Summarising the small print for travelling with golf clubs on Australia’s domestic airlines.
UPDATE: We have updated the details for flying with golf clubs in Australia. Please refer to this article:
Australian airlines add extra fees for travelling with golf clubs
Like every other Christmas, I travel interstate to see family and take the golf clubs along. I got a rude shock this year when I checked in my bags at Qantas to find that the rules concerning flying with golf clubs have changed.
Qantas now have a “1 piece of check-in baggage only” rule which means that even if your golf clubs and baggage is under your total baggage weight limit, you must still pay to check-in the extra piece of baggage.
I’ll clarify what this means. Let’s say your golf bag weighs 12kg and your bag weighs 10kg. If you check both items in, you will be forced to pay extra ($30) for an additional piece of baggage even though you are still under the allowed 23kg weight limit.
With this in mind and the confusion we have regarding baggage allowance each time we travel with a different airline, I thought it is a good time to review the rules for travelling with golf clubs on Australia’s domestic airlines; Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Tiger Airways. All rules are outlined for travelling regular economy class
As of June 2011, Qantas domestic flights have changed from a weight allowance to a piece allowance with a maximum weight. A purchased ticket now only includes one piece of check-in baggage up to a maximum of 23kg (when travelling economy or premium economy). The rule also applies to Qantas frequent flyer and club members.
Your golf clubs will cost you $30 extra if you check them in at the airport, or you can pre-purchase an extra piece online before you fly for $20. Additional pieces of baggage (i.e. your 3rd piece) will cost you $60. From what I can tell, purchasing additional baggage cannot be done during the flight booking process. Annoyingly, it must be done online between 7 days and 3 hours before departure.
Tip 1: Travel lightly. Check-in your golf bag and take the rest of your gear as carry-on baggage (under 7kg).
Tip 2: Pack all your clothes in your golf bag. As long as the weight doesn’t exceed 23kg, you’re fine.
Tip 3: If you’re going to purchase an extra piece of baggage to check-in, you should do it online (after you’ve booked your flight) between 7 days and 3 hours before departure.
See more information on baggage at the Qantas website.
Virgin Australia still adhere to the weight baggage allowance rule and golf clubs are part of your checked baggage allowance. But you will need to purchase your baggage allowance when you purchase your ticket.
A 23kg checked baggage allowance will cost you $12 online or $40 at the airport. Once purchased, as long as the total weight of your golf clubs and baggage isn’t more than 23kg, you’re fine.
Tip: Buy your baggage allowance when you book your flight, otherwise you’ll get stung at the airport.
See more information on baggage at the Virgin Australia website.
The Jetstar baggage rules are also a weight-based allowance system, but are perhaps, a little more complicated. Some might say, more flexible.
You can choose what your total baggage allowance will be, based on your travel needs. On short-haul domestic flights, 25kg will cost you $25 on top of the price of the flight. If you think you can pack your golf clubs and baggage for less than 20kg it will cost you $16.
Tip: Jetstar provide plenty of options, just make sure you pay for your baggage allowances when you book your flight. If you can pack lightly, you should be able to get your bags and your golf clubs checked-in for less than $25.
See more information on Jetstar baggage information.
Not surprisingly. Tiger Airways offers the least attractive option for golfers. While you may get to your destination cheaply, golf clubs will cost you extra. A full $60 extra to be precise.
Yes. Every time you take golf clubs on a flight with Tiger Airways it will cost you an extra $60 no matter what sort of baggage allowance you pay for.
Tip: Do I really need to spell out the tip here? Just make sure the price of your ticket is cheap enough to justify the cost of taking your golf clubs.
See more information on Tiger Airways baggage information.
In summary, all airlines seem to be converging when it comes to travelling with golf clubs. The Qantas baggage allowances seem unsuitable given that most golfers can travel with their golf clubs and baggage for less than the maximum weight limit.
Just be aware that travelling with golf clubs is not as convenient as it used to be. If you haven’t read the small print regarding baggage allowances, don’t be surprised if you’re hit up for more cash at the airport to get your golf clubs on the plane with you.