Changes in Carry-on Baggage Information and Restrictions You Need to Know


While buying new luggage for a business trip to Punta Cana, we learned of a change in the allowable size of carry-on gear that somehow made it under the radar without much fanfare. The revision of as little as one inch from the former standard 15" width to the current restricted 14" measurement for carry-on bags can mean the difference between whether you're permitted to bring your small suitcase, duffel bag or other luggage with you aboard the aircraft or if the airline personnel will require that it be stowed with its larger pals in the belly of the beast.

Don't assume that you'll be able to sneak by just because your bag is a tad too big. In some cases, passengers have been turned away by TSA

agents while waiting on line at the security checkpoint and forced to return to the airline's check-in counter (and its sometimes long line) to have their oversize bag tagged and checked as luggage. Travel is stressful enough. This added anxiety is annoying at best but, most importantly, the unexpected delay may cause you to miss your flight.

Being an informed traveler means less hassles at the airport. As many of our clients are preparing for their upcoming winter getaways to warmer climes, we thought it would be helpful to review current restrictions as we understand them:

Liquids Rule: You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag (think clear Ziplock or similar) of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. For more details: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/liquids-rule.

Prohibited Items: Planning ahead and packing properly can facilitate the screening process and ease your travel experience at the airport. Know what you can pack in your carry-on and checked baggage before arriving at the airport by reviewing the lists below. Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. Read about civil penalties for prohibited items.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation, with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, have issued an emergency order to ban all Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone devices from air transportation in the United States. Individuals who own or possess a Samsung Galaxy Note7 device may not transport the device on their person, in carry-on baggage, or in checked baggage on flights to, from, or within the United States.

For a complete list of prohibited items, including food, see https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/prohibited-items.

Carry-on Luggage: Size dimensions of carry-on baggage allowed in the cabin of the aircraft may vary by airline. Here is the information provided by some of the most popular airlines that we and our clients regularly fly:

  • American Airlines: Carry-on: 1 bag and 1 personal item. Your personal item must be smaller than your carry-on baggage (like a purse, briefcase or laptop bag) and fit under the seat. Diaper bags (1 per child), child safety seats and medical or mobility devices don’t count as your carry-on or personal item. If your items don’t fit in the overhead bin or under the seat, they may need to be checked. There may be additional carry-on baggage restrictions at certain airports or on certain airplanes. Carry-on shouldn’t exceed 22 x 14 x 9 inches / 23 x 36 x 56 centimeters (including handles and wheels). Must fit in the sizer at the airport. For more information: https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/baggage/carry-on-baggage.jsp.

  • Delta Airlines: You’re allowed one carry-on bag and one personal item at no extra charge. Just make sure they fit into the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. Approved Personal Items: 1 purse, briefcase, camera bag or diaper bag or 1 laptop computer (computers cannot be checked) or 1 item of a similar or smaller size to those listed above. Additional Approved Items: The following items do not count as personal items (they’re freebies): A jacket or umbrella, food or drink purchased after clearing the security checkpoint, duty-free merchandise, special items like strollers, child restraint seats or assistive devices such as wheelchairs or crutches. Baggage may not exceed 45 linear inches (or 114 cm) in combined length, width and height, including any handles and wheels, with the exception of small musical instruments that fit in the overhead compartment space or under-seat space available at the time of boarding. Baggage must fit easily in the Carry-on Baggage Check (approximately 22" x 14" x 9" or 56 x 35 x 23 cm), which is located near the check-in counters. Passengers traveling on Delta Connection flights, and only those flights with fifty (50) seats or less, are only permitted to carry personal items on board the aircraft due to limited overhead space. Personal items must be able to fit securely under the seat in front of the passenger. All carry-on bags within Delta's size restrictions will be gate checked, free of charge, during the boarding process and returned upon deplaning. Assistive devices are not subject to this restriction. For more information: http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/baggage/during-your-trip/carry-on.html.

