Virgin doubles carry-on allowance, but only for business class
Now more generous than Tigerair, but still meaner than Qantas.
Australia's domestic airlines spent 2018 cracking down on carry-on baggage allowances. All four of the major players – Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar and Tigerair – now routinely weigh passenger bags at check-in. If you have more than 7kg, you're out of luck, and face your luggage being sent to the hold. On the low-cost carriers (Jetstar and Tigerair), you'll have to pay a hefty sum as well.
Qantas has long been the most generous of the four, allowing two bags each of which can weigh 7kg for an effective total allowance of 14kg. Now Virgin is partially matching that.
Virgin has quietly updated its baggage allowances so that business class passengers can take two bags on board, each of which can weigh 7kg. The same expanded allowance also applies to Platinum and Gold Velocity members.
This is good news for higher-status flyers, but still means Virgin isn't quite equalling the Qantas offering. Even if you have an economy Red e-Deal ticket, you can still take a total of 14kg on board with Qantas (subject to the usual sizing requirements).
The expanded allowance doesn't apply on regional Virgin flights running on A320, ATR or F100 aircraft, or on flights that are operated by Alliance Airlines, which Virgin does for some Queensland and Northern Territory routes. In those cases, you only get the regulation economy allowance of 7kg. (Qantas has similar restrictions on its QantasLink flights.)
Given that Virgin and Qantas compete fiercely for business-class passengers, it's no surprise that the airline has made this change. While it's definitely feasible to travel for several days on just a 7kg allowance (I'm doing so right now myself), if you're paying for business then you do expect a more generous allocation.
The key lesson for everyone remains: always check what the allowance is, and make sure your carry-on doesn't go over. No-one wants to start their trip with an argument over luggage and an unexpected excess baggage charge.
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.