Avoid hefty excess baggage charges – know the weight and size limits

As airlines and airports struggle to keep up with the increased demand for air travel, hand luggage is gaining popularity over checked baggage due to passengers’ worries of delayed, damaged, and lost checked-in bags. While some airlines are generous with their hand-carry allowances, others are not so. How do Australian carriers compare?


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The low-cost carrier allows two carry-on bags (one standard bag and a smaller personal item) for economy passengers as long as the combined weight is 15 lbs (7 kg) or less. The larger bag must be smaller than 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm), and the smaller one must fit under the seat in front of you.

The business class allowance is double: two items with a maximum combined weight of 30 lbs (14 kg). The dimensions of both bags must not exceed that of the larger bag permitted in economy class.


Qantas Airbus A380

Photo: Ryan Fletcher/Shutterstock

The Australian flag carrier has a slightly more generous hand-carry allowance than Jetstar, with one larger bag at a 22-lb (10-kg) maximum plus a smaller item with a total weight of no more than 30 lbs (14 kg) in either of the following combinations:

  • One bag up to 22 lbs (10 kg) and 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm), or
  • Two bags at 19 x 13 x 9 inches (48 x 34 x 23 cm) each, up to 30 lbs (14 kg) combined

The above applies to all classes on both international and domestic routes, except for domestic flights operated on the De Havilland Canada Dash 8 and economy ticket flights from India, on which only one piece of up to 15 lbs (7 kg) is allowed. You can only bring one piece not more than 22 lbs (10 kg) in business class from India.

Virgin Australia

Airbus A320 Virgin Australia

Photo: Virgin Australia

The carry-on baggage allowances on Virgin Australia flights depend on the ticket class you hold. Economy and Economy X passengers are allowed one 15-lb (7kg) bag (the same size as allowed on Qantas flights) and a personal item that fits under the seat. Alternatively, you can bring two small pieces with a maximum combined weight of 15 lbs (7 kg).

For business class guests and Velocity Gold or Platinum members, you can have one 15-lb (7-kg) standard piece or two small bags with you, up to 15 lbs (7 kg) each, plus one personal item. All guests traveling on Fokker 100 regional jets or Alliance Airlines flights, no matter ticket class, receive the same allowances as economy guests.

To be on the safe side

Luggage and Aircraft in Background Shutterstock

Photo: ImYanis/Shutterstock

From the weight and size to the number of bags permitted, hand luggage allowances vary from airline to airline and depend on your ticket class, fare type, and route flown – interlining flights could also have different allowances. As such, it’s always best to check the finer details with your carrier of choice to avoid hefty excess charges.

If you wish to carry bulkier items that don’t fit within the permitted dimensions in the cabin – like musical instruments – you should contact the airline beforehand to make the necessary arrangements. Otherwise, you may be forced to check in the item.

Source: simpleflying.com

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