Jetstar is increasing checked baggage fees

Stephanie Yip 20 July 2017

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The penalty for adding your checked bag at the airport just got worse.

Airport baggage fees can be the bane of a budget-traveller’s existence. Accidentally go over the weight or size limit by even a smidgen and you can find yourself paying a hefty fine at the check-in counter for the oversight.

Now, in a seeming bid to encourage travellers to pre-book rather than pay and fly at the check-in counter, Jetstar is increasing its fees on last-minute baggage.

Currently, the budget airline charges $50 for up to 15 kilograms of luggage booked at the airport, which is a markup of 333% compared to purchasing it at the time of booking. This is based on the $15 checked-baggage fee on short flights such as Sydney-Melbourne.

As of 15 August, that airport check-in fee is increasing to $60, meaning you will soon have to pay up to four times as much for your tardiness when compared to pre-purchasing.

The standard minimum checked-in luggage weight for Jetstar is 15 kilograms. Beyond this, the carrier then goes on to charge another $15 for every extra kilogram of checked-luggage you put on the belt that you haven’t prepaid. This price is not set to change.

On a positive note, international travellers will be happy to hear that this fee increase only applies to domestic journeys. It also only applies to travel on or from 15 August, giving future travellers ample time to pre-book their checked-in luggage to avoid airport baggage-fee shock.

Budget airlines often work on a sliding time scale regarding checked baggage fees with the cheapest fees offered at booking. The fees increase if you purchase luggage after booking but prior to check-in. They are at their most expensive when you book at the counter.

To put things into perspective, we compared Australian airlines and their baggage fee costs during booking, prior to check-in and at check-in to see just how much you’re being overcharged for booking your baggage at different times.


Checked-baggage fees for budget Australian airlines on domestic routes

AirlineChecked bag at booking (15kg)Checked bag after bookingChecked bag at airport (15kg)Excess baggage feeMark-up (at booking vs at airport)
Jetstar$15-$42, depending on flight routeFrom $32, increasing according to flight route$50 ($60 from 15 August)$15/kgCurrent: 333% New: 400%
Tigerair$15.50 (short), $24 (long)From $24.50 (short)$75 (short flights), $90 (long flights)$20/kg (short), $25/kg (long)383% (short), 275% (long)

For the purposes of this investigation, short flights were from Sydney to Melbourne for both Jetstar and Tigerair. Long flights were from Melbourne to Townsville for Tigerair and Sydney to Uluru for Jetstar.

As to be expected, there’s a major markup between pre-purchase and purchasing at the airport with the difference for airlines being more than three times.

For Tigerair, holding off a little while to decide whether you need checked baggage costs around $10 more on short-haul flights, but Jetstar penalises you more, charging you double the moment you forget to add it in.

Qantas and Virgin Australia both include checked-in luggage of up to 23 kilograms on domestic flights.

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