Current Rules For Carry On Luggage
By: Brian Jenkins
There are many different rules that govern what is and what is not permitted on airlines. One thing that makes these rules particularly difficult to understand is that they change frequently. When you are not a frequent flyer it makes it difficult to understand what is allowed and what is not.
To make your trip as simple as possible, here are some guidelines on traveling with carry on luggage.
Fitting it all in
- Carrying liquid, aerosol and gel products. These items are permitted on carry on baggage, but there are conditions to their inclusion. The containers that carry the materials must be capable of transporting three ounces or less of the product. Larger containers that contain three ounces or less are not permitted; the container itself must be this size.
- Contain your container. The containers that house your products should be contained within a quart sized bag. The bag should have a zip top, rather than a fold over top. It also cannot be tied shut. Larger bags are not permitted.
- Be prepared at security. When you go through the security checkpoint, the bags containing liquid, aerosol or gel must be placed on the conveyor belt so that the security agent can easily inspect the materials.
- Know the rules. If you have baby food, either formula or breast milk, or medications that could be affected by the x-ray process, know that you have certain rights. You are also permitted to carry more than three ounces of certain items, such as baby formula and medication. If you believe that you have a reason that permits you to receive special treatment, there is a special procedure to follow. The items must be declared and presented for additional inspection during the security screening.
- Only pack what you need. The three-ounce limit is not much, if you need to carry more liquids, aerosols or gels, it should be packed in your checked luggage.
Once you know how to pack the items that you plan to take on your trip, it is important to know how much you can take. Many people prefer to take as much of their items as carry on as possible because they want to keep their bags with them. By carrying on the bags, they eliminate the need to claim their bags later, as well as the worry about losing the luggage.
Each airline has its own requirements for carry on bags, and it makes sense to check with the airline that you are using before you pack for your flight. If you show up at the airport with a bag that is too large or to heavy to carry on, there will not be time to go home and repack, you will have to check the bag. The standard size carry on limit is 45 inches. These measurements include the height plus the depth plus the length. The combined total should not exceed 45 inches. The most common size bag that meets this limit is 22 by 14 by 9.
Each carry on bag has a weight limit as well. Again, each airline will have its own rules, and carry vary from 20 to 45 pounds, depending on the carrier. Again, check before you pack. If you think that you are reaching the upper limit of what you can carry on, check the bag before leaving home. Simply weigh yourself, and then weigh yourself again, holding your bag. The difference is the weight of your bag.
The last consideration is how much you can carry on. Most airlines restrict carry on luggage to one bag and one additional personal item. The personal item typically includes a purse, briefcase or laptop bag. On flights that are not overcrowded, you may be permitted to carry on additional items, but you should not count on that when packing your bag. If you want to carry on more items, pack carefully. Consider sticking your purse inside your laptop bag, or your book or umbrella, both of which are considered personal items, inside your backpack, also considered a personal item.
The rules regarding carry on luggage are in place for a reason. The main goal is the safety of the passengers. Flammable liquids are not permitted, either accidentally or intentionally, and too many bags lead to too extra weight in the plane. Even with the best of intentions, it is often difficult to determine exactly what the rules are. Because the rules vary from airline to airline, it is important to check with the provider that you are using if you have any questions. By the time that you arrive at the airport, it is too late to make any changes to your bags. Knowing the rules ahead of time will help prevent any added stress or frustration when passing through security.
Brian Jenkins is a freelance writer who writes about topics and tips involving the travel industry and special deals, often discussing specific subjects such as cheap flights.
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