Qantas changes international luggage limits to match Emirates

By John Walton, February 12 2013

Qantas will change international baggage allowances from counting number of bags to counting their weight, bringing them in line with Emirates, as the Qantas-Emirates alliance starts up on 1 April.

Qantas' and Emirates' Platinum, Gold and Silver frequent flyers will receive extra allowances on top of the basic limits  — but many of the Red Roo's passengers and QFF members will see their overall luggage weight reduced under the new system.

Business class passengers see their allowances more than halved, from 96 kg split over three 32 kg bags to a limit of no more than 40 kg in total.

The changes take effect on 31 March, for all passengers who book flights on or after 26 February.

"To enable a more seamless experience as customers travel on the joint network, Qantas will move from a piece and weight system, to a weight system, for all international flights — excluding those to/from the Americas," the airline says in a statement.

"As part of this alignment," Qantas continues, "Emirates will increase its pre-purchase excess baggage discount to 30 per cent."

Instead of getting an allowance like 'two bags at 23 kg each' under old the piece and weight system, you'll get something like "32 kg" under the new weight-based model. (Yes, that's similar to the system Qantas used prior to its last change in May 2012.)

Those new limits for passengers who aren't frequent flyers or hold Bronze status:

  • First class: 50 kg (down from 3 x 32 kg)
  • Business: 40 kg (down from 3 x 32 kg)
  • Premium economy: 40 kg (down slightly from 2 x 23 kg)
  • Economy: 30 kg (up from 1 x 23 kg)

Extra weight allowances will be offered to Qantas Frequent flyers when travelling across the joint Qantas-Emirates network:

  • Platinum: 20 kg 
  • Gold: 16 kg 
  • Silver & Qantas Club: 12 kg

Previously, Platinum members had an allowance of 4 x 32 kg bags in business or first, and 3 x 32 bags in economy and premium economy. Golds were allowed an extra 23 kg bag in premium economy or an extra 32 kg bag in economy, while Silvers (and Qantas Club members) received an extra 32kg piece in premium economy or economy.

However, Qantas revealed in a statement that "Qantas Frequent Flyer Customers booked on the piece system (pre 26 February 2013) and travelling from 31 March 2013 will still have their additional Frequent Flyer allowances honoured on both QF and EK services (‘EK services’ are limited to international flights between and within Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Australia)."

Here's that Qantas luggage allowance table in full (click here for larger version):

For all the latest news for business travellers and frequent flyers, follow @AusBT on Twitter.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 31

Changing baggage allowance twice within 9 months, seems a little overkill to me. Does that mean someone flying economy with no status can bring on 30 x 1 kg bags?

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 182

The piece concept will be gone, so you could check in two bags (or even x number of bags) as long as the total is 30kg.

01 Feb 2012

Total posts 370

Wow - that is quite a step down for high value customers, and quite a step up for low value ones. Given the number of economy vs business and first, one would expect the total weight of baggages per flight to increase somewhat after this change. 

03 Nov 2011

Total posts 35

Yes - this is major news for someone like me, who travels between syd and lon 4 times a year, paying my own economy class fare.

After trying Qantas Silver for a year, I discovered Emirates' generous 30KG DEFAULT limit regardless of any points, saw they had A380 and a good product of their own, so I switched, plain and simple!

So this is major news for people in my boat. But I still think I'll stay with Emirates for now as my default choice. They simply have a culture of luggage 'generosity' compared to Qantas. With me anyway, I brought about 37KG (uh, accidentally) with me in the form of my suitcase, and a large rug I bought for someone. They didn't bat an eyelid. Can't imagine that happening with Qantas, new allowances and 'get all Emirates with luggage' or not!

I hope Qantas will make it clear on their website of the newly announced provisions for OW Emeralds, of 20kg on top of applicable class limits and for this to be communicated to check-in staff.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 110

What happened to Qantas saying that where Frequent Flyer benefits apply, the higher one would be the norm? Reducing baggage limits is hardly choosing the higher standard!

QFF Gold QC gold

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 56

I suspect they had to do this for travellers who have to change from QF metal to EK metal. It would be difficult to police when QF travellers are told they have too much weight when they want to get onto EK metal from, say, Dubai to London.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1380

The oneworld Emerald bonus is the same as QF Platinum (but agree it should be in the table)...

I would be surprised if the oneworld Emeralds get the extra 20kg on EK metal.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Nov 2011

Total posts 185

Seems quite okay.  At the end of the day how much luggage do you guys travel with? I have been on multiple trips in the last 2 yrs whilst Platinum, and even when I go Skiing I take ~25kg, and sometimes if I have been doing lots of shopping I will check in my Cabin bag with 15kg shopping, so less that 40kg.  Even still this is only once, normally my return leg is no more than 30kg combined.  I seriously do not understand how/why you would need 96kg as a WP in the first place!

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 673

Dr T, I don't necessarily disagree in most cases, but I've done a bunch of conferences where being able to chuck a couple of boxes of printed materials plus some promo swag into my suitcase has been a real benefit.

And, of course, the corollary is: if using the full allowance is such an exceptional case, why get rid of it?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2012

Total posts 268

So Qantas, starts off with a weight system, changes to a piece and weight system in May last year and is transitioning back a weight system to avoid confusion in the Qantas-Emirates Alliance. That's annoying!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2012

Total posts 39

I'm with you DrTGanguly. How much does a person need on a trip. I have been to Hawaii on a 10 day trip and only taken hand luggage of no more than 10kgs and that includes the weight of the bag. Leave your LOUIS VUITTON streamer trunks at home and pack a light weight bag and save your backs. Or your staff that you must have carrying all your luggage for you.

02 Jan 2013

Total posts 70

This is all too upsetting!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Aug 2012

Total posts 23

It is quite amusing that a Plat FF travelling in international economy has  LESS allowance than domestic economy.

I would like to know what the guys at Qantas were smoking when they dreamed this up !!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Feb 2013

Total posts 45

Well spotted :)

Platinum/Platinum One Qantas Frequent Flyers - 2 pieces (maximum 32kg each)


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