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How does the carry-on luggage limit compare among Aussie airlines?

7 min read
4 Jun 2019
hands grabbing silver suitcase

Qantas has made a slight tweak to their carry-on luggage limits for domestic flights.1 Passengers can now take one 10 kilogram bag and one additional bag up to four kilograms, instead of the previous limit of seven kilograms per bag. The total weight allowed is still 14 kilograms.2

With this change taking effect, what are the domestic carry-on luggage limits for Australia’s other airlines?

Carry-on luggage limits on Australian domestic airlines

Australia’s main airlines that cover domestic destinations, Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin, Tiger Air and Regional Express (Rex), all have different rules for how much weight you’re allowed to carry in total and what size your luggage can be.

We’ve compared the different rules from these airlines in the table below.

AirlineBaggage size rulesWeight of carry-on luggage
QantasOne 56cm by 36cm by 23cm bag item
Two 48cm by 34cm by 23cm items
One 48cm by 34cm by 23cm item and one 60cm by 11cm by 114cm garment bag.
One item up to 10kgs, the second up to 4kgs. Total weight of 14kgs on most domestic flights.
Domestic passengers on a Dash 8 plane have a limit of 7kgs and can only take one 48cm by 34cm by 23cm item.
JetstarOne 56cm by 36cm by 23cm bag or suitcase
Two 56cm by 36cm by 23cm items with Business Class tickets.
Total weight of 7kgs.
Option to add another 3kgs for a total of 10, at additional cost
Business Class passengers can have up to 14kgs total across their two items and one personal item.*
VirginOne 56cm by 36cm by 23cm items
Two 48cm by 34cm by 23cm items
One 56cm by 36cm by 23cm item and one 114cm by 60cm by 11cm garment bag.
Standard flights have a total weight limit of 7kgs
Business Class, Platinum and Velocity Gold Members have a weight limit of 14kgs.
Tiger AirOne 54cm by 38cm by 23cm item and one personal item.*Total weight limit of 7kgs
Tiger Air customers have the option to pay for a total baggage allowance of 12kgs.
RexTwo 48cm by 34cm by 23cm items
One 48cm by 34cm by 23cm item and one 114cm by 60cm by 11cm garment bag.
Total weight limit of 7kgs.
Carry-on baggage. Qantas Airways. 2019.
Carry-on baggage – what can I bring on board? Jetstar Airways. 2019.
Carry-on Baggage. Virgin Australia Airlines. 2019.
Cabin baggage. Tiger Air. 2019.
Before You Fly – Conditions of Carriage. Regional Express. 2005.
* Personal items include things such as handbags, laptops, umbrellas, walking sticks, cameras, food and approved duty-free goods.3
Note: These rules are accurate as of March 2019 and are subject to change. Some airlines include the weight of personal items in the total baggage allowance, while others do not.

Failing to stick to your carry-on limit could cost you

young woman in hat at airport digital check-in

Sticking to your carry-on luggage limit can save you the hassle of carrying more, taking more time at check-in and having to pay extra in excess baggage fees. It’s also important to note that your checked-baggage will also have to comply with weight and size limits.

Qantas excess baggage fees

Qantas may take any additional carry-on baggage but count it as checked baggage. In this case, you could be paying not only $90 extra, but $50 on domestic flights for each item over 23kgs. On international flights, fees may be calculated by the kilogram or by item. Excess kilogram fees differ between locations, starting at $20 per kilogram and going as high as $80 per kilogram.

Alternatively, Qantas charges $185 for an extra item of baggage, and a $75 fee if it exceeds the 23kg weight limit.4

Virgin excess baggage fees

Virgin may also take any carry-on luggage over the limit as check-in luggage. Virgin charges $70 for the first piece, $90 for a second piece, and $150 for a third and any additional items of luggage. Furthermore, should any of these go over the 23kg limit for baggage in the cargo hold, you’ll have to pay $45 extra per item.5

Jetstar excess baggage fees

For additional luggage up to 15 kilograms over the luggage limit, Jetstar charges $60 at the gate on a domestic flight, $75 for flights between Australia and New Zealand, and $100 for all other international flights. Any extra weight beyond the additional 15 kilograms incurs a $15 per kilo fee for domestic flights and a $25 per kilo fee for international flights.6

