Have you ever arrived at the airport just to realise you have too many bags with you? We all have. Every avid traveler ignores the airplane luggage regulations or forgets how many bags can you carry on a plane from time to time. Whether it’s out of pure laziness or whether you were in a hurry and couldn’t find the time to check the information beforehand, we don’t blame you.

Luggage at airport seating area

However, planning and carefully packing the essential can not only make your travel smooth but speed up the screening process, thus making your trip less stressful.

In fact, here are a couple of tips that should come in handy before boarding on a flight of your life.

Dimensions Allowed for Carry-On Luggage

The biggest problem people face at the airport is having to pay high fees for checking the luggage in the luggage hold because they forgot to measure the dimensions of their carry-on baggage. Even worse, they have to leave their bags behind. Some airlines are quite strict when it comes to the carry-on luggage size you’re allowed to have, and there’s a perfectly logical explanation to this.

The upper compartments in the aircraft cabin can hold up to a certain number of carry-on or handbags, so if your bag exceeds the recommended size, your seatmate could lose their bag space, or vice-versa.

What’s more, airline crew can ask you to check your luggage size at the gate in specifically-designed sizers. If the bag doesn’t fit, you’ll be asked to check the carry-on in the luggage hold and pay an additional fee.

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Therefore, ensure your luggage can meet accessibility guidelines at all times. Especially if you’re traveling with a budget airline, where every inch of space counts.

Most airlines allow the carry-on dimensions to be up to 22 x 14 x 9 inches or 56 x 36 x 23 cm including handles for domestic flights. Nevertheless, maximum dimensions vary by airline, and it’s smart to check the requirements for your carry-on items prior to the trip.

What Can I Have in My Carry-On Luggage?

According to the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) website, you can carry firm foods, solid snacks, makeup in a clear, resealable bag, nail clippers, blankets, bobby pins, dry batteries, phone chargers, etc. For more information, visit the TSA website.

Just to make clear, you can have toiletries in the form of paste and liquids. However, all liquids must be in travel-size containers of up to 3.4 ounces or 100 ml. The rules apply to all of the liquids, gels and aerosols. Except for storing them in a container, you will have to put them in a clear plastic bag. Also, make sure you’re following the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule.

In case your liquids, gels or aerosols are larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 ml, you will have to take them out of your carry-on and place them in the checked luggage or throw them away.

The most important word of advice is to avoid packing prohibited items, such as spray paint, tear gas, sharp objects (knives), loaded guns, self-defense items such as pepper spray, as well as flammable or explosive items like matches.

Read more: Can you take a pen on a plane?

The Weight of My Carry-On Luggage

Carry-on luggage restrictions are different from one airline to another, but you will often find them to be between 11 and 26.4 pounds or 5 and 12 kilograms. Again, you must check the details with your preferred airline.

If you have more stuff and you’re comfortable taking a backpack as your carry-on, opt for a backpack. It will take up less of the weight limit than the bulky suitcase.

Carry-on luggage

The staff at the airport may weigh your bag. Any bag that exceeds the weight restrictions will have to end up in the checked luggage. Once more, you’ll pay an often pricey fee for having a bag that’s too heavy.

If you still have too much weight on you, make sure you:

  • wear your personal items such as cameras or laptops with you if the airline allows it
  • fill your pockets and wear the bulkiest shoes you have taken with you
  • restrict to one bag only – that way you’ll be less suspicious and they probably won’t weigh your bag.

How Many Bags Can I Carry on a Plane

Numerous inexperienced travelers ask themselves “how many bags can I carry on a plane?” As mentioned, you can have a carry-on bag that will be transferred to checked luggage in case it is too big or too heavy. Even if you are careful not to overstuff your bag, the cabin hold might be full and you’ll have to have your bag transferred in the luggage hold. In that case, it will be free of charge since it’s the airline’s fault.

Except for one carry-on bag, you can bring one additional personal item. More about that in the section below.

Which Personal Items Can I Have on Board?

In an airline vocabulary, a personal item is an additional carry-on item that can fit in the space below the seat. They must measure less than 18 x 14 x 8 inches or 45,7 x 35,5 x 20,3 centimeters. So, whether you want to take your purse, your laptop bag, a backpack or a briefcase, it must fit under the seat in front of you.

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It is recommended to keep all of your valuables such as watches, jewelry, wallet, money, passports and IDs in your additional bag. Imagine the fear of losing your passport in the checked luggage. Nobody would want to experience that, right?

Personal items are often limited to one but make sure you do your research on the airline’s website ahead of your flight. The essential items like mobile phones, earphones, travel pillows and books don’t count as carry-on items, so store them in the purse of in the briefcase. Also, since your carry-on might be checked when the cabin compartments are full, it’s safe to say that having a purse might save you from unnecessary stress.

What About Traveling Internationally?

When you’re traveling internationally, the standards are mostly weight-based. Still, the checked luggage size allowance is up to 62 linear inches or 157,5 centimeters.

The standard dimensions of a checked piece of luggage on an international flight are around 27 x 21 x 14 inches or 68,5 x 53,3 x 35,5 centimeters. The only thing you need to remember before going abroad is to weigh your luggage so you won’t have problems at the gate. Moreover, make sure to check the information about the number of personal items you can take and the items you should avoid bringing into the plane.

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As flight is truly a nerve-racking process for certain people, they tend to forget to look how many bags they can carry on board and what dimensions should their luggage have. Luckily, the allowed dimensions and the weight of your carry-on bags are somewhat uniform across all airlines.

The rule of thumb is to take one carry-on bag and one carry-on item per person but the restrictions can differ on international flights. What we can advise is to do your little research next time you’re traveling on a plane. It will make both you and the airline crew much happier.