Flying home for the December holidays can be a stressful experience, with passengers carrying gifts for their nearest and dearest as well as their own luggage, reported CNN. Now Australian airlines have announced a renewed push to enforce hand luggage weight limits at the busiest time of the year.
Both Virgin Australia and Qantas have told domestic passengers that their hand luggage will be weighed at various points in the journey to ensure that it complies with seven-kilogram (15 pound) limit. Budget airlines such as Tigerair Australia and Jetstar already weigh hand luggage for all passengers.
“As an industry, we’re seeing many passengers trying to bring everything but the kitchen sink on domestic flights which is causing flight delays as well as safety issues for cabin crew, ground crew and passengers,” said Paul Woosnam, General Manager Ground Operations at Virgin Australia, in a statement to CNN.
Virgin Australia crew members have suffered injury due to heavy cabin bags. A Qantas spokeswoman told CNN that regular fliers have told the airline that passengers need to be reminded about the cabin baggage limit
Qantas rolled out a system of stricter checks from late November, while Virgin Australia announced that it would step up enforcement from December 10, 2018.
“We’re seeing injuries to our cabin crew caused by closing overhead lockers full of heavy baggage, shifting bags in overhead lockers to assist guests finding space and assisting passengers with lifting their bags into the overhead compartments,” said Woosnam.
“We also want to get our passengers away to their destination on time, and more and more we’re seeing flights being delayed due to cabin baggage issues.
The drive to improve compliance is supported by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority, which says that “preventing non-compliant hand luggage from entering an aircraft is an important safety role of ground and cabin staff.”
Virgin Australia’s standard allowance includes up to 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of luggage, including a checked bag of up to 23 kilograms and a seven-kilogram cabin bag. Each passenger is also allowed a laptop bag, suit bag or handbag.
Domestic Qantas passengers flying in economy class can check in a bag weighing up to 30 kilograms, plus two cabin bags weighing up to seven kilograms each. The airlines will be putting on extra ground crew as part of the push over the holiday period.
“Christmas is an incredibly busy time of year for us so we do encourage anyone traveling over the holiday period and beyond to familiarize themselves with the carry-on allowances to help get them to their destination safely and on time,” said Woosnam.