Airline Weight Loss

Last updated: May 31, 2014
Weight Scales

Lion Air, Wings Air and Citilink quietly reduce their checked baggage allowances.

Until recently, almost all Indonesian airlines offered a free 20kg checked baggage allowance.



Citlink logo 20kg baggage allowance 15kg baggage allowance
Lion Air logo 20kg baggage allowance 15kg baggage allowance
Wings Air logo 15kg baggage allowance 10kg baggage allowance

However, in the last six months a number have reduced their baggage allowances.

Lion Air baggage allowance announcement
Lion Air’s hi-tech publicity campaign

This change was barely publicised, with Lion Air only notifying travel agents, not the general public. Citilink’s statement only says that 15kg would be “enough”.

The author doesn’t know, but here are some possible reasons.

1. Reduce Fuel Costs
In the second half of 2013, the value of the Indonesian Rupiah decreased significantly against many currencies. Jet fuel is priced in $US and became more expensive. Increased fuel costs hurt profit margins and played a role in the likely demise of Sky Aviation and Merpati Airlines.

Perhaps these airlines were looking to offset fuel costs with a reduced overall weight of the plane. Airlines have now been given official approval to pass on fuel surcharges to passengers, so this is less of a problem than before.

2. Two Brand Strategy



Lion Air logo
Citlink logo

Lion Air and Citilink operate closer to the budget end of the airline spectrum, with e.g. no free in-flight food/drink or entertainment.

The Lion Air group also operates a full-service airline, called Batik Air. Similarly, Citilink originally came from Indonesia’s national airline, the full-service Garuda Indonesia.

Perhaps airline management made a conscious decision to make each airline more different/distinctive, so that one airline doesn’t steal customers from the other.

3. Safety
Having lived in Indonesia for almost 10 years, the author feels qualified to mention the following without it being considered rude or offensive: a small but dedicated group of local passengers regularly bring more than the permitted baggage allowance, yet don’t understand why that could be a problem or could incur excess baggage fees. (These are the same passengers that used to bring their suitcase on AirAsia as cabin baggage to avoid paying for checked baggage, until AirAsia instituted a policy of compulsory purchase of minimum 15kg baggage allowance).

While non-budget airlines in the past have been slow to enforce baggage limits in the past, perhaps they are now more enthusiastic in this area, especially with increased fuel costs (see #1). This blogger certainly thinks so, having been asked to pay extra for his 18kg bag, 3kg over the maximum permitted on his Lion Air flight.

Wings Air ATR72-500
Wings Air: 10kg
Garuda ATR72-500
Garuda Indonesia: 20kg

The 10kg allowance for Wings Air flights does seem a little stingy, particularly when Garuda Indonesia passengers using exactly the same model of plane (ATR72-500) can still enjoy a 20kg checked baggage allowance.

Some passengers who have already purchased their flight tickets might be concerned.

The good news is that Indonesian excess baggage fees are relatively low. The blogger mentioned above paid Rp22 000 ($US1.90 € 1,50 £1.25) per kg for Jakarta to Medan, a 2½ hour flight. For shorter flights, the rate would be lower.

For Citilink flights, the excess baggage fee is Rp15 000 ($US1.40 € 1,00 £0.80) per kg for all routes.

There is also no plan to introduce a fat flyer surcharge.

16 Comments on “Airline Weight Loss”

  1. Chris says:

    A client has reported that Wings Air are enforcing their new baggage allowance of 10kg per person:

    the 10 kg luggage weight restriction to Sumba on Wings was strictly enforced. Our luggage came in at 21 kg for the 2 of us and we had to unpack some things.

  2. Ian says:

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for keeping the world up to date about Indonesia’s travel quirks.

    About the weight reduction and specifically the blogger you link to: is he saying that the carry-on weight restriction of 7kg is being strictly enforced? My concern isn’t now so much the extra charge, but the dimensions of the carry-on. If it’s so small, we’ll have to get new bags.


  3. Chris says:

    Hi Ian,

    The blogger is complaining in Indonesian that Lion Air (Jakarta to Medan) and Wings Air (Medan to Nias) have:

    1. Reduced their checked baggage allowances – Lion Air to 15kg and Wings to 10kg without alerting their passengers.

    2. Making customers who are unaware of these changes pay excess baggage fees, even as little as 3kg.

    He doesn’t comment about cabin baggage restrictions, but helpfully includes this picture about cabin baggage dimensions:

    Having flown Lion Air and Wings Air several times, there has never been any system of weighing cabin baggage and I suspect there never will be. But for the record, this is what the latest conditions of carriage say:

    3.0 Cabin Baggage Regulations:
    Passengers are allowed to carry luggage only 1 (one) piece with a maximum of weight 7 (seven) kg, and maximum dimension of 40 cm x 30 cm x 20 cm and a bag of personal items for use during the trip (personal items).

