The right hand luggage size when flying: Requirements and restrictions of different airlines

By Anna Veselova-SolovoniukApr 18, 2024 14:20 PMFlight
The right hand luggage size when flying: Requirements and restrictions of different airlines
The best choice of carry-on baggage on an airplane. Source: Photographer Dids./Pexels

You don't need to digest a bunch of information on hand luggage size on airplanes as we've compiled everything you need in one article. Most airlines put up the same requirements and restrictions on the size of hand luggage and its contents, so you will be able to go through the control more calmly, knowing that all the information is taken into account. Don't listen to those who accidentally managed to outsmart the system by a couple of centimeters or to carry a slightly larger volume of bottles because you will have a rest ahead of you and it should start already at the airport. We will tell you what the exact size of a suitcase or backpack is considered hand luggage, what the exact weight of hand luggage should be when flying, what "personal item" can be carried in addition to hand luggage and many other interesting questions on which travellers from all over the world got caught. Restrictions of the most popular airlines and destinations on hand luggage are also in our review: everything you need to know about hand luggage on airplanes.

The right hand luggage size when flying: Requirements and restrictions of different airlines
Already packed? Then measure again. Source: Max Vakhtbovycn/Pexels

Exact hand luggage size for flights

You can google the difference in carry-on luggage sizes by an inch or two, but how important it is. Let's memorize the exact size of hand luggage that you definitely won't have any questions with: 22/14/ 9 inches. With these parameters, you will be able to pass through the control quickly and have the necessary things at hand on board. Don't wait for your luggage to be handed over, it's already with you. Carry-on luggage helps you travel faster, more mobile and more relaxed.

Exact maximum weight of hand baggage

Hand luggage weight can only be checked if your backpack seems overstuffed and you are unable to lift your suitcase yourself. Companies specify a weight of up to 10 kg to ensure maximum safety on board. You are unlikely to come across another figure unless you are flying small planes or small airlines. For small planes, the hand luggage weight limit can be as low as 5 kg. There are examples where airlines don't put restrictions at all, such as Delta, Southwest, and JetBlue. Realizing that the restrictions are for your safety, and not a whim, is an important point in guaranteeing peace of mind and lack of irritation. A little bit of a hack for you to fit more stuff in your carry-on luggage can be vacuum bags. The main thing is not to put in them things that will definitely be needed on the plane: an extra sweater or headphones, or your child's favorite toy.

The right hand luggage size when flying: Requirements and restrictions of different airlines
What is a personal item on an airplane?. Source: Pixabay/Pexels


Personal item in addition to carry-on luggage

A lot of questions arise when it comes to personal belongings and here not everything is so unambiguous. The guarantee of peace of mind will be the small size of the thing. For example, you can safely take a laptop bag, your personal purse, a small beach bag or even a suit case with a suit or a wedding dress in addition to your hand luggage. The latter is a great solution for those who want to take an extra pair of shoes or suit but don't want to check their luggage and wait for a baggage claim. Families can take the opportunity to take a small travel cane stroller or stroller case for the baby. It should fold up as much as possible and not take up more space than a beach bag, for example.

Those who are especially nervous before the flight and vacation can contact the airline and clarify on your "personal item".

Suitcase or backpack: which is better for hand luggage

There are quite a few different opinions here. The two options have their pros and cons. A suitcase may not hold the necessary amount of things, but it serves as a guarantee of passing the necessary inches. A backpack or a soft bag has the property to stretch, but you need to remember that hand luggage must fit in the check frame. It's up to you, but here's what you need to remember: it should be a sturdy bag that will not tear or fall off the handles during the trip; the bag should be as light as possible to fill it to the maximum; better wheels than 10 kg on the shoulder; the parameters should meet the requirements of the airline.