Tiger Air excess baggage fees

When travelling with Tiger Air, passengers taking baggage over the carry-on luggage limit will have to pay extra by weight and flight time. For flights under one hour and 45 minutes, Tiger Air will charge $75 for items up to 15kgs, and $20 extra for each additional kilogram. For longer flights, Tiger Air will charge $90 for additional baggage weighing up to 15kgs, and an additional $25 per extra kilogram over.7

Regional Express excess baggage fees

Rex charges $7.70 for every kilogram over the 7kg limit for carry-on luggage. On top of this, passengers will need to pay $16.50 if the item doesn’t fit the carry-on dimensions. The same fees apply to check-in baggage as well.8

Note: remember that you may have the ability to purchase an additional weight allowance for both carry-on luggage and check-in luggage before getting to the gate and that this may be cheaper than the excess fees above.

These fees are accurate as of May 2019 and are subject to change.

Packing tips before you go

woman sitting on overflowing suitcase

Compare the Market reached out to professional organiser Bonnie Black from Brisbane-based business Little Miss Organised to get some tips on how to fit everything you need neatly into your suitcase. Here’s what Bonnie had to say:

  1. Planning is essential when packing for any kind of trip.

Consider a few essential questions:

  • Will the weather be hot? Will you pass through some cold temperatures at any stopovers?
  • How long will you be away?
  • Do you have easy access to essentials if you forget something?

Just like an iceberg hides 90% under the water, your planning and research should be 90% of your trip preparation. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

  1. Taking only what you reasonably need is essential.

Rolling clothing, stuffing socks and underwear inside shoes, and using travel space bags are all great ways to condense physical space. Always be careful of your luggage limits, and consider if you’re likely to need space on the return journey for any souvenirs.

  1. Lists are a lifesaver when it comes to packing.

Whether you’re flying away for a couple’s weekend or going on a family adventure, creating a packing template will reduce stress.

Once you’ve got your essentials together, pack carefully, making a note of any last minute items to add (like phone chargers, keys, sunglasses etc.). On the day of your journey double check your list, and make sure you’ve added the last minute items.9

How excess baggage affects the airline

woman with bag and suitcase waiting at the airport

Passengers stuffing large bags into the stowaway compartments aren’t just an annoyance for those who can’t fit their own luggage in – it can also affect the airline’s profits and running costs.

The amount of fuel a commercial aircraft needs depends on its overall weight, and the more weight carried on the plane, the more fuel it needs to lift off the ground and stay in the air. With this in mind, excess baggage on flights decreases fuel efficiency and costs airlines more to refuel their planes.

Covering your carry-on luggage with travel insurance

Travel insurance is a key part of any trip, even for domestic flights within Australia. It can help cover the cost of replacing your belongings if they’re stolen, lost or damaged. This goes for both your check-in luggage and carry-on items. Domestic travel insurance also covers your belongings from the moment you leave the house; handy in case something happens on the way to the airport.

However, if you do take out travel insurance, it is essential to read the details of your policy. For example, you may be unable to claim for stolen luggage if you left it unattended, amongst other travel insurance exclusions. Also, you won’t be able to claim the additional fee for going over the carry-on luggage limit with your airline.

[1] Qantas announces change to cabin baggage weight rules. Lauran McMah, Herald Sun. 2019.
[2] Carry-on baggage. Qantas Airways Limited. 2019.
[3] Carry-on baggage – what can I bring on board? Jetstar Airways. 2019.
[4] Additional baggage. Qantas Airways Limited. 2019.
[5] Checked Baggage. Virgin Australia Airlines. 2019.
[6] Excess baggage charges at the airport. Jetstar Airways. 2019.
[7] Cabin baggage. Tiger Air. 2019.
[8] Before You Fly – Baggage Allowance. Regional Express. 2005.
[9] Interview with Bonnie Black. Little Miss Organised. 2019.

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avatar of author: James McCay

Written by James McCay

James is a devoted husband, father, animal lover and history buff. He studied Creative and Professional Writing at QUT, and is often buried in a book. While he writes on a variety of topics, a personal favourite is cars and all things motoring. James hopes to make a positive difference for readers through his writing.

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