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Looking at the Virgin Australia Checked Baggage information page, I see that Pre-Purchasing an additional piece of checked luggage online costs AUD 35. However, the Excess Baggage Fees for extra pieces purchased at Airport is much higher, at AUD 70!

That makes me wonder - how close to departure can you go online and still be able to add an extra piece of checked luggage that way? Up to a day before departure? Up to 3 hours before? Or could you get to the airport, discover you're over your limit, and fire up a tablet/laptop/phone and add the extra bag then for the lower online rate?

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The Rule is Carrier-Dependent

I could not find a general rule valid across all carriers. In fact, this issue seems to be regulated by carrier-dependent terms and conditions.

Qantas

Qantas allows you to pre-purchase additional baggage allowance from the time of booking up until 3 hours before departure, provided you did not check-in already. As stated in their FAQs:

Additional Baggage Allowance may be purchased directly after booking up to 3 hours before departure (provided the passenger has not checked in for the flight at the airport).

Emirates

Emirates, on the other hand, allow you to purchase extra baggage allowance from 72 hours to 90 minutes before the departure time. Here is the text from their FAQ:

Purchase may be made between 72 hours and 90 minutes prior to flight departure and is valid only for the flight and date shown on the excess baggage purchase receipt.

Virgin Australia

Unfortunately the Virgin Australia term and conditions of carriage do not mention the purchase of additional baggage allowance. I would nonetheless speculate that you are allowed to pre-purchase extra luggage up until you check-in.

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