Qantas overhauls international baggage allowances

Qantas' changes are a real mixed bag, depending on each traveller's frequent flyer status and ticket type.

By Chris Chamberlin, February 26 2021
Qantas overhauls international baggage allowances

  • Base baggage allowances cut in business class and economy, but boosted in premium economy.
  • Gains for Qantas Gold, Silver and Qantas Club; but no changes for Qantas Platinum, Platinum One or Chairman's Lounge.
  • Other Oneworld Sapphire, Emerald flyers win on some flights, lose on others.

When Qantas resumes international flying from October, many passengers will notice changes to the pre-COVID checked baggage allowances.

Services to North and South America will see revised rules on all new bookings made from March 26 2021, with the luggage allowance for each passenger based on both their cabin class and their frequent flyer status or Qantas Club membership. 

Some passengers will be able to pack more for their trip, while others see their complimentary allowance reduced.

Here's a rundown of Qantas' 2021 checked luggage allowances for flights to Dallas/Fort Worth, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver – as well as New York and Santiago, when these destinations return at a later date.

Qantas checked baggage in business class

Qantas Frequent Flyer members with Silver status or higher are immune from change in business class, as are Qantas Club members.

However, those relying on the standard business class allowance lose one bag, as do frequent flyers from Qantas’ Oneworld partner airlines, as below:

Business class
Currently
New bookings from March 26 2021
Impact
Standard allowance
3x 32kg
2x 32kg
Loss of 1x 32kg bag
Qantas Club, Qantas Silver, Qantas Gold
3x 32kg
3x 32kg
Existing allowance retained
Qantas Platinum, Platinum One, Chairman’s Lounge
4x 32kg
4x 32kg
Existing allowance retained
Other Oneworld Sapphire
3x 32kg
2x 32kg
Loss of 1x 32kg bag
Other Oneworld Emerald
4x 32kg
3x 32kg
Loss of 1x 32kg bag

Oneworld Sapphire includes cardholders like American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum and Platinum Pro, Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Gold and Qatar Airways Privilege Club Gold, among others.

That change reflects Oneworld’s standard global policy, in that Sapphire members only receive extra checked baggage under the ‘piece system’ as above, when their ticket doesn’t already include at least two checked bags.

As such, both the outgoing and incoming allowance for Oneworld Sapphire members is no different to the base allowance provided to status-free travellers.

Oneworld Emerald, on the other hand, covers top-tier travellers such as AA Executive Platinum and ConciergeKey, Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Diamond, and Qatar Privilege Club Platinum.

Under the ‘piece system’, Oneworld Emeralds receive one additional checked bag over and above the standard allowance – so with that standard allowance reducing from three to two checked bags, the Oneworld Emerald allowance similarly drops from four to three bags.

Qantas checked baggage in premium economy

There’s happier news for premium economy travellers, most of whom will be able to pack more, without being stung for excess baggage.

Premium economy
Currently
New bookings from March 26 2021
Impact
Standard allowance
2x 23kg
2x 32kg
Gain of 18kg total (9kg per bag)
Qantas Club, Qantas Silver, Qantas Gold
3x 23kg
3x 32kg
Gain of 27kg total (9kg per bag)
Qantas Platinum, Platinum One, Chairman’s Lounge
3x 32kg
3x 32kg
Existing allowance retained
Other Oneworld Sapphire
2x 23kg
2x 32kg
Gain of 18kg total (9kg per bag)
Other Oneworld Emerald
3x 23kg
3x 32kg
Gain of 27kg total (9kg per bag)

As in business class, the change to the Oneworld Sapphire allowance mirrors the standard ticketed allowance, as this already includes two checked bags.

Also, with the standard allowance having its per-piece limit amended from 23kg to 32kg, this paves the way for the other increases across the board, with Qantas now applying the same baggage allowance for all of its own elite frequent flyer members and Qantas Club cardholders.

Qantas checked baggage in economy class

Down in economy class, the changes are a real mixed bag, with the average traveller able to pack more in one bag, but while jettisoning the second.

