The days of passengers bending Jetstar's carry-on baggage rules are about to come to an end with the airline cracking down on customers taking oversized bags on board.
A Jetstar spokesperson confirmed the airline will introduce cabin baggage officers to crack down on passengers who try sneak on oversized or heavy carry-on luggage on board, instead of paying to check-in them in.
The officers will enforce the airline's carry-on size and weight limits at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns and the Gold Coast airports on a trial basis.
Currently, Jetstar passengers without a checked bag can check-in online or at an airport kiosk. The boarding area is usually the first place they interact with a Jetstar staff member.
The airline will have officers positioned at some airport gates to ensure all passengers do not breach the maximum allowable size and weight limits for carry-on baggage. Passengers deemed to be taking on baggage that is too large and/or too heavy will likely face a higher baggage fee than what would have been paid at the time of booking.
The spokesperson said the airline was still finalising the introduction of the new roles and did not give a start date. Jetstar expects the officers will provide additional support" to assist ground crew at the boarding gate.
"Limiting the amount of carry-on baggage improves crew and other passengers' safety and will also speed up the boarding process so that our flights can get away on time," the airline said in a statement.
Since the introduction of baggage charges, Jetstar domestic flights have become a battleground for cabin space with some passengers violating baggage allowance rules and taking excess baggage on board.
"We know that some of our customers become frustrated when there is a lack of overhead locker space for their bags," Jetstar said in the statement.
David Flynn, editor of Australian Business Traveller, says the move is a win for people who fly frequently.
"This is welcome news for frequent flyers and I'd like to see more airlines copy this page from Jetstar's book," Flynn said.
"Many people who regularly fly for work are skilled at travelling light, bringing only carry-on or hand luggage, but find that precious real estate in overhead bins is annexed by fellow travellers who sneak oversized bags on board."
Jetstar's current carry-on baggage restrictions for all Economy Starter, Starter Plus and Starter Max passengers is one main item (56cm height x 36 cm width x 23 cm dimension) and one other small item, with a total combined weight of up to 10kg. For Business Class passengers, it's two main items, as long as each item does not exceed 10kg, with a total combined carry-on baggage weight of up to 20kg.
Fees for check-in baggage at time of booking is $15.50 for baggage of up to 15kg, and $16.50 for baggage of up to 20kg, one-way. Fees for baggage checked-in at the airport, will cost Jetstar passengers $70 for up to 15kg of checked baggage, and $15 for every additional kilo after that.
The hassle of carry-on baggage became a huge global issue when airlines introduced new baggage charges back in 2008. Budget airlines are more inclined to enforce the rules, but throughout most of the world carry-ons are rarely and only arbitrarily checked. And it's getting worse.
The introduction of Jetstar cabin baggage officers will be a first for Australia domestic flights.