Luggage restrictions are constantly changing. Check with each airline as to size, weight and number of bags that they allow to be checked or carried on.
Many airlines have added new limits on both carry-on and checked baggage. Most airlines limit carry-on bags to 14" to 16" high, 21" to 24" wide and 8" to 9" deep. Lower limits apply to under seat storage and the more generous overhead compartments. Use 45" as the total (height+width+depth) basic guideline to determine whether your bag will be accepted as a carry-on.
Most airlines limit carry-on weight to 40 pounds and checked baggage to 70 pounds.
Some allow a larger size and weight for the first bag, but are more restrictive for additional bags.
Many airlines’ limits vary. It depends upon whether you are flying domestic, international, first class, business class or coach and if you are a member of their VIP club or mileage program.
Limits are more strictly enforced then in the past. All bags are weighed at check-in and most airlines have bag-sizers placed at the gate. Any carry-on bags that are too big, must be checked. This could cause them to be considered "extra bags" and incur an extra charge. Bags that are very heavy may be charged a high overweight luggage charge.
Don’t expect to get away with a lot of extra pieces just because you did it once before. More strict rules apply today and more bag-size check stations are set up to catch you now. Especially during the holidays and other peak times when the planes are full and everyone is trying to pack extra stuff on the plane.
During periods of high security, you may be asked to check items that would normally be allowed as carry-on.
Many airlines allow a combination of 3 bags, divided among carry-on and checked luggage. Check with your airline, as there are differences in each allowance program. Airlines look at some items differently. Most count a laptop or briefcase against your allowance, while others may not.
If you are traveling first or business class or are a member of the airline’s VIP club or Frequent Flier Mileage program, you may be allowed more luggage free.
If you plan to bring extra bags, check with the airline to see if they will allow it.. Sometimes, even though if you are willing to pay the extra fee, you can be refused if the plane is very full. If you do get an OK, be sure to get the person's name or a confirmation number or code.
If you are making an airline change during your trip, remember that luggage limits for each airline may differ. An acceptable item on one airline may cost extra on another.
Review the regulations when using connecting flights in Europe or other countries. They may entail more restrictive luggage limits than those in effect flying into the area.
When using a commuter airline, be aware of their luggage limits. Many commuters use smaller aircraft with limited space. Some allow only carry-on baggage, some only checked baggage and many have more restrictive weight limits.
Be aware of the limits on each airline's baggage allowance. Stay within those limits to avoid additional costs.
Pack judiciously. Don’t over-pack. Heavy bags can cause injury to baggage handlers or yourself. The airlines often charge a substantial fee to discourage people from bringing overweight bags.
If some extra items are really necessary, check into paying an "extra" bag fee. Often it is less expensive to divide items into two bags and pay an "extra" bag charge than to pay one high, overweight bag charge. You could also save the inconvenience of your luggage bursting open because of over-packing.
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