Virgin Australia introduces new luggage rules and restrictions

By David Flynn, May 16 2012
Virgin Australia introduces new luggage rules and restrictions

Today sees the start of Virgin Australia's new rules for checked baggage on all domestic flights and trans-Tasman services to New Zealand.

The airline moves from its current system of charging for baggage according to weight and shift to a ‘per piece’ model – which means revised baggage allowances, pricing and weight limits.

Passengers will be limited to a maximum of two checked bags of before extra charges kick in, even if they hold elite Platinum status in Virgin’s Velocity frequent flyer programme.

New baggage allowances in full

Here's the full list of how many bags you can check, and how heavy they can be, based on different types of fares and your Velocity status. 

Fare Type

None/Red

Silver

Gold

Platinum

Saver

Not included but available for purchase

1 piece up to 23kg

1 piece up to 32kg

2 pieces up to 32kg each

Flexi

1 piece up to 23kg

1 piece up to 23kg

1 piece up to 32kg

2 pieces up to 32kg each

Premium Economy

2 pieces up to 32kg each

2 pieces up to 32kg each

2 pieces up to 32kg each

2 pieces up to 32kg each

Business

2 pieces up to 32kg each

2 pieces up to 32kg each

2 pieces up to 32kg each

2 pieces up to 32kg each

Business class travellers and Velocity Platinum and Gold members can pack 32kg into each bag.

Saver and Flexi fares booked by Velocity Red or Silver members (or if you’re not a member of Velocity at all) will be limited to 23kg, with a flat overweight fee of $40 payable at the airport if the bag weighs between 23kg and 32kg.

Regardless of where you're sitting in the plane or what colour your Velocity card is, if any of your luggage weighs more than 32kg it must be booked and transported as freight.

New fees for extra baggage

On flights within Australia the charges for additional checked bags begin at $12 per bag if ‘pre-purchased’ online, depending on where you're flying.

Most Australian routes fall into the lower-priced Tier 1 bracket, although the trans-continental trek between the east and west coasts attracts higher Tier 2 pricing.

If you're hopping across the Tasman, the cost of extra checked luggage begins at $25 per bag. 

Travelling with:

Domestic
Tier 1

Domestic 
Tier 2

Trans-Tasman

Islands

Southeast Asia,
Perth-NZ

1 additional piece

$12

$15

$25

$25

$30

2 additional pieces in total

$32

$45

$80

$80

$95

3 additional pieces in total

$52

$75

$135

$135

$160

Limits on 'pre-purchased' baggage online

An added wrinkle is that the maximum of three bags covered under the online pre-purchase scheme includes your ticket or Velocity allowance – it doesn’t come on top of it.

So a business class passenger or Velocity Platinum member entitled to two checked bags can buy only one extra bag online at the $12 rate. Any additional bags beyond that must be paid for at the airport.

On domestic flights the at-airport tariff is $40 for one bag, rapidly escalating to $100 for two more bags and $160 for three.

For Trans-Tasman and other 'short haul' flights, at-airport luggage costs are doubled: $80 for one bag, $200 for two bags and $320 for three.

Pieces in addition to pre-purchased baggage:

Domestic

International Short Haul

1 additional piece

$40

$80

2 additional pieces in total

$100

$200

3 additional pieces in total

$160

$320

4-9 additional pieces each

+ $120 each

+ $240 each

Overweight baggage fee (per piece)

+ $40 each

+ $60 each

All bags purchased online or at the airport are also subject to the same weight restrictions as provided under your fare or frequent flyer status: that's 32kg for business class and Velocity Platinum or Gold members, and 23kg in most other cases.

You can scope out all the changes and costs at the Virgin Australia website.

Virgin Australia says it's simpler...

A spokesman for Virgin Australia says the change is based on feedback from travellers who wanted a simpler model than the current weight-based system, especially when it came to paying per kg for excess baggage.

“This removes uncertainty, and provides our guests with a very clear understanding of their baggage entitlements before they get to the airport” the spokesman told Australian Business Traveller.

Virgin also sees the ability to purchase additional checked luggage as a positive move for many business travellers.

“Under our current policy, guests can’t buy extra baggage allowances on top of most fares or their Velocity status allowance. Now you can take up to nine bags, which is well suited for people travelling with a lot of baggage such as camera crews.”

However, many frequent flyers  – especially Velocity Platinum members – will chafe at the restriction to two bags of 32kg each, whereas they could previously check as many bags as they wanted provided the total weight was under 69kg.

... but what do you say?

What's your take on Virgin Australia's new baggage system? Looking back at your recent business trips with Virgin, will the per-piece scheme work better or worse for you than the current weight-based system?

Take our poll and then share the reasons why in the comments box below...

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

23 May 2011

Total posts 32

I think the system will be fair for most and easier to work out rather than trying to guess how much your bag weighs. Even on long overseas trips with multiple bags I would still fall under the limit for Platinum velocity members. 69kg's in reality is huge! Maybe they could introduce something for trademen for carrying tools like they have for the music industry. 

Qantas

10 Sep 2011

Total posts 162

What intrigues me is that Gold Velocity gets less than Gold QFF!  I wonder what the baggage handler union thinks of encouraging travellers to take just one bag totallying 32kg.  Fewer pieces yes, but clambering around the guts of a 737 putting 32kg pieces of luggage in can't be healthy for staff or passenger.

15 Mar 2012

Total posts 2

Would think Velocity Gold offers a better deal, for only $12 you can buy an extra bag up to 32kg. Some travellers rather end up paying $20 to save $5, and this is exactly where Qantas ripps one off. You might find yourself at the airport with one bag at 28kg and the other 24kg, and Qantas will charge you twice an extra $20 heavy fee, while with Virign you'll need not to worry about that. When will Qantas learn that it's not always just about unions, look after your passengers and staff equally well and one will surely figure out that not every person travells with exactly 32kg. I'm sure this is why Qantas reduced the 32kg down to 23kg for Gold because otherwise they couldn't charge the heavy fee.

AlG
AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

This sounds fine by me, I never have more than two checked bags anyway and surely this will be easier to work out than having to worry about weight.

I prefer the per luggage system rather than weight system.

On some international airlines, they still work on the weight system and for every 1kg over 23kg you are charged US$50 per kilo.

But on the per luggage system it works in the favour of the flyer, because they charge an extra US$60-80 for an extra luggage, up 23kg.

But I have never gone over, so the extra luggage charges never worry me.

15 Mar 2012

Total posts 2

This is great news. I think it's not hard to figure out when your suit case weighs over 20kg that you know you will be up for for some extra fees. I'm sure if you get charged by piece instead of than weight you will be on a winner.

But I get 69kg allowance and can't figure out at a guess if my 3 or 5 bags are 69kg in combined weight. So a few times I paid $90 because my bags weighed in at 75kg. I understand with the new offer I can get 96kg in total with only paying an extra $12, all I have to remember is to keep my belongings in 3 bags. This is briliant, I think I'm smart enough to handle this.

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 59

How does this work for those of us who have booked Virgin on the Tasman but in actual fact are going to be on an Air NEW Zealand plane of some type.

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 673

Have a squizz at our article that explains just that, fresh from an update this morning.


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