British travellers spend an estimated £340 million ($545 million) on excess baggage fees each year, new research has suggested.

A poll of British holidaymakers, each of whom had been abroad in the last year, revealed that one in five had been caught out by excess baggage charge, with the average fee coming to £56 ($90).

A further 20 per cent admitted to leaving essential items at home to avoid excess baggage fees, while 31 per cent said they had been forced to remove items at the airport to avoid being charged.

A quarter said they spent an average of £31 ($50) on buying new items as a result of under-packing.

The study by the travel website also revealed, on average, Britons attempt to pack four days’ worth of clothes into their hand luggage while an extremely efficient one in ten manage to squeeze a whole week’s worth into their bags.

The research also showed men were more likely to be fined for excess baggage, with 25 per cent going over the luggage limit, compare to 17 per cent of women.

Last summer, a survey of 2,000 women found that eight out of ten female travellers will not get around to wearing everything they have packed and women typically buy two more items of clothing during their holiday. One in ten women admitted to changing clothes seven times a day during their trip, while the average woman will change four times a day.

Last month, Ryanair announced a raft of improvements aimed at enhancing its reputation, including a drop in the charge for checking luggage at the airport from £60 ($96) to £30 ($48) per bag.

In their efforts to keep headline fares down, airlines continue to increase their baggage charges .

Since last year Thomson‘s checked baggage fee has increased from £15 to £22, and easyJet‘s from £14.50 to £18. Charges for carrying an item of overweight hand baggage have soared, from £30 to £50 on Monarch, and from £30 to £40 on Flybe.

A guide to airline baggage fees

If you believe any of these charges are wrong or out of date, please email, and we will update the table.

Airline Hold luggage (per flight) Excess fee Hand luggage (per flight) Excess fee
Aer Lingus £12-20 for 20kg £6 per kg free, 55x40x24, 10kg Hold luggage fee applies
Bmi Regional Included, upto 20kg in economy £10 per kg free, 55x40x23 Hold luggage fee applies
British Airways Included, upto 23kg in economy £40 one-off charge (max 32kg) free, 56x45x25 Hold luggage fee applies
easyJet £8-£18 for 20kg £7-£11 free, 56x45x25 £25-£40
Flybe £13.99-£14.99 (max 20kg) £15 per kg free, 55x40x23, 10kg £40 From £8 for 22kg £12 per kg free, 56x45x25, 10kg Hold luggage fee applies
Monarch £9.99-£21.99 for 20kg £10 up to 3kg; £10 per kg after free, 56x40x25, 10kg £50
Norwegian £15-42 for 20kg £7 per kg free, 55x40x23, 10kg Hold luggage fee applies
Ryanair £15-45 for 15-20kg £20 per kg free, 55x40x20, 10kg £60
Thomas Cook £17-26 for 20kg £8 per kg free, 55x40x20, 5kg £50-70
Thomson £15-25 for 20kg £13-18 per kg free, 55x40x20, 5kg Hold luggage fee applies
Wizz Air £13-30 £9 per kg free up to 42x32x25, 10kg, £8-17 up to 56x45x25, 10kg Hold luggage fee applies

Photo Credit: A woman gets ready to check her bags at Heathrow Airport. Mark Hillary / Flickr