Economy class
Currently
New bookings from March 26 2021
Impact
Standard allowance
2x 23kg
1x 32kg
Loss of 14kg overall, new limit of one bag
Qantas Club, Qantas Silver, Qantas Gold
3x 23kg
3x 32kg
Gain of 27kg total (9kg per bag)
Qantas Platinum, Platinum One, Chairman’s Lounge
3x 32kg
3x 32kg
Existing allowance retained
Other Oneworld Sapphire
2x 23kg
1x 32kg plus 1x 23kg
Gain of 9kg in one of two bags
Other Oneworld Emerald
3x 23kg
2x 32kg
Capped at two bags, overall loss of 5kg

Of those gaining an improved allowance, the biggest winners are Qantas’ mid-tier flyers and Qantas Club members, who see their total checked baggage limits boosted to 96kg total (3x 32kg), being triple the allowance given to regular economy travellers.

Oneworld Sapphire members also benefit – this time, over and above the standard allowance – as their status provides an additional checked bag of up to 23kg, when the traveller doesn’t already have two bags included.

This sees them able to pack 1x 32kg bag, the same as any economy class traveller, plus a second bag at up to 23kg courtesy of their Sapphire status.

However, the move from 2x 23kg to 1x 32kg at the base level means that Oneworld Emerald members, who are entitled to one additional bag over and above the base limit, will only be able to bring two bags – but they’ll be able to pack more in per bag than they could before.

Qantas checked baggage in first class, and on other routes

Despite changes to allowances in business class, premium economy and economy on flights to North and South America, there are no changes to Qantas’ baggage allowances in first class.

Of course, with the Roo’s Airbus A380s remaining grounded – the only aircraft in the Qantas fleet with a first class cabin – the airline will not be offering first class for now, in any case.

There are also no changes to baggage allowances on any other Qantas routes.

This includes international routes to destinations where the ‘weight system’ is used instead – being flights outside of North and South America – or on Australian domestic flights.

On routes where the allowances are changing, what matters again is the ‘ticketing date’, not your intended travel date.

As such, travellers who book their flight on or before March 25 2021 will travel under the current allowances and entitlements, even when their flight departs after that date: such as in October, when Qantas intends to resume most international flights.

Bookings made or changed from March 26, however, rely on the new allowances, whether higher or lower than before.

Also read: Here's how Qantas will bring back international flights

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

04 Jun 2018

Total posts 25

Unfortunate news for S. America bound travellers in economy. Chris, in general does Qantas recognise the FF status at time of ticketing, boarding or whichever is higher?

Any news of codeshare impact to QF passengers flying on LA or vice-versa? 

Used to carry totally un-necessary stuff because the checked bag limit was so high, now might actually think about what I really need. So often in the past I would come home from a 2-3 week trip with over half of packed clothing not even worn.

Jetstar & other LCCs have educated many that if you want to check more, pay for it & made many realise you don't need anything like what we used to pack, because it was "FREE".

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jan 2018

Total posts 35

Yes, but by packing more, you could feel like you were getting better value for money. 

I hardly needed more than 1 x 32kg bag but on trips to London, I would pack 2 additional 32kg bags with bottles of Fanta for the family because in the UK, Fanta was sweetened with Aspartame instead of the sugar which our tastes were used to. Check-in used to find this hilarious.

we used to cart skis/boots/poles when going to USA/Canada. One year, we only had a 23kg checked baggage allowance & managed to each get just under 23kgs each inc skis & we didn't feel like we'd left something at home we needed. The less checked baggage the more freight airline could carry, so either cheaper the fares or more profit to keep airlines afloat.

We were once given standby business class tickets to USA. We didn't get standby on day we wanted, but check in person said 50 empty seats, so should be ok (our tickets had a high priority code, above a bunch of off duty flight attendants) - to cut a long story short, the captain apparently decided to put on more freight & leave seats empty, as flight was weight restricted, so we didn't fly that day.

