Qantas carry-on bag limits: Airline cracks down on cabin baggage

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Passengers will find it more difficult to skirt Qantas' domestic carry-on baggage limits, as the airline moves to strictly enforce its luggage rules across major Australian airports.

Qantas passengers can expect to have their carry-on bags weighed at the boarding gate, with items that exceed the 7 kg limit being checked in and retrieved from the the carousel after the flight.

Enforcement is reportedly occurring on the busiest routes in Australia. This includes the Sydney-Melbourne route, the second busiest air route in the world.

Stephen Moynihan, Qantas' Senior Manager of Corporate Communication, said stricter enforcement of the limit will ensure all passengers have a "fair share" of cabin space.

"We know customers like the convenience of not having to check in luggage," Mr Moynihan said. "But we're getting feedback from regular flyers who say all customers need to be reminded about how much luggage they can take onboard."

"Ensuring that allowances are being followed will also help reduce delays during the boarding process and ensure an on-time departure."

The rising popularity of online check-in has made it easier for passengers to slip through with oversized cabin baggage as they often do not have to have their bags weighed.

With a combined weight limit of 14 kilograms over two bags (depending on the size of the bags), Qantas' carry-on baggage allowance remains the most generous of the major Australian airlines. It is matched only by Jetstar's business class option which allows for up to 14 kilograms of carry-on baggage.

Virgin Australia also allows for two carry-on bags, but with a combined weight of up to 7 kilograms.


This move sees Qantas belatedly join other budget airlines Tigerair Australia and Jetstar, who both cracked down on cabin baggage weight in 2014.

Currently, Jetstar's economy class passengers have a carry-on allowance of 7kg, split between one 'main item' and one 'small item'. This year, the airline introduced a new policy to allow customers to increase this to 10 kilograms for a $15 fee when purchased in the same transaction as the flight ticket.

Tigerair allows passengers two pieces of cabin baggage with a combined weight of 7 kilograms. An additional 5 kilograms can be added for $16 when purchased simultaneously with the flight ticket.

Unlike Tiger and Jetstar, which require customers to pay significant fees if their carry on baggage is found to be over the limit, Qantas will not charge passengers to check in bags.

Passengers had mixed reactions to the move. Some commended it:

However, others were less positive. Some questioned whether it would simply encourage passengers to split their luggage across two bags, therefore taking up more space. 

Others suggested that delays in collecting checked baggage was what pushed individuals to try and fit more into their carry ons. 

See also: Pack it in: how to travel with only carry-on luggage

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