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October 31

Travelling Tips to Avoid Unexpected Costs with Airline Companies

Posted by on October 31, 2014 at 8:35 AM

Travelling Tips to Avoid Unexpected Costs with Airline CompaniesMany of you may be travelling nationally or internationally during this year’s festive period. If you are treating the family, or planning on visiting family and friends, be sure that new changes made within the airline industry’s policies don’t sting you.

Policies are constantly being changed to either make travelling more efficient, or to boost the income of those travel providers, which is why I want to bring these airline changes to your attention, so I can empower you to be in control of what you get charged for. Especially when flying, any minor increments regarding weight in your luggage can come with some hefty charges. Find a full break down below of all major airlines, their luggage allowances and their charges for exceeding them.

 

To put things into perspective, buying a cheap flight ticket isn’t a good deal if you don’t know that companies luggage allowances, and as a result get charged more than the cost of the flight for extras. I myself have had this happen to me recently during a trip around Europe. I paid €60 for two short haul flights to the UK, but could not print the boarding pass. As a result, I was charged €140 to have the company print my boarding passes for me. I was livid as I’m sure anyone would be.

Companies known for charging for checked baggage on domestic sectors are the likes of Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Tiger, QantasLink and Rex. But how can you avoid them? Regardless of low ticket prices, these companies will usually have expensive baggage policies. For example, if you arrive with more than one hand luggage case and do not make payment in advance, you will be charged a high premium for the privilege.

So no matter which airline you fly with, there are a few basic principles that apply to all.

  1. The cheapest way to fly is with only hand luggage. Most airlines will charge you for checking in any other baggage, which goes into the hold, along with an admin fee. So if you can take only hand luggage, try and do so. This will also benefit you when leaving arrivals at the other end, because you have your case and can simply walk straight out. Also be sure to bear in mind the airlines size allowances for hand luggage, slightly over the weight limit is usually over looked by staff, but cases which are too big will be charged and put it into the hold.
  2. If you want suitcases checked into the hold, make sure you book at the time of buying your ticket. Rates for booking baggage onto flights at the airport rather than in advance online will be significantly higher. A good practice is to work out exactly what you will need and pay for it up front.

So for each carrier I have outlined what their domestic hand luggage policy is, what free allowances you can have and how their luggage fees are calculated when booking in advance online or at the airport. You will never get away with a bag weighing more than 32kg because of the OH&S rules. The limit is usually set at 20kg across the industry, so try to aim for this weight.

International flights policies are much more varied, due to complications such as transit between different airlines etc, so to cover all of them here would be too much. So we will look at all the domestic flights and their policies.

Most airlines require the same dimensions for hand luggage cases: 48cm by 34cm by 23cm. Some airlines will also allow a second thing to be carried such as a shopping bag, laptop or handbag, but make sure you check this before hand, otherwise you will most likely be forced to pay for one of the bags to go into the hold. Regional airlines will usually have tighter rules because of smaller aircraft.

 

Qantas

Travelling Tips to Avoid Unexpected Costs with Airline CompaniesHand luggage Rules

  • 2 items per person, up to combined weight of 7kg

Free checked baggage allowance

  • Standard: One item up to 23kg
  • Business class: 2 pieces up to 32kg combined weight
  • Qantas Club member: 1 item up to 32kg
  • Gold frequent flyer: 2 pieces up to 23kg each
  • Platinum frequent flyer: 2 pieces up to 32kg each

Baggage Fees booking in Advance

  • $30 per piece (maximum 2 pieces, no more than 23kg each)
  • Qantas Club members, Gold and Platinum frequent flyers can have 32kg each

Baggage Fees booking at Airport

  • $40 for first piece
  • $60 for second piece
  • $30 “heavy charge” per item over 23kg

 

Virgin Australia

Travelling Tips to Avoid Unexpected Costs with Airline CompaniesHand Luggage Rules

  • 2 pieces with combined total weight up to 7kg

Free Checked Baggage Allowance

  • None on Savers Fare Lite
  • Saver or Flexi Fares: 1 piece up to 23kg
  • Business Class: 2 pieces up to 32kg each
  • Silver / Gold frequent flyers: 1 piece free up to 23kg on Saver Lite tickets
  • Silver / Gold frequent flyers: 2 pieces free up to 23kg combined total on other tickets
  • Platinum frequent flyers: 2 pieces up to 32kg each on Saver Lite tickets
  • Platinum frequent flyers: 3 pieces up to 32kg each on other tickets

