Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Karlsruhe-Baden airport tips

I recently flew out of Karlsruhe-Baden airport for the first time and have a few tips to share.

While living in Europe for one year, I've flown Ryanair nine times. I've never experienced such strict adherence to Ryanair policies as I did in Karlsruhe-Baden, so BE CAREFUL. This was my first trip to Germany, so I learned that Germans are very organized and thorough people; I should have known they'd be following rules with great precision.

Carry-on luggage:
Know your airline's policy on weight restrictions. Please note: that means NOT ONLY your carry-on bag, but also your PURSE or any GIFT BAG you try to carry on. The airport has stationed a woman with a scale at the security entrance. (You might think you're in the clear when your bags don't get weighed at the ticket counter, but they have this sneak-attack approach.) She weighs every carry-on bag TOGETHER -- including purses and gift bags -- to see if customers were going over the 10-kilo maximum on Ryanair for carry-on baggage. Many people, including me, got turned back. To make matters worse, 10 kilo is the max. Period. They won't let you pay to take the few extra kilos into the cabin. I tried to stuff my pockets, but with my purse, I was still three kilos over (due to two beer steins I bought and tried to carry on with my purse). I'd always thought the carry-on allowance included ONLY the bag -- not my purse. I've never had a Ryanair worker or security attendant in Ireland, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain or Czech Republic try to include my purse as part of my carry-on weight allowance.

Checked luggage:
If you think you are going to purchase gifts and be over on your allowance and you didn't pay for a checked bag, go ahead and check a bag online. Don't try to risk it at this airport. I was forced to check my carry-on bag (due to the weight of my purse and gift bag), and it cost me 20 euros -- because I didn't pay online in advance -- THAT IS DOUBLE THE PRICE FOR ONLINE!! Basically, I paid 20 euros to check a bag with six kilos of weight, when the allowance for a checked bag is 15 kilos. A waste.

Based on my experience, this isn't an airport with which budget travelers should try to bend the rules. They even charged me for accidentally booking online check-in. (In Dubin, the check-in attendant didn't even notice.)

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