Words by Todd Sturm
One of the considerations that airline passengers must make in preparation for their trip is baggage. From the size and weight, to the number of bags permitted, each airline has its own rules for carry-on and checked luggage.
To prevent being charged for excess, overweight or oversized pieces, flyers should always check the baggage limits for their airline and fare type. This way, there should be no pre-departure surprises at the airport.
On most airlines, the checked baggage allowance is determined by fare type, class of travel, frequent-flyer status and even route flown. In every case, your travel agent will be able to advise you of the precise allowance available.
Qantas permits two pieces of carry-on luggage, provided the maximum weight is less than seven kilograms (both bags can be seven kilograms each when flying domestic) and both bags don't exceed the dimensions of 115cm (international) or 105cm (domestic).
For the checked baggage allowances below, Silver, Gold and Platinum Qantas Frequent Flyer members are permitted additional allowances with greater weights or additional pieces depending on the route flown. Check with your travel agent for details.
Checked bag allowances include one 23-kilogram piece for domestic flights and two 23-kilogram pieces for North America flights. For all other international flights, guests may check multiple bags as long as they are within the combined 30-kilogram limit. Dimensions for each piece must not exceed 140 centimetres (H+W+D).
A Premium Economy cabin is offered on Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 flights. For flights to North and South America, guests may check two pieces with a maximum weight of 23 kilograms for each. International flights to Asia, the Middle East and Europe go by the weight system, with a free 40-kilogram allowance over multiple bags. No single item should exceed the dimensions of 158 centimetres or weigh more than 32 kilograms.
Business Class is available on both domestic and international services. Two bags are allowed on domestic flights with a maximum weight of 32 kilograms per bag. The same 32-kilogram weight limits apply to bags on flights to North and South America, however guests are provided with a three-bag allowance. Flights to all other international destinations are capped at a total of 40 kilograms. Similar to Premium Economy, no piece should exceed the dimensions of 140 centimetres or 32-kilogram weight limit.
The piece system is used for flights to the Americas. Three 32-kilogram bags are permitted with the standard 158-centimetre limit for size. For other international routes, First Class guests may check up to 50 kilograms in total. As always, no single bag may weigh more than 32 kilograms.
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Whether it’s a domestic or international flight, Virgin Australia allows two carry-on items in the cabin provided that the total weight doesn't exceed seven kilograms. Each item should fit within the linear dimensions of 105 centimetres.
The checked baggage allowances shown below do not include the increased limits given to Silver, Gold and Platinum Velocity members.
With the exception of the lowest Saver Lite fares on short-haul international services, every Virgin Australia guest is given an inclusive baggage allowance. Both domestic and international guests enjoy a free allowance of one 23-kilogram bag, even on Saver fares. Any bag that exceeds the dimensions of 140 centimetres will incur an oversized bag fee.
As with Qantas, Premium Economy is available only on long-haul international flights. For Los Angeles flights, the inclusive allowance is two bags with a maximum weight of 32 kilograms for each. For Abu Dhabi services, guests may check multiple bags up to the limit of 32 kilograms.
Business Class is offered on domestic and international services. For domestic, short-haul international and long-haul flights to Los Angeles, guests in Business may check two bags for free, each with a maximum weight of 32 kilograms. Guests flying to Abu Dhabi have a total weight allowance of 40 kilograms. Multiple bags are allowed, however, no one bag may weigh more than 32 kilograms. The maximum linear dimension of each bag must not exceed 140 centimetres.
Jetstar's carry-on bag limits differ for Economy and Business Class. One bag plus one personal item are allowed in Economy, so long as the total weight remains at or under seven kilograms. Guests seated in Business may bring two items with a maximum weight of seven kilograms for each. The maximum dimensions for these bags is H56cm x W36cm x D23cm.
Items found to be too heavy or too large must fly as checked luggage and these items will incur a checked bag fee if not already pre-paid.
Rules around checked baggage differ depending on the fare type. Guests may bring as many bags as they like, provided that the cumulative weight of all bags is within the allowance provided by the fare class travelled on.
For those on an Economy Starter fare, baggage must be purchased for an additional fee. Online fees are cheaper than those paid at the airport ticket counter. The higher Economy Starter Plus fare includes a 20-kilogram checked baggage allowance with the option to purchase an additional 20-kilograms, while Starter Max guests receive a free 30-kilogram allowance with the option to purchase another 10 kilograms.
Business Class passengers have a free checked bag allowance of 30 kilograms. An additional 10 kilograms may be purchased for a small fee. Purchasing additional weight will be cheaper when pre-paid online versus at the ticket counter.
There are two scenarios in which airport baggage fees must be paid – when a carry-on item is found to be too heavy or too large to take on board, or when baggage has not been pre-purchased.
Airport fees for an extra 15-kilogram bag are:
· Domestic Australia – $A50
· Domestic New Zealand – $NZ70
Tigerair permits two carry-on pieces in the cabin with a combined weight of seven kilograms. For an additional fee, passengers may increase that allowance with the Cabin+ option. This handy feature adds another five kilograms on top of the standard carry-on allowance. Size restrictions for each bag are as follows: H54cm; W38cm; D23cm.
Tigerair flights are all Economy class. Light Fares and Express Fares do not include a free baggage allowance, however passengers may add baggage to their booking for an additional fee. The fee varies depending on the weight amount chosen. Pre-purchasing baggage at time of booking on the airline’s website is significantly cheaper than purchasing an allowance at the airport.
Fees for a single 15 kilogram bag are as follows:
· Domestic - $75 for flights under 1 hour and 45 minutes; $90 for longer flights. Weight in excess of this amount is charged at a per kilo rate of $20 for shorter flight times and $25 per kilo for longer flights.
· International - $100 with an excess fee of $30 per kilo over 15kg.