Friday, May 18th, 2012

What to Look for When Buying Baggage

a guide to baggage

The baggage you take on a trip away can have a critical effect on your overall travel experience.

At the airport the right baggage can allow you to move through check-in, security and boarding, and enable you arrive at your destination, with ease in a timely manner. The wrong baggage could be refused carriage, cause unexpected fees, or see your personal goods damaged.

When it comes to air travel there are two types of baggage that you need to consider: carry-on and checked.

To help you make the right decision when purchasing or choosing baggage for your next trip away, we’ve pulled together a guide of key things to look for in carry-on and checked baggage.

Factors to consider when buying Carry-on Baggage

Considered to be a workhorse for the frequent traveller and a facilitator for the weekend holidayer, carry-on baggage requires good organisation; which can by actioned by an effective pocketing system. Easily accessible internal and external pockets make it simple to find the right item while on the go – i.e. through security, in a taxi or on the plane. Hard cases don’t often include pocketing systems; as a result soft case bags are generally preferred by those who like to be organised.

To carry or not to carry is a big question concerning carry-on baggage. Carry-on is generally restricted to two options: a bag with a shoulder strap and top grip/or backpack straps, or a bag with wheels. While wheels are almost vital to have on checked baggage, they’re not as popular on carry-on baggage, as hand-held bags are often lighter, and more malleable in over-head spaces.

All guests travelling on all Virgin Australia networks are entitled to carry-on 7kgs onboard.

Guests travelling on our domestic or international short haul networks can take: Two pieces that do not exceed total linear dimensions of 105cm each, plus one non-rigid suit pack or garment bag that does not exceed dimensions of 114cm x 60cm x 11cm (total linear dimensions 185cm), plus one personal item.

International Economy or International Premium Economy guests travelling on our international long haul network can take: One piece that does not exceed total linear dimensions* of 115cm (45in)

International Business guests travelling on our international long haul network can take: Two pieces that do not exceed total linear dimensions* of 115cm (45in)

Factors to consider when buying Checked Baggage

Travelling with wheeled baggage can make in-transit situations almost effortless. Wheels that are built into the case are generally more durable than those attached to the outside of the case, and rubber wheels are known to last longer than plastic wheels. Two wheelers are usually lighter and don’t roll away on sloped surfaces; while four wheelers are steadier and can be moved with very little effort. Before you buy a bag with wheels, test it on both carpeted and un-carpeted surfaces to check the glide, and turn corners to check balance.

Checked baggage comes in three choices of outer shell: hard, soft and semi-soft. Hard cases are generally heavier than soft varieties; however they protect contents. Soft-sided cases are generally lighter and expandable, but less resistant to impact. Semi soft-sided cases combine the benefits of hard and soft styles – they are lighter than hard cases, and give more protection than soft cases. If you plan to buy a soft suitcase, look for one made from ballistic nylon, or a nylon or polyester blend with a tight dense weave.

We have recently changed our domestic and international short haul checked baggage policies from weight to piece systems – as of 16 May 2012. Upon booking, you are allocated a baggage piece allowance, depending on your fare type or Velocity membership level. Each piece of baggage must not exceed a total linear dimension of 140cm. Checked baggage that exceeds a piece weight limit of 23kg (unless you have been allocated a weight limit of 32kg per piece) will attract an overweight baggage fee and will only be accepted and loaded onboard at our discretion.

Dos and Don’ts


Buy baggage with a warranty – the better the warranty, the better the craftsmanship and therefore the better the bag.
Buy baggage that is distinguishable – so that you end up with your bag and not someone else’s. This can be made easy by choosing a bag with a bold print or material, or by simply attaching something like a ribbon or tag.


Don’t overstuff – zippers break!
Don’t pack more than 32kg – or your bag will have to be sent as freight.


Find out more about our new baggage piece system. View our baggage policy.


2 Responses

  1. Carolyn Edwards May 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    When purchasing check-in baggage, make sure the outside binding seams and corners are bound in rubber or similar, not cloth. The cloth binding will not last the journey without getting frayed by handling etc.

  2. Anthony May 26, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    It’s very important when shopping for carry-on bags to investigate the weight closely. Many small bags can be quite heavy which eat up your allowance before you’ve even packed anything.
    The Antler Duolite is a standout that I have found in this regard, just 2.1kg for a 55cm bag.