Air New Zealand cracking down on carry-on baggage rulebreakers

Ever been irritated as someone delays your flight by struggling to fit an obviously oversized bag into the overhead locker? Ever been miffed at having to stow your own carry-on far from your seat because your neighbour hogged all the space?

Air New Zealand is looking to ease these frustrations with a crackdown on carry-on luggage rulebreakers - so if you're someone who has enjoyed sneaking more onboard than you're supposed to, those good times may be over.

Like all airlines, Air NZ must carefully calculate the weight, balance and fuel requirements of every flight to ensure it flies safely and efficiently, meaning there are rules for how much we can take with us on the plane.

But some airlines are more relaxed than others at enforcing those rules.

A recent post on Reddit launched a discussion about how Air NZ is perceived as being less strict than Jetstar at enforcing carry-on rules in Aotearoa - but recent airport activity suggests that's changing.

Now Air NZ GM Airports, Kate Boyer, has confirmed the airline is "taking a little closer look" at carry-on to stop people taking the mickey.

"Lately, our airport teams have noticed that some customers' carry-on baggage has been pushing the upper limits of weight, size, and the number of items allowed, which poses challenges including limited space onboard the aircraft, slower boarding and disembarking of the aircraft, and reduced overhead locker capacity for all customers," Boyer told Newshub.

"For these reasons, we're taking a little closer look at customers' carry-on baggage at the airport and we will be asking customers whose baggage exceeds limits to check in their bags. If you end up with a little more weight than expected after packing, we recommend you add a checked bag to your booking before you fly."

The national carrier's rules state economy passengers can carry on one bag that weighs up to 7kg and has dimensions not more than 118cm, plus a small item like a handbag or laptop.

Premium economy and business passengers, or loyalty programme members of gold status or higher, can take more onboard; for them it's one small item as well as two bags totalling up to 14kg.

The Reddit post, entitled 'Air NZ has had enough of your BS', has had 175 comments at the time of writing, with the majority being in favour of a carry-on crackdown.

"Good! Some people abuse it and never get pulled up," one said. "I had someone last week with multiple bags think they could shove all their bags under the seat in front of them (their feet were on top of the bag), and underneath the seat in front of ME too! Come on mate, get real."

Another said: "The number of people who can't figure out that the bags go 'stacked in, standing up, like books' gets me every time. The bins fit your roller bag Tracy, just orient it right."

Some commenters agreed with stricter controls, but argued the rules needed to change or allow for special cases like those taking heavy camera batteries onboard as they're not allowed to be checked in.

"I don't mind the size constraints but the 7kg weight limit needs increasing. Pretty easy to go over that as a business traveller with a standard laptop and basic overnight stuff. Always fly Air NZ as they have never weighed by backpack where Jetstar always does," said one.

Another placed some blame on Air NZ for advertising the 'seat only' option on domestic, trans-Tasman and Pacific airfares.

"It's somewhat their own fault as they have been pushing for years now that the default pricing is carry-on only. Maybe just a mental thing, but the logic moved from 'I can save money if I take carry-on only' to 'I have to pay money to take check in'," they argued.

One commenter who claimed to have worked as a flight attendant noted: "I've seen people try to cram the dumbest shit into the overhead bins or even under the seat and then get mad if we told them they had to go on hold. Gate staff also need to step the f**k up because they let slide a lot of shit and say 'the cabin crew can deal with it'. They cannot."

Air NZ did not provide further details on the scope of the increased enforcement or its timeframe.