Airline Baggage Rules

Many airlines have reduced the maximum weight and size of luggage they'll carry for free, some now charge for every bag you check, no matter how small and light, and airlines are increasingly enforcing what used to be a generally overlooked set of rules and penalties.

TSA Prohibited Items

Subject to change :
Aerosols, Chlorine for Pools and Spas
Fireworks, Flammable Liquid, Gel, or Aerosol Paint
Flammable Paints, Fuels, Recreational Oxygen
Turpentine and Paint Thinner
Vehicle Airbags


Baggage means "belongings" of a passenger travelling from one place to another. These allowances are not definitive but will give you a good general idea of the baggage allowances of most major airlines. International flights generally have the same size and weight allowances but may cut down on the number of pieces that can be checked. Also allowance variations can differ depending on the destination country.

Please check with specific Airlines if you are close to any of these limits.

Airline Baggage Rules

These are generalizations of many different airline's specific travel baggage allowances and limitations. Please check with the Airline Websites about specific airlines and flights if you are close to any of these limits. Most airlines will allow oversize or overweight baggage or additional baggage for an additional fee which varies depending on the situation.

Airlines have increased restrictions, and decreased luggage allowances over the years.

First it was the weight from 70lbs to 50lbs. Then it was the overweight and oversize charges that increased. The allowance for sports equipment diminished, and the pieces of luggage for an infant or toddler dropped too. Now some of it can certainly be attributed to the additional fuel costs, but many of these changes occurred before fuel became an issue...and lot of airlines have taken the step of actually charging you to check in any luggage at all.

Airline Specific Carry-on Requirements     eBags Coupons

While each airline has its own set of Carry-On Requirements ....

Each airline has different requirements and may change their policies without notice. Airline Passengers should also note that the airline has the right to modify its rules at any time. Air travelers should never assume that the aircraft they are flying on a given flight will have sufficient storage space onboard to accommodate all the carry-on baggage passengers may want to carry onboard. In these instances, the airline may not allow its passengers to carry the maximum number of pieces onboard. Also, remember not to overstuff your bag, the airlines will most likely ask you to check it.

The ones who have been least affected are those traveling on executive/business/first class airfares, or some top tier members of frequent flyer programs who have long enjoyed a bit more flexibility with luggage allowances.

The airlines are also moderately free to vary their carry-on rules as it suits them, and they sometimes do this, particularly on full flights.

Personal Items

The standard allowance typically provides for a bag of up to a certain size plus one 'personal item'...and fits under the seat

What is a personal item?

Some airlines give examples, and suggest that a personal item may be :
  • Briefcase / Backpack
  • Handbag / Purse
  • Laptop (in carry bag)
  • Other items not exceeding 36" in total dimension
  • Small book-bag style backpack or tote
  • Umbrella

Domestic Flights US & Europe

Checked Bags: The general rule for domestic flights is you can
  • check 3 bags and carry-on none
  • check 2 bags and carry-on one
  • or check one bag and carry-on two.

The checked bags cannot exceed 50 or 70 pounds per bag (Airline Websites), and the dimensions cannot exceed 45" x 55" x 62" for the largest bag. The second largest bag cannot have a dimension that exceeds 55", and the third checked bag cannot exceed 45" or checked baggage should generally not exceed a linear dimension (length+width+height) of 62".

Carry on Bags

Carry on baggage must fit under the seat or in an overhead compartment. The total weight of all the carry-on bags combined cannot exceed 40 pounds on some airlines, but others allow a single bag to weigh up to 50 pounds. The maximum allowable dimensions are 22" x 9" x 14".

A briefcase is considered one carry-on bag, but a normal sized woman's purse is not. Some airlines allow coach class/economy travelers only one carry on bag.

A word of caution

Wheeled suitcases with telescoping handles are very popular today, particularly in the carry-on type. You may be asked to check these pieces, on certain flights, because there may not be enough room on the plane for everyone to bring on this type of baggage. Briefcases and garment bags are generally considered carry on pieces.

Airline Baggage Rules

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