Jetstar’s cabin baggage cops are getting tough
The days of sneaking on excess stuff in your hand luggage are well and truly over.
I've written before about how Tigerair strictly enforces its baggage policies with at-gate weight-ins. Fellow low-cost carrier Jetstar has taken it to the next level, with weighing and tagging of everyone's bags with a cabin baggage sticker before you board.
I encountered this for the first time on a recent quick trip to Avalon (yes, people do go there). I knew my bag only weighed 5.6kg (pro-tip: every traveller needs baggage scales at home), so I didn't mind being checked and tagged.
Actually the Jetstar approach is more sensible than Tigerair's, since it's harder to cheat. The Tigerair crew ask everyone to rock up, but if you simply board at the last minute, you're unlikely to get pulled over unless your bag is obviously oversized.
If you get caught out with more than 7kg of baggage, it's an expensive mistake. Jetstar will charge you airport rates to have your excess bags checked in, which start at an eye-watering $60. The guy doing our weigh-ins wasn't being really punitive though, advising one pair travelling together to shift stuff between bags to avoid getting caught out by the weight limits.
To reiterate: I have zero problem with airlines enforcing these policies. Those rules are clearly stated up-front – indeed, Jetstar has a separate nag screen during booking to try and persuade you to add extra checked baggage if you need it.
Applying those rules also ensures that people don't try and board with three full cases and shove them all in the overhead lockers, cutting down on available space for everyone else.
I think it's eminently possible to pack for a multi-day journey and still come in under 7kg, and I know that close to 2kg of that will come from my laptop and charger. You can check out some of my tips on what you shouldn't pack in the video below:But I'll happily acknowledge that some people find that tough. As I was walking through Sydney Airport on my return from Avalon, a woman was chatting to her sister: "They only give you 7 kilograms, and there's no way that's enough for an overnight journey," she wailed. If you fall into that category, do the sensible thing and pay for checked baggage before you fly.
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.com.au.
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Main picture: TK Kurikawa/Shutterstock