Earlier this month, Jetstar announced it was going to start actively policing carry-on baggage to make sure people weren't trying to shirk its weight and size rules. Now fellow low-cost carrier Tiger Airways Australia is doing the same thing.
As we pointed out in our recent guide to domestic baggage fees, on Tiger you can't carry more than two bags on board, and they can't have a combined weight of more than 10kg. When Tiger first launched in Australia and all passengers had to check in at the airport, carry-on baggage was routinely weighed to see if it exceeded those limits. After Tiger introduced web check-in, that obviously became trickier to enforce.
The solution? A staff member at the gate whose only job is to check if your bag meets the limits. If it doesn't, you'll have to pay the at-airport fee for putting it in hold, and on Tiger that's quite likely to be more than your ticket. The minimum fee is $70, and on flights above one hour 45 minutes, it goes up to $85, with additional per-kilo charges for anything over 15kg. In other words, a 20kg bag on a short flight which you're forced to check at the gate will cost you $175.
Tiger will officially start enforcing the policy from 18 September, though apparently the gate checkers have been deployed at some airports for eight months already in an "educational" capacity. For the first three months of the new policy, Tiger says it will discount any applicable fees by "up to 40%". Our advice? Don't risk it. Pay for checked baggage in advance, or make sure you stay under the limits. For advice on that, check our guide to the best clever packing tricks.