Tigerair is smartening up its carry-on bag checks
Your chances of sneaking extra weight on are becoming ever more remote.
I know, I bang on a lot about the fact that cut-price airlines like Tigerair and Jetstar have a habit of checking carry-on luggage to make sure it meets their strict requirements (any more than 7kg and you'll have to pay up more). I've recently noted that Jetstar is now tagging bags to prove they've been checked for weight, while Tigerair is starting to weigh bags for more passengers at the gate.
The reason I harp on about this is because passengers invariably get caught out. Every time I've seen this happen, some poor schmuck ends up having to pay extra. I love scoring cheap flights, and I regularly check our Jetstar and Tigerair sale pages to see what's available. But if you end up paying $75 to check your baggage, it's not a cheap flight anymore.
Proving the point, I'm writing this at the Gold Coast Airport, and an announcement has just told Jetstar passengers to queue at Gate 2 so their bags can be weighed. If you're over the limit on Jetstar, you'll be asked to check your bag instead (and you'll pay hefty airport rates to do that). On Tigerair, you can potentially pay for Cabin+ baggage if you're under 12kg, but again that's more expensive at the airport.
Anyway, on a recent Tigerair flight to Melbourne I realised that the airline has smartened up its act a little. Previously, Tigerair employees have wheeled their baggage scale around the gate and weighed bags for anyone waiting there. But if you didn't show up until boarding began, you effectively evaded the scales (assuming your bag didn't look ridiculously oversized).
This time, after weighing my backpack, the staffer wrote "Checked" on my boarding pass. If your pass doesn't show that, it can be weighed again before you're allowed to board. That's potentially extra cost and heightened embarrassment, since you'll be holding up everyone else trying to get on board.
Ultimately, I expect Tigerair will copy the Jetstar approach and actually start tagging bags. Hand-written messages are OK, but don't work for mobile boarding passes and would be fairly easy to fake.
And to reiterate: I don't have a problem with airlines doing this. It's hard enough to find overhead baggage space without everyone flouting the rules. The key lesson? Invest in some luggage scales and stop stressing.
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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