The right hand luggage size when flying: Requirements and restrictions of different airlines
Don't even think about it!. Source: Spencer Gurley Films/Pexels

What you can and cannot carry in your hand luggage

This is a very important question and many people get caught on it. We hear frequent stories when passengers have their creams, toothpastes, deodorants, etc confiscated. It's all about strict restrictions on the volume of bottles and their mandatory packaging. Learn it by heart: containers of any liquid or creamy substance must be no larger than 3.4 ounces. You've probably seen travel kits in clear bags shaped like empty small bottles, this is it. The store may have a section with reduced beauty products: this is so you don't have to throw anything out and leave it out for inspection. Transfer shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, lens fluid, or buy straight up in a small container. Transporting cosmetics in a clear zipper bag is also mandatory. This is not a whim. The fact is that the pressure in the airplane can easily open one of the bottles and your stuff will end up in shampoo, cream or gel. Each carrier's website lists the exact things that are not allowed in carry-on luggage.

The right hand luggage size when flying: Requirements and restrictions of different airlines
Always check the size of your hand luggage on the website of the airline you are flying with. Source: Asad Photo Maldives/Pexels

International carry-on baggage standards

This is especially useful for travellers who frequently travel outside of the United States. The international standard for carry-on luggage is 21 inches or less. Keep this size in mind when using regional flights, their airplanes are not large, so the size and weight standards may be smaller. Now you'll see what we mean as there are examples of different airlines' requirements for the size of carry-on luggage you take on board below. Look for your favorite airline in the list below.

American Airlines and carry-on luggage

Size: 22/14/10 inches.

Weight: not specified.

Personal item: 18/14/8 inches. Must fit under the seat in front of you and not interfere with passengers in front and to the side.

Information applies to basic economy class as well.

Alaska Airlines and carry-on luggage

Size: 22/14/9 inches.

Weight: not specified.

Personal item: small ladies' and men's handbag, briefcase or laptop bag.

Allegiant Air and carry-on luggage

Size: 22/14/9 inches, plus an additional fee of $10 to $75.

Weight: not specified.

Personal item: 7/15/16 inches.

Note that it is the carry-on baggage, not the personal item, that will be charged the additional fee.

Delta Air Lines and carry-on luggage

Size: 22/14/9 inches.

Weight: not specified.

Personal item: small size purse, briefcase, diaper bag or camera and laptop case.

Few exceptions for minimal risk:

Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN): hand luggage weight not exceeding 15 pounds (7 kg).

Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK): hand luggage weight 22 pounds (10 kg) even for regional flights.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG): carry-on baggage weight is 22 pounds (10 kg).

Frontier airlines and hand luggage

Size: 24/16/10 inches.

Weight: 35 lbs.

Personal item: 8/18/14 inches.

JetBlue and carry-on luggage

Size: 22/14/9 inches.

Weight: not specified.

Personal item: 17/13/8 inches.

More space underfoot and fewer restrictions to personal belongings: that's the company slogan.

Hawaiian Airlines and carry-on luggage

Size: 45 linear inches.

Weight: 25 lbs.

Personal item: 1 item that fits under the seat in front of you.

Southwest airlines and carry-on baggage

Size: 24/16/10 inches.

Weight: not specified.

Personal item: 18.5/8.5/13.5 inches. The main requirement is that it fits under the seat in front of you without getting in anyone's way.

Spirit Airlines and carry-on luggage

Size: 22/18/10 inches.

Weight: not specified.

Personal item: 18/14/8 inches.

United Airlines and carry-on luggage

Size: 22/14/9 inches.

Weight: not specified.

Personal item: 17/10/9 inches.

The right hand luggage size when flying: Requirements and restrictions of different airlines
You shouldn't trust your child to stow your suitcase. Source: Anna Shvets/Pexels

Don't repeat such mistakes at the airport and on board

  • Two elderly people were being screened at the airport. The elderly lady passed without problems, but the detector on the man kept beeping. They took off and removed all metal objects, but it did not help. And then the caring lady remembered that she had pinned her husband's underwear, so that they wouldn't jinx him.
  • One pompous lady tried to get on the plane, on board of which she did not want to be allowed. With a long and loud finding out why, it turned out that her plane left yesterday.
  • Mom and child were on board the flying airplane. The child was looking through the window with interest, suddenly shouting, "Mom, our wing is on fire". Before we understood that it was sun's rays and that is why it became orange, many passengers felt extremely uneasy.
  • It's worth checking your personal purse before leaving the house and heading to the airport. A caring son or daughter can put you there a lot of interesting things for which you will have to blush at the airport during inspection. For example, a toy grenade or gun to keep mom safe.
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