When it comes to carry-on luggage, size really does matter.
Not all carry-on luggage sizes are equal. That's a fact.
Typically, airlines are free to dictate whatever carry-on size they like for their flights, which means that one airline may allow larger luggage sizes than another.
Whether you're opting for carry-on luggage only or are actively seeking to max your baggage on your next flight, here's a comparison of the size and dimensions for carry-ons each Australian airline accepts on their domestic routes so you can book according to your luggage needs.
Time to start measuring your bag!
Carry-on luggage size and weight allowances compared (economy)
|Airline||Baggage options||Max. height x width x depth||Weight allowance|
|Jetstar||56 x 36 x 23cm||7kg total|
|Tigerair||54 x 38 x 23cm||7kg total|
Dash 8 services only allow for 1x <105cm piece
|56 x 36 x 23cm||7kg per piece (up to 14kg in total)|
|Virgin Australia||56 x 36 x 23cm||7kg total|
|Rex||48 x 34 x 23cm||7kg total|
Best airline for carry-on luggage size allowance
Unsurprisingly, luxury Qantas and Virgin Australia offer more generous carry-on luggage allowances than their low-cost counterparts Jetstar and Tigerair.
Of the two, Qantas is the winner for anyone travelling with bulky and hefty luggage, with a maximum length of 115cm and multiple pieces weighing 7kg each permitted in the cabin.
Best budget airline for carry-on luggage size allowance
When deciding between Jetstar and Tigerair, the carry-on sizes are almost like for like. The best tip for those tipping the scales is to upgrade to Tigerair's Cabin+ which allows you to extend your carry-on allowance to a bag that's 12kg. The cost to upgrade ranges from $18 to $23 each way, depending on the length of your flight.
Best airline for carry-on weight allowance
Those not packing light can turn to Qantas, which allows its passengers to carry up to three items, including a personal item, each to a maximum weight of 7kg (or 21kg in total).
Which airline lets you carry the most bags?
Depending on how strict the airline is, they may ask you to consolidate your bags before you hop on board, which can be a painful process. Qantas and Virgin Australia are your best bets for avoiding this as both allow up to three bags in the cabin.
What are the charges for excess luggage?
Need to bring extra items on board? If you exceed your carry-on weight or size restrictions you may be asked to check your item in and be charged for it accordingly.
These charges are at their most expensive at the airport, so it's cheaper to tack them onto your booking as soon as you know you won't be packing light.
Here's what you can expect to pay to top up your luggage amount prior to your flight on a short-haul journey like Sydney-Melbourne booked four months in advance. These charges differ depending on how much the flight costs and what route you're flying. Prices were obtained on 15 January 2019 for travel in May 2019.
|Jetstar||Up from 7kg to 10kg||$16|
|Tigerair||Up from 7kg to 12kg||$15|
|Qantas||Item will be placed in the luggage hold||$0|
|Virgin Australia||Item will be placed in the luggage hold||$0|
|Virgin Australia||Must check bag in||-|
Excess baggage at the airport
Left it to the very last? Here's what you can expect to pay if you show up at the airport with more carry-on luggage than you booked for:
|Airline||Excess weight charge||Other fees|
|Jetstar||$60 per item||-|
|Rex||$7.70 per kg||$16.50 per piece if size exceeds limitations|
|Qantas||From $78 per piece||-|
|Tigerair||$75 (short flights) or $90 (long flights) for 15kg||$20 per kg exceeding 15kg|
|Virgin Australia||From $70 per piece||-|
Frequently asked questions:
How to pack to stick to your carry-on allowance:
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