Several Hong Kong-based airlines have lowered the ceiling for free carry-on luggage and charge passengers more for excess checked baggage, Sky Post reported on Tuesday.
At Hong Kong Express Airways, free carry-on luggage will be limited to 7 kilograms from 10, while passengers will pay 33 percent more for a 20-kilogram checked luggage on a flight of more than three hours, according to the newspaper. The new rules will take effect from September.
Hong Kong Airlines unveiled a similar policy in April. Business class passengers are only allowed up to 30 kilograms of luggage in the overhead bins, from 69 kilograms previously. Jeju Air, meanwhile, only allows 15 kilograms of free carry-on luggage.
Carriers usually make low-profile changes to their luggage policy so as not to attract too much attention from passengers, according to an editor of travel website Flyday.hk.
HK Express said its new luggage rules were prompted by rising fuel consumption, which results from increased cargo weight.
But Dr. Peter Wong Chi-chung, a lecturer with Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said fuel costs could not be the reason for the move as jet fuel prices have been stable since April 2011.
Amid the fierce competition in the market, budget airlines usually adjust luggage charges and jet fuel surcharges to reduce the ticket price and attract more passengers, Wong said.
By reducing carry-on luggage, carriers will have more space for paid cargoes and opportunity to increase their revenue, he said.
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