Baggage Fees Booking in Advance

  • $35 for one piece
  • $70 for two pieces
  • All luggage must be up to 23kg
  • Gold / Platinum / Business: up to 32kg

Baggage Fees at the Airport

  • $70 for first bag
  • $90 for second bag
  • $150 each additional bag (maximum 9)
  • $70 additional charge per bag if overweight limits

 

Jetstar

Travelling Tips to Avoid Unexpected Costs with Airline CompaniesHand Luggage Allowance

  • 2 items allowed with combined weight of 10kg
  • Business class: 3 items up to 20kg total (No individual item more than 10kg)

Free Checked Baggage Allowance

  • Zero on starter tickets
  • Starter Max: up to 20kg
  • Business class: up to 30kg

(Note: Jetstart do not allow connections on domestic flights, so if you have two flights booked, you will pay luggage charges for both)

Baggage Fees Booking in Advance

  • $19 for 15kg bag on short haul flight
  • $40 for 40kg split over two bags on short haul flights
  • $26 for 15kg bag on long haul flight
  • $45 for 40kg split over two bags on long haul flight

Baggage Fees at the Airport

  • $70 for 15kg bag plus $15 per kg for excess weight

E.g. If you have a bag 5kg heavier than the allowance you will be looking at $15 x 5 = $75, be careful.

 

Tiger

Travelling Tips to Avoid Unexpected Costs with Airline CompaniesHand Baggage Allowance

  • 2 items allowed with combined weight up to 10kg

Free Checked Baggage Allowance

  • None

Baggage Fees Booking in Advance

  • $7.50 for 15kg bag on flights under 1 hour 45 minutes (each additional kg costs $2.50, to maximum of $20 for 40kg
  • $10 for 15kg  on longer flights (each additional 5kg costs $3.50 up to $27 for 40kg)

Baggage Fees at the Airport

  • $70 for a 15kg bag (1 hour 45 minute flight time or less) plus $20 each kg over limit*
  • $85 for 15 kg bag (longer flights) plus $25 each kg over limit*

*All airport baggage fees incur a $5 admin fee.

 

QantasLink

Travelling Tips to Avoid Unexpected Costs with Airline CompaniesHand Luggage

  • 1 bag up to 7kg on Dash 8 aircraft and 2 items total combined weight of 7kg on all other airplanes

Free Checked Baggage

  • One item up to 23kg
  • Business class: 2 bags with total combined weight of 32kg
  • Qantas Club members: 1 bag up to 32kg
  • Gold frequent flyers: 2 bags up to 23kg each
  • Platinum frequent flyers: 2 bags up to 32kg each

Baggage Fees Booking in Advance

  • $30 per item (maximum two items and up to 23kg each)
  • Qantas Club members / Gold / Platinum frequent flyers: up to 32kg each

Baggage Fees at the Airport

  • $40 for one bag up to23kg
  • $60 for second bag up to 23kg
  • $30 “Heavy Charge” per bag over 23kg

 

Rex

Travelling Tips to Avoid Unexpected Costs with Airline CompaniesHand Luggage

  • 2 items up to total combined weight of 7kg

Free Checked Baggage

  • 15kg (maximum linear dimensions up to 140cm)

Baggage Fees Booking in Advance

  • N/A – Rex will asses the weight of bags upon check in

Baggage Fees at the Airport

  • $7.70 per kg over 15kg
  • $16.50 per item exceeding 140 centimetres total linear dimensions

 

Summary

So these companies do not make it easy, I personally think Qantas use 23kg and 32kg to confuse some people who may overlook the numbers too quickly and get slugged by having 10kgs too much in weight. However, we can make observations from the information above that Qantas are certainly the most generous overall, for carry-on, they beat all other airlines, then its Jetstar and Tiger, ending off with Virgin who comes in last.

Tiger and Virgin have by far the most expensive in-airport baggage charges for checked bags. So be careful at the shops before you check in your luggage, that cheap bottle of something could cost you more than its worth in weight. So to truly emphasise how important it is to book your luggage in advance rather than at the airport, see the table below to see how much each airline would cost you to check in a 20kg suitcase.

Airline

Pay Online

Pay at Airport

Qantas

$0

$0

Qantas Link

$0

$0

Rex

N/A

$38.50

Tiger

$10

$175

Jetstar

$19

$145

Virgin

$35

$70

 

At the end of the day, luggage isn’t the only area of costs that you will be exposed too. Additional charges such as tax and other fees do come into play, but these other costs are out of your control. My aim here is to give you all the information available on the costs that you can control, so you can ultimately save money and hopefully have a less stressful time when travelling.


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