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Australian airlines hand luggage offers compared

The excitement of a holiday can come quickly crashing down when unprepared travellers check-in at the airport to learn they’ve over-packed.


An overweight and over-sized carry-on baggage could set a traveller back with an exorbitant fee, as well as a painful check-in experience.

The hefty prices are typically increased by budget airlines, who cut customer service for cheaper tickets to begin with. 

Here Daily Mail Australia explores Australia’s major airlines and their restrictions on hand luggage. 

The national carrier arguably has one of the best deals when it comes to both carry on and checked in luggage. 

For a domestic flight across Australia, Qantas flyers can enjoy 14kg in hand luggage, with one bag a maximum of 10kg.  

On an international flight, seven kilograms can be stowed in the overhead compartment, on top of the 30kg of checked baggage. 

Qantas says excess baggage charges will apply at the airport for any baggage that exceeds the allowance.

For travel within Australia, Qantas charges $90 for every extra piece as well as a $50 heavy charge for each piece weighing over 23kg.

However, for those travelling internationally the prices range from $20 per kilogram the luggage is over, up to $80 per kilogram.

For those travelling from Australia to America, an extra bag at the airport costs $185, as well as a $75 heavy charge. 

Jetstar, Qantas’ sister airline, is renown for cheap tickets to desirable holiday destinations but struggles to meet baggage demands.  

The low-cost carrier allows seven kilograms in carry on, with a maximum of two pieces. 

Jetstar recommends paying $30 for an additional three kilograms online if travellers are worried they’ll weigh over the maximum hand luggage amount.

The budget airline is known for strictly enforcing their kilogram and bag size limits, which cannot exceed 56x36x23cm.

In terms of checked-in luggage, the flexibility is determined at Jetstar’s checkout when travellers first pay their fares. 

‘The cheapest and fastest way to buy checked baggage is when you book,’ the Jetstar website says.

Without a ticket bundle that includes checked baggage, flyers can expect to pay $60 for their luggage. 

For those flying within Australia, every kilogram above the allowed 15kg checked in at the airport costs an extra $15. 

Tigerair allows flyers to board with one main item and one small item for cabin baggage.

The main bag must not exceed 54x38x23cm and the two combined items cannot weight over seven kilograms.

The low-cost airline says the secondary small item could be a handbag, coat, book, tablet or umbrella. 

If the luggage weighs over seven kilograms, Tigerair will check-in the luggage and burn a hole in the traveller’s pocket in the process.    

A checked-in bag with Tigerair costs $75 for a short flight, under 1 hour 45 minutes, and $90 for a longer journey.

If the 15kg check-in limit is exceeded, an additional $20 per kg is required. 

For short flights, every kilogram over the allowed checked luggage costs $20, and for flights over 1 hour 45 minutes it costs $25. 

For economy flyers taking to the skies with Virgin, a seven kilogram limit for hand luggage is also enforced.

For one bag, the dimensions are 56x36x23cm while two smaller bags must fit be no bigger than 48x34x23cm.  

Virgin allows one ‘personal’ item on top of the seven kilograms, which could include a laptop, book, blanket, coat, umbrella or a camera.   

The airline says carry-on that exceeds the limit ‘pose a safety risk’.  

‘These items are not permitted in the aircraft cabin and will need to be checked into the aircraft’s hold by our team at the boarding gate,’ Virgin’s website says.

‘Shortly after arrival these items will be available for collection at the baggage carousel in the arrivals hall. Additional charges may apply.’

Virgin recommends purchasing additional checked luggage if flyers are fearful they’ll go over. 

Charges will apply at the airport for any pieces in excess of pre-purchased or included baggage allowances, with fees charging for each additional piece, per one-way journey.

The first additional 23kg piece costs $70, the second costs $90 and every additional bag after that costs $150.

If a bag is overweight there is also an overweight fee of $45. 

International carriers Emirates, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Air Asia all impose a seven kilogram limit for carry on luggage.

In terms of the international flights with the above airlines, it’s expected that most travellers will have check-in luggage within their tickets. 

By comparison, Singapore Airline’s low-cost carrier, Scoot, allows 10kg carry on with a maximum of two pieces. 

Almost all of the airlines examined encourage travellers to plan ahead and purchase additional baggage if they’re fearful they’ll go beyond the allowance.  

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