    Cabin baggage is accepted subject in the cabin subject to availability of space in the over head bin. Restricted stowage space is also available under the front seat. In the event no space being available in the aircraft to stow cabin baggage, it will be necessary to remove and load the same in the baggage hold as per safety regulations.

    Articles which may be carried free in addition to the free baggage allowance (subject to security regulation):

    1. A Lady’s handbag, pocketbook or purse, which is appropriate to normal traveling dress and is not being used as a container for the transportation of articles which would otherwise be regarded as baggage.
    2. An overcoat, wrap or blanket.
    3. A small camera and/or a pair of binoculars.
    4. Infant’s food for consumption in flight
    5. Infant’s carrying basket.
    6. An umbrella or walking stick.
    7. A reasonable amount of reading matter for the flight.
    8. A fully collapsible invalid’s wheelchair and/or pair of crutches and/or braces or other prosthetic device for the passenger’s use, provided that the passenger is dependent upon them.


  4. Chris says:

    Since 3 December 2014, Lion Air domestic flights have a 20kg baggage allowance.

    The baggage allowance on Wings Air flights, however, remains 10kg.

  5. Millerslocal says:

    Hi Chris – do you know what current Citilink baggage allowance is, and whether one is able to prepay for excess baggage online? Do you know if their Rp100 000 surfboard fee still applies? Thanks

  6. Chris says:

    Hi Millerslocal,

    The Citilink baggage allowance remains 15kg. You can purchase additional baggage when buying the ticket, but cannot prepay afterwards. Yes, the surfboard fee still applies, and may have increased since then. More about surfboard fees

  7. Katriani says:

    Hi Chris,

    Do you know if Lion Air baggage allowance is still 20kg for domestic flights on economy class? I know it used to be 20 and then 15, and recently I heard it’s back to 20kg.

  8. Chris says:

    Hi Katriani,

    Please see earlier comment:

    Since 3 December 2014, Lion Air domestic flights have a 20kg baggage allowance.

    The baggage allowance on Wings Air flights, however, remains 10kg.

  9. Jesh says:

    Nope, I travelled from Jakarta to Singapore in Nov 2015 and baggage allowance was 15kg for checked in luggage.

  10. Chris says:

    Jesh, it says DOMESTIC flights.

  11. Ray says:

    Hi Chris, any idea if Lionair does a refund on online bookings made with Promo fares and also how much do they charge per kilo excess baggage on domestic flights? Thanks.

  12. Chris says:

    Hi Ray,

    The latest Lion Air refund policy for the cheaper fare classes is that there is a cancellation fee of Rp250 000 per flight per ticket.

    Lion Air excess baggage fees vary by distance flown and the $US/Rp exchange rate, i.e. longer flights will have higher fees than shorter fees. As a rough guide it can be about $US1 per kg per hour of flying time, e.g. $US2.50/kg for a 2½ hour flight from Jakarta to Medan. However, you would pay in Rupiah cash when checking in; you can’t pre-purchase additional baggage allowance.

  13. Hayley says:

    Hi, we are flying wings are from Bali to Lombok in a couple of weeks and will likely have over the 10kg of checked luggage allowance. Are we definitely ok to pay for excess luggage at the airport?
    They won’t make us unpack and leave items?

  14. Chris says:

    Hi Hayley,

    Yes, it is ok to pay for excess luggage when checking in.

    Wings Air would prefer to make money rather than creating a practical problem for passengers. Also, Wings Air don’t offer an option to pre-purchase additional baggage allowance.

    It will probably only be the Rupiah equivalent of about $US1 per kg because it is a short flight, which compared to rates in many other countries is a bargain.

  15. Sha says:

    Hi Chris, was wondering whether Batik air allows for pre-purchasing additional luggage or can we simply pay at the airport..and any idea how much it will cost? I’ll be traveling from jogja to Jakarta and am a tad concerned that 20kg might not be enough. Thanks

  16. Chris says:

    Hi Sha,

    You can pay at the airport; you cannot pre-purchase.

    The price per kg depends on the exchange, price of fuel, etc but it will be in the range of $US1-2 per kg, paid in Rupiah cash.

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