& Southwest in USA still allow up to 3 checked bags (50lbs/23kgs each inc golf or ski bag) included in all fare types, with no oversize fees.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Apr 2016

Total posts 14

Do business travel and never been near the limits of weights . On international travel in 2021 then Qantas are being sensible with flights to USA and Europe starting in November 21. I disagree with Alan Joyce that people will be wary about going abroad due to Covid. There will be a mass booking of flights if the government release us to travel. We are a world village now, our relatives don’t live 4 doors away. Those days of never leaving the country are gone. Take people from Europe last year during middle of Covid19, all went on international travel. We will have the confidence of having taken a vaccine and probably a multi - variant booster.  Yes still take covid precautions ie masks etc but this virus will be here for many years and we have to live with it . 

15 Jan 2021

Total posts 8

People aren’t travelling if they need to pay $3000 and 2 weeks to spend in a hotel upon return. 

quarantine is now, not after October & probably much sooner.

Fares at Xmas to LA & San Fran return are as low as $999, just not on qantas nonstop flight, but on codeshares, so you can earn qantas points & best of all, you can upgrade straight to business class from any fare by bidding.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 307

Also might be a reflection that Gold and Silver will be where many end up over the next few years, QF can’t keep giving away status every year. 

kev 2003

re your statement

"this virus will be here for many years and we have to live with it ."

Just like the regular flu (103 years or so), this virus will be here forever, you cannot eliminate it.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

Regular the flu has been around much longer than 100 years you may be thinking of the Spanish flu which was a particularly nasty variant.

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 95

So PE and J are awarded the same allowance for Oneworld Sapphire? Given the substantial fare difference this seems disproportionate.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 197

QF always inconsitent   -regularly prev=covid travelled in C on LH Group Global fares ex ADL so I could upgrade to F   on LH A380  and LX 777/have a widebody  with C (usually seated in F  thx to LX/UA/customer recognition) to TLV. QF always used as a feeder to *A carrier  in AU, and fare rules, as did/does QF website recognized 3x32 kg when travelling VIA USA  

AND EVERY SINGLE  TIME I was refused my baggage entitlement at SYD when using QF on the same ticket back to ADL - SYD C checkin ALWAYS refused, then had to fight  -showing ticket, fare rules and QF website useless - then usually after they call the Fed Police because you are being a troublemaker asking for your  PAID baggage entitlement ask for a supervisor who ALWAYS says they are doing you a favour  

So lets see how QF ground staff provide the service they are meant to and lets see if they can read their own website with these changes  -

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 438

Why was your baggage not tagged through to ADL when you checked in in TLV, given it was all on the one ticket? 

(Yes obviously you would have to collect the bag at SYD Int for immigration and customs, but the luggage tags should have covered the whole journey to ADL.) 

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 197

oh   addendum  flew through SYD  T3 domestic yesterday - NO BUSINESS CHECKIN!!! it ALL USA style self checkin - we still have a business checkin  in ADL  Qantas is NOT a full service airline 

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 295

The charts in the article show that there is now a big incentive for Bronze FF members to achieve Silver Status and so retain their previous baggage limits or have even higher limits.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 307

Good point, and adds a little more reward to lifetime silver, something that is regularly disregarded in value.

08 May 2020

Total posts 60

For a minute i hoped that Qantas reviewed the time it takes for Economy class travellers to receive the checked in luggage at the destination airport.  Bus and Gold card travellers receive it at reasonable time and for the Economy travellers the carousel turns off and lets yo wait Overseas or domestic.  

I prefer to travel Virgin or Singapore air anytime just due to that reason.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1294

Pete I’m platinum and have waited an inordinate amount of time.

05 May 2016

Total posts 626

Whilst I agree this adds value to Lifetime Silver, in this case the benefits are likely of limited value to me. I generally try to pack light. Last time I went to the US it was a short trip and I only took carry on. I'm more likely to take more checked baggage when going elsewhere than America.

23 Jul 2017

Total posts 77

From a large full weight suitcase and a carry-on "drag bag"  for a fortnight+ trip, I revised my needs. For the last few years (when travel abroad was possible), I reduced luggage to the drag bag, even in winter. It's interesting to see that I'm still entitled to the same number and weight of luggage, but I guess I shan't need it, but good luck to those who'll benefit.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qantas overhauls international baggage allowances