Hand luggage

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Hand luggage compartments of an Airbus A340-600 aircraft (economy class)

Hand luggage or cabin baggage (also commonly referred to as carry-on in North America) is the type of luggage that passengers are allowed to carry along in the passenger compartment of a vehicle instead of moving to the cargo compartment. Passengers are allowed to carry a limited number of smaller bags with them in the vehicle and contain valuables and items needed during the journey. There is normally storage space provided for hand luggage, either under seating, or in overhead lockers. Trains usually have luggage racks above the seats and may also (especially in the case of trains travelling longer distances) have luggage space between the backs of seats facing opposite directions, or in extra luggage racks, for example, at the ends of the carriage near the doors.

Commercial airlines[edit]

Luggage gauge

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) sets guidelines for cabin baggage/hand luggage/carry-on luggage size.[1] They are not mandatory, however, and individual airlines can and do vary their requirements. The IATA guideline states:

Cabin baggage should have a maximum length of 56 cm (22 inches), width of 45 cm (18 inches) and depth of 25 cm (10 inches) including all handles, side pockets, wheels etc.

Most low-cost airlines have smaller limits for the cabin baggage where one bag is commonly allowed at a size of 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm. Still the maximum weight differs widely in the range of 5 kg to 12 kg. A second bag is mostly not allowed for low-cost travel.

The actual size and weight limits of cabin baggage can differ widely, in some cases they are dependent on the aircraft model being used, in other cases it depends on the booking class. As an example of the lack of standardisation, the maximum permitted cabin luggage restrictions of some airlines are:

48 cm x 33 cm x 20 cm Aer Lingus Regional (Stobart Air - one bag max. 7 kg)[2]
55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm Air Berlin Regional - one bag max. 10 kg)[2]
48 cm x 36 cm x 20 cm Aurigny Air Services class Regional (one bag max. 10 kg) or class Inter-Island (max. 6 kg)[3]
50 cm x 45 cm x 20 cm Jet Airways for flights within India with ATR aircraft (one bag max. 7 kg for Economy Class, one bag max. 10 kg plus one laptop for Business and First Class)[4]
55 cm x 35 cm x 25 cm Jet Airways for all other flights (one bag max. 7 kg for Economy Class, one bag max. 10 kg plus one laptop for Business and First Class);[4] Air France (weight allowance depends on route and class)[5]
55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm Ryanair for all flights (first bag max. 10 kg);.[6] Second bag of size 35 cm x 20 cm x 20 cm also allowed.
55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm Korean Air, Asiana Air.
55 cm x 40 cm x 23 cm Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss International Air Lines (one bag max. 8 kg or a foldable garment bag up to 55 cm x 40 cm x 23 cm);[7][8] Flybe (one bag max. 10 kg)[9]
55 cm x 40 cm x 25 cm JAL, ANA
55 cm x 40 cm x 24 cm Aer Lingus (one bag max. 10 kg plus one personal item not exceeding 33 cm x 25 cm x 20 cm)[2]
56 cm x 35 cm x 23 cm United Airlines; (one bag plus one personal item)[10]
56 cm x 36 cm x 23 cm Malaysia Airlines; (one bag up to 7 kg plus one personal item);[11] Virgin Atlantic (One bag max. 10 kg);[12] Delta Air Lines (One bag plus one personal item)[13]
56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm (IATA size) British Airways (one bag plus one bag up to 45 cm x 36 cm x 20 cm, up to 23 kg each);[14] EasyJet (one bag, no special weight limit, not guaranteed to travel in cabin; 50 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm is guaranteed);[15] Finnair (one bag, max. 8 kg plus one personal item)[16]
56 x 36 x 23 cm American Airlines - You can bring one small carry-on bag plus one personal item per passenger.The maximum dimensions cannot exceed any of the following measurements: 22" long x 14" wide x 9" tall or 115cm (56 x 36 x 23 cm).[17]

Dimensions are sometimes listed as "linear", meaning the height, width, and length are not to exceed a certain total number.[18]

Commercial airline pilots and flight attendants also comply with standards. Those standards are set by individual airlines under "uniform restrictions" which guide and maintain professional dress codes.

Business Class, First class passengers and holders of high level milage club members are often allowed to carry on a second luggage of same size and weight, or a smaller size and weight.

On smaller sized aircraft the hand baggage can be carried in the cargo area. In this case the baggage is collected when boarding the aircraft and is handed back to passengers right after landing.

