67 by sea (including an $8.00 service fee).That’s significantly more reasonable than carrying on a third bag. Drawbacks? Shipping by air takes about 2 weeks, and shipping by sea takes 6-8 weeks. The Polamer drop-off locations in the U.S. are slightly limited to places with large Polish populations (Illinois and the NYC area), so if you’re not located in either of those places, you first have to ship your item to them.
As of now, I will be checking two bags, carrying on my travel backpack (and guitar, which I will gate-check if necessary). I plan to bring enough clothing to get me through the end of summer, autumn, and beginning of winter. My heaviest winter clothes and most of my extra shoes, along with toiletry items, will be shipped.
Of course, despite the fact that I am leaving in 3 (!) days, all of this is hypothetical at the moment…