Airline luggage regulations affect
- what you can take with you to Sydney,
- how much of it you can bring, and
- how you carry it.
International Flights to Sydney
There are some generally applicable rules for luggage on most full service international airlines in Sydney Australia. (Find domestic luggage rules here). But each operator will have slightly different baggage allowances. So take this as a general guide only, you really have to confirm the specific airline luggage regulations of the airlines you are flying with. And don’t forget that luggage is not included at all in budget airlines’ ticket prices.
- if you are using more than one airline to get to Sydney Australia (a codeshare flight) check that each one gives you the same baggage allowances, and
- if you plan to use airline travel in Australia, be aware that you will get a much lower baggage allowance than on international flights to Sydney.
The amount of baggage you can check in varies with
- your itinerary – where you’re coming from or going to,
- your membership of frequent flyer or air miles programs,
- your baby’s needs if you are flying with infants
- your medical or mobility needs, and
- whether you smile nicely at the person at the check in counter (just kidding on this one, but it can’t hurt).
No single piece of checked baggage may exceed 32kg (70lb). This is an international health and safety standard and applies to all airlines.
Air Travel with Children
Children usually receive the same baggage allowance as adults. As well, there is usually provision for at least one such thing as a stroller or car seat.
Infants (under two) get a lesser (often 10kg) allowance, plus a number of necessary infant items such as cots or prams.
Airline Carry on Luggage
A carry on travelling bag (except a garment bag) must be able to fit in the overhead locker or under the seat in front of you.
Most airline luggage regulations prescribe a maximum size of 45 linear inches/115 cm, (length + width + height) with a maximum weight of 15 lb/7 kg.
Business and first class passengers may be allowed two carry on bags (check your ticket), but each bag must not exceed the allowed dimensions.
Non-rigid garment bags may be permitted as well as, or instead of, a carry on bag. Standard maximum garment bag dimensions are 73 linear inches/185 cm.
Airlines differ in how many additional ‘personal’ items they allow you to carry on as well as your allowance. Such things as handbags, computers, baby requirements, children’s toys, books and so on.
Computers, handbags and small amounts of other items are generally accepted as legitimate personal extras on full service airlines flying to Sydney Australia.
Carry On Restrictions
I’ve noticed some lightening up on carry on restrictions all around the world, and Australia is no exception. You can now take these things through security screening points at airports in Australia:
- umbrellas with metal points
- knitting and crochet needles
- pointed metal nail files (including nail clippers, yippee!)
- corkscrews (but Australian wines have screw tops), and
- racquets used in squash, tennis, badminton or any other sport.
Common sense is a great help in deciding what to take on board. You wouldn’t let your child take a toy gun, for example. And chewing gum is still banned in Singapore.
Airline Luggage Regulations: Liquids, Aerosols and Gels
The restrictions on liquids, aerosols & gels still exist, although they can be rather leniently interpreted.
On my way back to Sydney recently, my water bottle passed through the scanners untold times without challenge, but once I had to empty it before being allowed through. To be on the safe side, I still pack things I want to carry on board into 100ml containers.
All the airline luggage regulations about liquids, aerosols and gels still apply. It’s your call if you choose to ignore them. You’ll often succeed, sometimes you won’t.
For the record, this is still the official word:
- All liquids, aerosols and gels must be carried in containers of no greater than
100ml/3.3oz capacity (approximately 100gm in weight).
- All containers must fit comfortably in a transparent, resealable plastic bag.
- The plastic bag must be no greater than 1 litre (1 quart) in capacity with a total outer edge measurement of the sealed section of the bag no larger than 80cm.
- There is a limit of one plastic bag per passenger.
- The plastic bag must be removed from carry on baggage and presented to security
personnel at the checkpoint for inspection and separate x-ray screening.
- Containers larger than 100ml/3.3oz will not be accepted, even if only partially filled.
On your way to Sydney Australia, after you pass through the screening point you can buy liquids, aerosols and gels (duty free if you’re travelling internationally) and take them on board.
BUT, if your journey to Sydney includes a transit or transfer to a connecting flight at another airport your carry on baggage will probably be re-screened. Your newly bought bottles of whisky or gin won’t make it through.
So don’t bother pulling out the credit card to buy them unless you’ll be able to repack them into your checked in luggage before going through the second set of scanners.
That means: only if you can pick up your checked luggage from the carousel, have time for re packing bags and can physically check them in again for the second leg of the journey.
If your luggage is checked through to Australia then you can’t buy your duty free until after you’ve gone through the last set of scanners. I’ve highlighted this as I, forgetting my own advice, had to put two perfectly good, brand new, unopened bottles in the bin in Singapore the last time I came to Sydney. Airline luggage regulations are sent to try us!
This is not a problem if you’re arriving in Sydney, or transiting through it. Sydney International Airport (but not Domestic) has incoming duty free shops where you can buy liquids, aerosols and gels. The added bonus is that you don’t have to carry or stow bottles.
Fees for Additional Baggage
Most carriers will let you buy more luggage allowance for your Sydney flight, so that you’re not left paying excess baggage fees at the airport. This needs to be bought in advance – at the very latest before you check in. As always, contact the operator of your Australian flight for details. It’s still pretty expensive, but not a patch on those appalling excess baggage rates.
Dangerous Goods are any things that might endanger the safety of an aircraft or its passengers. They’re also called restricted articles, hazardous materials and dangerous cargo. You can’t take them on board. Not as carry on and not as checked luggage. Except in certain limited circumstances. Dangerous goods you can’t take with you.
There are things that you might not think of as dangerous goods when you’re packing luggage for Sydney; but they are totally forbidden by airline luggage regulations. These include knives, batteries (except those for your personal computer, camera etc) and things such as mace, pepper spray and similar irritant or incapacitating substances. (You’re highly unlikely to need these in Australia anyway).
Smoker or not, you are completely banned from carrying anything but safety matches (one small packet) or a cigarette lighter. And these must be in your pocket, not in your luggage.
What’s more, if you carry a torch cigarette lighter to, from or through the United States or its territories, the US authorities will impose heavy penalties. Their airline luggage regulations ban these types of lighters from being carried on planes at all.
At Sydney Australia Airport – Customs and quarantine
Although they’re not airline luggage regulations, Australian customs and quarantine laws can also restrict what you bring with you to Sydney.