Global airline network SkyTeam has set standardised extra baggage allowances for its high-tier Elite and Gold Elite frequent flyers, which will come into effect next week on 1 September.
Passengers travelling from Australia on China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, Korean Air or Vietnam Airlines -- and on across its fourteen member airlines' networks -- will either receive extra weight or an extra bag, depending on the airline's own policies.
SkyTeam Elite card-holders, the first tier that frequent flyers are awarded, similar to Qantas Frequent Flyer Silver, receive either 10kg extra baggage allowance on airlines that work on a weight basis, or one extra bag on airlines that use a per-piece system.
Top-tier Elite Plus members (Gold and Platinum on most airlines) get 20kg on top of their normal allowance on airlines that use the weight system, or one extra bag under per-piece rules.
Yesterday, Qantas confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that its own high-tier frequent flyers only get extra baggage on oneworld airline flights if the flight has a QF flight number. Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers also get an extra 20kg or piece, depending on the airline's system.
As a general rule, the US has its own system where many airlines charge for the first bag.
The per-piece system (also known as the piece concept) applies to most trans-Atlantic flights, plus in this case Delta's trans-Pacific flights. The weight system applies in most other flights.
Unfortunately, the rules aren't hard and fast: SkyTeam said in a statement that, "in some cases, depending on the itinerary, restrictions might apply" and suggested that travellers contact their airline for full details. (We suggest an online search for the name of your airline and "baggage allowance to australia" to start with.)
But Murli Poonath, SkyTeam's Director of Marketing and Customer Experience, says that the changes are "good news for our Elite and Elite Plus customers and frontline employees alike, thanks to one simple set of rules throughout the alliance."
The fourteen airlines in the SkyTeam alliance network are: Aeroflot, Aeroméxico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Eastern, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, TAROM and Vietnam Airlines.