  • jetBlue: Carry-on Baggage Size Restrictions: Each customer may bring on board one personal item (purse, briefcase, laptop, etc.) which must fit under the seat in front of you, plus one carry-on bag which must be stowed in the overhead bin. Dimensions are as follows: Overhead: In order to fit in the overhead bin, your carry-on bag must not exceed 22" L (55.88 cm) x 14" W (35.56 cm) x 9" H (22.86 cm), including wheels/handles, on all of our aircraft types. Under the seat: In order to fit under the seat, all personal items must not exceed 17" L (43.2 centimeters) x 13" W (33 centimeters) x 8" H (20.32 centimeters) on all of our aircraft types. FAA/TSA regulations also allow the following items, as these do not count towards the customer’s carry-on limit: duty-free items (a reasonable and limited amount), one diaper bag (for customers traveling with a lap infant) as a carry-on item, special items (coat, umbrella, infant car seat, etc.), assistive devices (wheelchairs, canes, walkers, etc.). Closets for hanging garment bags are not available on our aircraft.

  • Southwest Airlines: Per TSA regulations, carry-on items are limited to one bag plus one small, personal item. Personal-type items include purses, briefcases, cameras, food containers, or laptops (case included). Pet carriers are considered either a personal item or a carry-on item. Southwest Airlines limits carry-on bag dimensions to 10 x 16 x 24 inches. The following items are not considered carry on bags or personal-type items and are not counted against the "one-bag plus one personal-type item" limit: a child restraint device for a ticketed child with a reserved seat or when complimentary, available space exists, assistive/mobility devices for individuals with a disability (there is no limit to the number of assistive/mobility devices a Customer can bring on board the aircraft), outer garments or other wearable articles of clothing, food for consumption during flight contained in disposable packaging, walking canes or umbrellas. Customers traveling with children will be allowed to check one stroller and one Child Restraint System (CRS) or car seat per child without charge. This is in addition to the regular free baggage allowance.

  • United Airlines: Each traveler can bring on board one carry-on bag plus one personal item free of charge. To help make the boarding process as smooth as possible for everyone, please make sure that these items are within the size limits described as follows, so they'll fit into the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. Carry-on bag: the maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels. Please note that there are additional carry-on guidelines for United Express® flights. Personal item: the maximum dimensions for your personal item, such as a shoulder bag, backpack, laptop bag or other small item, are 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm). You're also allowed to bring the following items on board, in addition to your one bag and one personal item limit: Jacket or umbrella, reading material, food or merchandise purchased in the airport, assistive devices (collapsible wheelchair, cane, one set of crutches, medical devices needed to administer prescription medications, portable oxygen concentrator, etc.). FAA-approved child restraint system or safety seat, diaper bag, breast pump, pet carrier (service charges apply for in-cabin pets). For more information: https://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/travel/Pages/BaggageCarry-On.aspx.

If you do not see your airline on the list, click here for a complete listing of all airlines and their current restrictions. Or contact the airline directly via their website to ensure what can fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.

And if you are purchasing a new carry-on bag or luggage, be aware that the restrictions were altered in 2014 from the formerly acceptable 15" width to 14". We noted that a number of luggage companies are unloading their now oversized (15") carry-on bags at deep discounts without advising the consumer that they will not be permitted aboard the aircraft as carry-on luggage. Any item larger than the carry-on baggage size and any item above the carry-on and personal item allowance will be checked to your final destination, and checked baggage service charges may apply.

Note: The above information, provided as a courtesy to our clients and prospective clients, was garnered from the airlines' websites and assumed current as of 1/02/17. VHR, WORLDWIDE assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions or changes in airline carry-on baggage policies and restrictions. We encourage our clients to call the airlines directly prior to their departure to ensure that their carry-on bags and luggage to be checked meet their passenger carrier's specific regulations.

#carryonbags #airlinerestrictions #airlinecarryonluggagerestrictions

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