Tigerair is putting up baggage charges again

Angus Kidman 23 November 2016

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Your cheap flight isn't so cheap when you're paying $75 for luggage.

Tigerair sells flights at ridiculously low prices sometimes; its most recent sale included flights starting from just $9. How can you make money with those kinds of fares? One key element is baggage charges, and Tigerair is about to put those up again.

An email sent to passengers last night explains the changes:

We will be amending our baggage fee structure from 15 December 2016, when a new tiered pricing structure will come into effect. Baggage will continue to be least expensive when purchased at the time of booking. This includes checked baggage and Cabin+ (for extra carry on luggage allowance of up to 12 kg). From 15 December if you add baggage after you have booked your flights, it will be more expensive. This includes when adding baggage to your existing flight booking through our customer contact centre, online via the Manage My Booking function on the Tigerair website, or during the web-check in process. If you don’t purchase baggage in advance of travel, it will continue to be most expensive to add baggage at the airport.

What Tigerair hasn't revealed yet is how much more it will be charging come December. Currently you pay anywhere between $13 and $41 for pre-booked checked baggage, and from $12 for Cabin+. If you don't book until you reach the airport, the minimum charge is an eye-watering $75. We can expect all those figures to go up. UPDATE: A Tigerair spokesperson contacted us to clarify that the only fare actually going up is for luggage bookings made after the original booking, which is not actually clear from the original email.

The sensible approach is to simply pack carefully, only take carry-on luggage, and make sure it weighs 7kg or less. I'm about to take a three-day trip which kicks off with a Tigerair flight and I've managed to stay under that weight limit, so it's definitely possible. Don't assume you'll get away with more; Tigerair staff regularly corner people at the gate and weigh their bags.

Cynics might note that Tigerair is putting up its baggage charges just a few months after it was obliged to cut its credit card payment fees to more realistic levels. Qantas also increased some excess baggage charges last month, but the Tigerair changes seem broader. Whatever the motivation, the best response is still to travel with just hand luggage.

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 Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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