Every Christmas, travellers run the risk of getting caught out with excess baggage charges and penalty rates that can potentially add hundreds of dollars to the cost of your air travel.
Across all airlines, the amount of baggage you can check in or carry on for your flight varies depending on your fare inclusions, cabin class and any memberships you may have.
Flight Centre's Tom Walley says airlines are cracking down on excess baggage so double checking your allowances ahead of time can potentially save you hundreds of dollars in overweight or excess baggage charges at the airport.
"Airlines are pretty strict with checked luggage allowances and in recent months we've seen a big crack down on carry-on baggage too so we're urging travellers to take note of their inclusions, including cabin bag weight and size restrictions," he said.
Baggage allowances and policies vary widely and if you don’t comply the extra costs can be significant, particularly if you don’t pre-purchase.
"An extra 5kgs of luggage to check in on a domestic flight will end up costing you $30 with Qantas, $75 with Jetstar and up to $125 with Tiger so be sure to carefully pack and weigh your bags before you get to the airport to ensure you don't get stung," Mr Walley suggests.
Find out about Jetstar's baggage allowance cuts. Jetstar Cutting Baggage - What You Need To Know
Want help avoiding excess baggage fees? Ten Tips On How To Send Excess Baggage Fees Packing
If you know your bag is going to be overweight - jam packed with Christmas presents no doubt - the Flight Centre team suggests biting the bullet and pre-purchasing additional baggage.
"One pre-paid additional bag on a Virgin domestic flight will cost you $35 but wait until you check-in at the airport and you'll pay $70," Mr Walley said.
For more information be sure to check your itinerary for all inclusions or have a chat to your travel consultant.
|Airline||Carry-on allowance||Checked baggage allowance*||Pre-paid additional baggage charges||Penalty rate at the airport|
|Qantas||7kgs per piece2 x 105cm bags or;1 x 105cm bag plus 1 x 185cm non rigid garment bag or;1 x 115cm bag||Economy – 1 x 23kgs
Business – 2 x 32kgs eachQantas Club members and Frequent Flyers are entitled to additional allowances.
|$30 per piece||$40 for first extra piece
$60 for the second and subsequent extra pieces$30 heavy charge for each piece weighing over 23kgs.
|Virgin||One pieces or two small pieces total with combined total weight no more than 7kgs||Saver Lite – no baggage includedSaver – 1 x 23kgs
Flexi – 23kgsBusiness – 2 x 32kgs eachSilver, Gold and Platinum Velocity members are entitled to complementary additional allowances.
|$35 for each additional piece of $70 for two additional pieces.||$70 for one additional piece and $90 for second additional piece.|
One main item of carry-on baggage and one other small item with a combined weight of up to 7kgs in economy class.
Any passengers who made their flight booking before 28th October 2014may bring up to 10kg (except passengers travelling domestically in Vietnam on Jetstar Pacific (BL), whose weight limit remains at 7kg).
|Business class passengers are automatically given a 30kg checked baggage allowance. Economy Starter, Starter Plus and Starter Max passengers can select from a 15kg, 20kg, 25kg, 30kg, 35kg or 40kg baggage allowance which must be pre-paid.||To bring checked baggage all Economy Starter, Starter Plus and Starter Max passengers must purchase baggage allowance. You must pre- purchase a 15kg, 20kg, 25kg, 30kg, 35kg or 40kg baggage allowance.||If you haven’t pre-purchased baggage, the cost is $50 for first 15kg and then for every additional kilo after that.For pre-purchased baggage that exceeds weight allocation, the excess baggage fee for domestic travel is $15 per kilo over.|
|Tiger||Two pieces not exceeding combined weight of 10kgs per person not exceeding 54cmx38cm x23cm||15kgs total.||$70 per 15kgs for flights with less than 1.45hrs flight time$85 per 15kgs for flights with more than 1.45hrs flight time||$20 per kilo for excess baggage for flights less than 1.45hr flight time$25 per kilo for excess baggage for flights more than 1.45hr flight time|