Security restrictions[edit]

Following the increase in restrictions imposed on flights from UK airports and to the USA after the events of August 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot, hand baggage on such flights was restricted to one cabin bag no bigger than 45 cm x 35 cm x 16 cm effective since 15 August.[19] On 21 September 2006, the British Airports Authority advised that from the following day, the allowable size of the single item of hand baggage on outgoing flights from the UK would be increased to 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm (approx. 22 in x 17.75 in x 9.85 in),[20] the IATA guideline size. Still most airports have a strict limit of one piece of cabin baggage per passenger - especially passengers in the business class are used to have two pieces of cabin baggage allowance within Europe which does not apply for flights to and from the UK.

European Union[edit]

Since 6 November 2006 there is a common regulation for cabin baggage restrictions in extended European Union (including Switzerland, Norway and Iceland).{[21] }

  • Restrictions on liquids:
    • only liquids with max 100 ml per piece
    • all pieces assembled in a single zippable plastic bag of max 1000ml (1 liter)
    • the plastic resealable bag must not exceed 20 cm by 20 cm
    • maximum of 1 plastic bag per passenger
    • liquids include gels and lotions (shampoo, tooth paste), lip sticks, moist paper tissue, contact lens solution
    • Exceptions:
      • prescribed medicine of any size (non-prescribed medicine-only items allowed well)
      • baby milk and other items for infants
      • nutrition for diabetes diet
  • Restrictions on abusable objects:
    • weaponry, including imitations and sports utilities (e.g. archery)
    • sharp objects, even small ones, including dart arrows and razor blades.
      • The recommendation allows for light knives and scissors with blades up to 6 cm but some countries do not accept these either (e.g. nail care items).
    • blunt objects, clubs and all larger sticks, including sports utilities (e.g. skateboard)
    • inflammable objects, including ethanol, alcoholic beverage above 70%, some match sticks
    • toxic chemicals, including pepper spray, liquid batteries, blood samples

United States[edit]

The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has introduced a series of restrictions effective since 26. September 2006 under the name "3:1:1" for liquids[22]

  • Restrictions for liquids
    • 3.4 ounce or smaller of containers for liquids and gels (100 ml)
    • 1 quart-size clear plastic zip-top bag holding the liquid contents (approx. 950 ml)
    • 1 bag per traveler shown openly in the security bin.
    • the TSA guidelines explicitly accept the metricized portions of 100 ml / 1 liter as defined later in the European Union.
    • the list of exceptions for liquids (baby milk, diabetes diet) is identical.

Furthermore the TSA has additional restrictions for security searches - for example all baggage should not be locked (there are special luggage locks that TSA staff can open), gifts should not be wrapped, and shoes may be required to be taken off during body search with the metal detector. Food items in the luggage may be mistaken for dangerous material triggering an intensive search.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Baggage Services". Iata.org. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  2. ^ a b c "Cabin Baggage - Aer Lingus". aerlingus.com. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  3. ^ "FAQ / luggage". Aurigny Airlines. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  4. ^ a b "Baggage Allowance". JetAirways. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  5. ^ "Hand baggage". Air France. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  6. ^ "General Terms & Conditions of Carriage". Ryanair.com. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  7. ^ "Lufthansa Carry-on baggage". Lufthansa. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  8. ^ "Baggage". Austrian Airlines. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  9. ^ Linked repaired 2012-01-19
  10. ^ http://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/travel/Pages/BaggageCarry-On.aspx
  11. ^ "Plan - Baggage - Cabin Baggage". malaysiaairlines.com. 
  12. ^ "Hand baggage". virgin-atlantic.com. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  13. ^ "Carry-on Baggage". Delta Air Lines. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  14. ^ "Hand baggage allowances". British Airways. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  15. ^ "Terms and conditions". easyJet.com. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  16. ^ "Carry-on baggage". Finnair. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  17. ^ "American Airlines Carry-on Baggage Allowance". aa.com. 
  18. ^ "Carry on Luggage Size Chart". The Luggage List. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  19. ^ "U.K. Expands Carry-On Bag Size, AllBusiness.com, 22 September 2006]
  20. ^ "Hand luggage rules to be relaxed". BBC News. 2006-09-21. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  21. ^ "Hand Luggage Liquid Rules and How to Beat Them". 
  22. ^ [1]

External links[edit]