Reminder: Tigerair will weigh your baggage before you board

Angus Kidman 27 July 2017 NEWS

Tigerair738

Don't get slugged with a $75 fee.

Think you can avoid hefty baggage fees by just shoving everything into your hand luggage? Think again.

Like most discount airlines, Tigerair's cheapest fares only include 7kg of hand luggage. If you need more than that for your trip, you can either upgrade to Cabin+ to be allowed 12kg, or you can pay for checked luggage. The latter is much cheaper if you opt for it when you book your flight than if you decide to add it at the last minute. (That's truer than ever with price rises from Tigerair last year and Jetstar last week).

But because that can significantly increase the cost of your ticket either way, it can seem tempting to just assume that you can shove everything in your carry-on and no-one will notice. After all, if you check in online then no-one is actually going to see what you have until you're already boarding, right?

That's dangerous thinking in the case of Tigerair, as I was reminded when I flew with the airline earlier this week. About 15 minutes before boarding was due to begin, cabin crew began circulating with a mobile scale and asking passengers to weigh their bags.

TigerairPassengers738

The main targets seemed to be people with wheeled suitcases, which can easily be filled with more than 7kg of stuff. I was travelling with a backpack so I wasn't singled out. If I had been, I knew my case weighed 5.9kg, because I'm excessively paranoid. But others weren't so lucky.

The point is that if you do have a bag that weighs 10kg, you'll be told that it has to go on as checked baggage, and you'll have to pay $75 for the privilege. That's going to ruin the discount travel experience fairly quickly.

This is a tactic that Tigerair can deploy anywhere. It's perhaps less likely in regional airports because there aren't as many staff. But it would be naive to assume it wouldn't happen. In Melbourne, where Tigerair occupies a distinct corridor in T4, I've seen every single passenger have their bags weighed before they even get to the gate.

To be clear: I don't think this is unreasonable. If I score a $19 fare, I know the rules, and I'll try to stick to them. If you know you'll need a little more luggage, it will be cheaper to pay for it up-front than to risk getting caught out. Need some packing help? Here's some handy video advice from yours truly:

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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