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What is Carry-on Baggage, Size and Restriction Policies by Airlines

When you fly to your destination on any given airline, the airline carrier allows its passengers to only bring along certain types and sizes of luggage onboard their plane. So, when you plan your trip, you also need to make sure what luggage you want to take with you. Airlines can be picky with the items that you carry, therefore, you should give a second thought before packing the items.

In this blog, we will take a detailed look at what is a carry-on baggage and also the policies that major and low-cost airline carriers regulate.

What is a Carry-On Baggage/Luggage?

A carry-on baggage or luggage refers to the items that you as a passenger can carry onboard the flight. Thus, a carry-on baggage often consists of:

(i) a “personal item” which can be in the form of a hand bag, and/or

(ii) a “trolley bag” that contain a lot more items

For instance, common carry-on baggage may include a small or medium-sized trolley bag and one hand bag. Since travellers will need to carry a few essential items for their trip, an airline carrier cannot refuse. Bear in mind that size and weight of your carry-on baggage also play a key role.

The most common types of carry-on luggage that passengers can take with them onboard the planes are listed below:

  • Small purse
  • Laptop bag
  • Small backpack
  • Handbag
  • Briefcase
  • Trolley bag
  • Children’s Diaper bag

These are usually the most common luggage that travellers can bring along as carry-on on flights.

Additionally, the items that you carry in your carry-on baggage must also go through security checks, and all prohibited items will be held back by the airport authorities.

What Policies do Airline Carriers Have Toward Carry-on Baggage?

Generally speaking, in the aviation industry, airline carriers too, need to follow certain guidelines, whether it’s about passenger capacity or the items that passengers are and are not allowed to carry along.

Usually, most airlines will allow you to carry only a few essential items in your carry-on baggage. There are many reasons to it, and airlines also issue these guidelines, which you can read on their websites.

The following will give you a brief idea about the policies that airline carriers regulate with regard to carry-on baggage on flights.

Carry-on Baggage Size and Weight Restrictions

Airlines are strict about the size and weight of carry-on baggage. One primary yet crucial reason is that airlines have to maintain a weight balance of the aircraft when flying thousands of feet high in the sky. Therefore, to prevent serious mishaps from occurring while en-route, airlines allow a standard size and weight for carry-on baggage that passengers can bring onboard flights.

There are also several other equally important reasons with regard to the size and weight of luggage. For example, the storage space available in the overhead bin and under the seat is limited, so travellers must carry baggage that can fit in these spaces.

Usually, the standard carry-on baggage size and weight that is allowed on domestic and international flights also differs.

Here is a list in alphabetical order of a few popular airline carriers with their carry-on baggage size and weight limits.

AeroMexico

Size (in inches): 22 x 14 x 9 / 55 x 35 x 22

Weight (in kg): 22 / 10

Air Canada

Size (in inches): 21.5 x 15.5 x 9 / 54 x 39 x 22

Weight (in kg): 22 / 10

Air France

Size (in inches): 21.7 x 13.8 x 9.9 / 55 x 35 x 25

Weight (in kg): 22 / 10

Alaska Airlines

Size (in inches): 22 x 14 x 9 / 55 x 35 x 22

Weight (in kg): None

Allegiant Airlines

Size (in inches): 16 x 15 x 7 / 40 x 38 x 18

Weight (in kg): None

ANA All Nippon Airways

Size (in inches): 22 x 16 x 10 / 55 x 40 x 25

Weight (in kg): 20 / 10

American Airlines

Size (in inches): 22 x 14 x 9 / 55 x 35 x 22

Weight (in kg): None

British Airways

Size (in inches): 22 x 16 x 10 / 56 x 45 x 25

Weight (in kg): 51 / 23

Cathay Pacific

Size (in inches): 22 x 14 x 9 / 56 x 36 x 23

Weight (in kg): 15 / 7

Delta Airlines

Size (in inches): 22 x 14 x 9 / 55 x 35 x 22

Weight (in kg): None

Emirates

Size (in inches): 22 x 15 x 8 / 55 x 38 x 20

Weight (in kg): 15 / 7

Frontier Airlines

Size (in inches): 24 x 16 x 10 / 60 x 40 x 25

Weight (in kg): 35 / 16

Hawaiian Airlines

Size (in inches): 22 x 14 x 9 / 55 x 35 x 22

Weight (in kg): 25 / 11

JetBlue Airlines

Size (in inches): 22 x 14 x 9 / 55 x 35 x 22

Weight (in kg): None

KLM Dutch Royal Airlines

Size (in inches): 21.5 x 13.5 x 10 / 54 x 34 x 25

Weight (in kg): 26 / 12

Lufthansa

Size (in inches): 21.6 x 15.7 x 9 / 54 x 39 x 22

Weight (in kg): 17 / 8

Norwegian Air

Size (in inches): 21. 6 x 15.7 x 9 / 55 x 40 x 23

Weight (in kg): 30 / 10-15

Scandinavian Airlines

Size (in inches): 22 x 16 x 9 / 55 x 40 x 22

Weight (in kg): 18 / 8

Southwest Airlines

Size (in inches): 24 x 16 x 10 / 60 x 40 x 25

Weight (in kg): None

Spirit Airlines

Size (in inches): 22 x 18 x 10 / 55 x 45 x 25

Weight (in kg): None

Sun Country Airlines

Size (in inches): 24 x 16 x 11 / 60 x 40 x 27

Weight (in kg): 35 / 16

Thai Airways

Size (in inches): 22 x 18 x 10 / 55 x 45 x 25

Weight (in kg): 15 / 7

United Airlines

Size (in inches): 22 x 14 x 9 / 55 x 35 x 22

Weight (in kg): None

Virgin Atlantic

Size (in inches): 22 x 14 x 9 / 55 x 35 x 22

Weight (in kg): 22 / 10

Carry-on Items Allowed

The items that can be carried onboard the plane may vary from one airline to another.

A few such items may include:

  • Some laptop models
  • Smartphone and tablet
  • Headphone
  • Essential items for babies/children
  • Sanitary items
  • Musical instruments
  • Adventure kit

There may be other carry-on items that you could be allowed to take with you, as long as it does not pose any danger to you, other passengers and crew or the aircraft.

Carry-on Items Not Allowed

There a couple of items which are not permitted to be carried onboard the plane. A few such items include:

  • Weapons
  • Box cutters
  • Aerosol cans
  • Pepper sprays
  • Lithium batteries
  • Lighters
  • Sharp objects
  • Alcohol
  • Other liquids that are larger than 3.4 ounces (100 ml)
  • Food items
  • Certain laptop models

Carry-on Baggage Fees

While most airline carriers may charge additional fees for carry-on baggage, on the other hand, some airlines may permit these for free. For instance, a few low-cost airline carriers based in the United States, such as Frontier Airlines, Allegiant Air, Spirit Airlines and Sun Country Airlines charge a certain fee for carry-on baggage, however, they do not charge for a personal item.

Each airline has its own policy for carry-on baggage fees charged which can be found on their websites.

Conclusion

It is always a good idea to carry as little items possible for your journey. This can save you a great deal of trouble, cost and time.

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