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|
|Virgin Australia||48 x 34 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 more bags onboard? 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 advised you tack them onto your booking as soon as you know you won't be packing light.
We've outlined the fees you'll incur 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||-|