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Weighing Carry-on Bags at the Gate?

Weighing Carry-on Bags at the Gate?
Jeff Edwards

A new report reveals that Australian flag carrier Qantas Airways is taking drastic steps to make sure certain passengers’ carry-on luggage is not overweight. According to a new report, the airline is in the process of installing scales at gates in order to weigh bags and personal items before flyers board their aircraft.

Qantas is cracking down on carry-on limits on its busiest routes and the airline is tackling the issue in a unique manner. Officials confirmed that scales are being placed at gates at several major airports to ensure passengers do not exceed allowable cary-on weight restrictions.

“We know customers like the convenience of not having to check in luggage,” Qantas spokesperson Stephen Moynihan told Australian Traveller. “But we’re getting feedback from regular flyers who say all customers need to be reminded about how much luggage they can take onboard. Ensuring that allowances are being followed will also help reduce delays during the boarding process and ensure an on-time departure.”

Moynihan reports that the new procedures have already been put in place on the airline’s busiest route between Sydney Airport (SYD) and Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL). Passengers with bags that exceed the weight limit are required to gate check the items for retrieval at baggage claim upon arrival. The bag-weighing policy is slated to be expanded to all domestic flights in the coming weeks.

According to Qantas online guidelines, passengers bags are not to exceed 15 pounds each. The limit applies to all fare classes and both international and domestic trips.

So far, travelers on the Qantas Flyertalk forum appear to be equally divided for and against weighing bags at boarding. Some have praised the move, noting that flyers who take advantage of bag restrictions have in the past been single-handedly responsible for delayed flights. Others, however, complain that it is the airline’s infamous inability to get checked bags back to passengers that is ultimately responsible for overstuffed overhead bins and the problem won’t be solved by scales at the jetway.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (5)


  1. dogcanyon

    December 7, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Perhaps this is new for Qantas, but it’s certainly not new in the industry. As far back as 13 or 14 years ago BA would have agents with hand held scales walk around the departure area and force anyone with overweight hand luggage to gate check it (they tagged the hand luggage and you had to drop it down a metal chute as you boarded). Additionally, I have had multiple airlines insist on weighing my hand luggage at check in before they would issue a “Hand Luggage” label allowing me to carry it onto the aircraft.

  2. MimiB22

    December 7, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Heavyish carry on bags don’t delay flights. Sometimes my carry on gets heavy because I have items in it I must have at my destination, or items that are difficult to replace if lost. I’ve had two checked suitcases disappear while on route over the years So, lesson learned, I pack more in my carry-on than I might prefer, but at least it arrives with me.

  3. davistev

    December 7, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Safety as a reason – mmm – Air New Zealand allows 10kg for star alliance members. Is Air New Zealand unsafe?

  4. :D!

    December 7, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    @dogcanyon – the BA rules are that all passengers may bring 46 kg (= 100 lbs) of hand baggage, which I think is unique in the industry. I don’t know what the rules were 13 or 14 years ago, but I’ve been flying BA for 10 years and have never seen hand luggage being weighed.

    The only limits BA has are on the size of the bags, and you must be able to lift them to the overhead storage yourself, or else be able to put them under the seat in front.

    I doubt many people bring that much, the most I have managed is 31kg.

  5. brp1264

    December 8, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    I hate a lot of these weight requirements. My very well packed soft-side bag that has some heavy items in it takes up less space in the overhead than most all roller boards, but it is >15 lbs. Why should I have to check it because it weighs more when it isn’t using more space then they have allocated to me?

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