Virgin’s free luggage for passengers with infants
Family-friendly policy adds extra baggage allowance.
Virgin Australia has introduced a handy new benefit for passengers flying with young children: an additional free checked bag, even though your child doesn't have a ticket.
Most airlines offer free travel for infants under the age of 2 years travelling with a parent. The trade-off is that you don't get a seat, and the child has to stay on your lap. (Some long-haul flights offer bassinets, but competition for those is keen.)
A less obvious consequence of not getting a seat is that you don't get any luggage allowance assigned to your child. Most full-service carriers (including Virgin) will let you check a stroller as additional luggage without a fee, but your own checked and carry-on luggage is likely to be filled with bottles, toys, nappies, spare clothing and the other paraphernalia of parenthood.
So Virgin's deal, which gives you an additional 23kg of checked luggage and an additional 7kg of carry-on if you're travelling with a child 23 months or under, is potentially a welcome boon. "We're proud to be the only carrier in Australia to recognise that travelling with an infant sometimes means packing far more than usual," Virgin's general manager of ground operations Paul Woosnam said in a statement announcing the new arrangement.
How popular will this be? Finder surveys show that 55% of Australian parents have taken advantage of the "under twos go free" rule on planes.
Points collectors should note that since your child hasn't been assigned a seat, they won't be earning any points. Once they turn two and you have to buy them a ticket, it's definitely worth signing them up. That lets you take advantage of transferring points between family members (which both Virgin and Qantas offer).
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.
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Pictures: Angus Kidman, Virgin Australia