Australia’s best and worst baggage allowances

Baggage allowance

Luggage allowances can dramatically influence the style of holiday you choose.

The difference between carry-on and checked-in luggage can mean an overnight stay in Australia and a month-long European dream holiday.

So which airlines have what luggage limits?


Qantas baggage limits are generous and get better up the pointy end of the plane and for loyalty and club members.

But for the majority of us in economy, for domestic flights, the limits are as follows: for one adult the limit is 23kg, premium economy is two pieces up to 23kg, and business is two pieces of 32kg each.

The two exceptions to this rule are:

Any flight on a Dash-8, where the limit is one piece of luggage of up to 23kg across all classes.

Travel to Lord Howe Island. The limits to Lord Howe Island are two pieces with a combined total weight of up to 23kg across all classes. The first piece can be up to 14kg and the second up to 9kg.

Lord Howe Island flights are subject to weight restrictions so the 9kg bag may need to travel separately so pack accordingly.

For international flights, excluding North and South America, the luggage allowances are 30kg for economy, 40kg for premium economy and business and 50kg for first.

For travel to North and South America, the basic baggage allowances are one 32kg piece for economy, two 32kg pieces for premium economy and business and three pieces of 32kg for first.

According to Qantas, some Qantas Frequent Flyer and Qantas Club members are entitled to an additional non-ticketed checked baggage allowance including:

  • Qantas and QantasLink operated flights with a QF flight number (excluding services to and from Lord Howe Island and QF codeshare services).
  • Emirates operated flights between and within Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, New Zealand and Australia when booked with either a QF or EK flight number on your ticket.


As Qantas’ discount brand Jetstar’s baggage allowance depends on what fare or ‘bundle’ you buy.

Jetstar’s cheapest fares usually don’t include baggage, so if you need it you are going to have to buy it.

Jetstar recommends buying it at the time of booking for the best price as you will be charged a higher rate after the initial booking or excess baggage fees when you check in at the airport.

If you book through Jetstar the following allowances apply:

Economy Starter fares:

  • No checked baggage allowance included.
  • You can purchase a 15kg, 20kg, 25kg, 30kg, 35kg or 40kg baggage allowance.

Economy Starter fare with Plus bundle:

  • 20kg checked baggage allowance (10kg for Jetstar Japan (GK) domestic flights).
  • You can purchase up to an additional 20kg if you need it (up to 30kg for Jetstar Japan (GK) domestic flights).

Economy Starter fare with Max bundle:

  • 30kg checked baggage allowance.
  • You can purchase up to an additional 10kg if you need it.

Economy Starter fare with Flex bundle:

  • No checked baggage allowance included.
  • You can purchase a 15kg, 20kg, 25kg, 30kg, 35kg or 40kg baggage allowance.

No single bag can weigh over 32kg. If you have more than that you will have to split it between at least two bags.

Virgin Australia

If you are travelling on Virgin’s domestic or international short-haul network the following applies:

Lite tickets, no free baggage, Choice, 23kg, Flex, 23kg, business, two 32kg bags.

If you are a Velocity member Choice, Flex and Economy Reward members can take 23kg, Silver and Gold class can take two, 23kg bags and Platinum member can take up to three, 23kg bags.

Business and Business Reward Red, Silver and Gold level customers can two, 32kg bags and Platinum members can take three, 32kg bags.


Checked baggage for Rex SAAB flights is 15kg for Community, Promo and Saver fares is 15kg. Flex is 23kg.

For flights on Boeings, Promo, Saver and Flex fares can carry 23kg, and Biz Saver, Biz and Biz Plus can take 32kg.

There is a 7kg limit for all carry-on baggage on SAAB flights and for Boeing flights its 7kg for Promo and Saver fares, 10kg for Flex and Biz Saver fares and 15kg for Biz and Biz Plus.


For the new kid on the block, your carry-on can be one large item and one smaller item, weight no more than 8kg together.

You can buy checked-in luggage at four different options, 15kg, 23kg, 28kg and 32kg. They must be all single baggage items. Prices vary depending on the flight.

The weight allowance is per piece. You are not able to take multiple pieces under the weight limit. For example, if you have one bag weighing 10kg and another weighing 12kg, you must purchase two 15kg pieces of baggage.

Your checked baggage will be weighed at the airport. If your piece of baggage exceeds the weight purchased, excess baggage charges will be payable at the airport.

Do you pack light or need every gram of luggage? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: Six items not to pack for a cruise

Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

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