Qantas has brought in a new self service check-in technology that will see the end of check in staff turning a blind eye to passenger’s overweight baggage.
Domestic economy passengers of Qantas who have gotten used to sneaking a few extra kilos into their checked luggage will instead find themselves facing a $20 "heavy fee" from June 1.
Passengers were previously charged a more onerous $10-per-kilo excess baggage fee, the difference is that the old charge was less strictly enforced, whilst this latest technology allows the new charges to be more easily policed and therefore more consistently applied.
The next-generation check-in system, also designed to slash queuing times and being rolled out nationally, means passengers now weigh and label their cases before taking them to a bag drop.
Qantas Bronze frequent flyers, and those who do not belong to the Qantas loyalty program, will not get their boarding pass until they pay the additional charge for bags weighing between the 23kg free limit and the 32kg maximum allowable weight per suitcase.
A Qantas spokeswoman said there would be some flexibility in the system but refused to reveal what degree of error factor it would allow.
Qantas is also moving to a piece-based baggage system that will also charge many travellers $30 if they turn up at the airport with a second suitcase and another $60 if they have a third.
Passengers will be able to halve those charges by booking in advance using the airline's website and they will still be better off than passengers on airlines such as Jetstar and Tiger, which charge for the first piece of luggage.
Silver, Gold and Qantas Club members travelling in economy will also be limited to one suitcase but a 32kg allowance will allow them to avoid the heavy fee.
Top-tier platinum members will be allowed two pieces of luggage each weighing 32kg.
And upper-tier frequent-flyer members can look forward to more generous allowances when they travel in business class.
Silver and Gold members travelling in business can take two pieces of luggage each weighing 32kg, rather than the current combination of cases to a maximum limit of 40kg.