The One about Purchasing Luggage – Check-In Baggage, Carry On and Personal Items for Travel

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For those who are first time travelers and those who have traveled internationally before, there is always a concern about the weight of our luggage and what is allowable by the airline company.

A few airline companies have lowered their maximum size limit which makes things a little difficult for those own older luggage but for those who are planning to travel for the first time, shop wisely and know the limits of the airline company you are traveling on.

It’s important to remember that whether or not you get fees, not everyone will get their bags sized but they will weigh your bag, so I do recommend getting a travel analog or digital luggage weight scale and always err on the side of caution and think that because one person said they never had their luggage sized, that it will never happen to you.

Choose your luggage wisely, visit the airline company that you will be riding in (and also other airlines to get a good idea of what the average is) and see what their maximum allowance is.

So, let’s take a look at what you should consider, aside from style and how much room and pockets the luggage offers for check-in baggage, carry on and personal item.


CHECK IN BAGGAGE

For example, let’s say your luggage is over 29″ and somewhere between 30-33″.  Some airline are strict and saying the want the wheels included and the puffiness of the exterior of the front and overall, what you thought would be a total of 61″ ends up becoming a total of 63″.

What may have worked with one airline, may not work with the other.   So, it is important to look up what the maximum inches there are for a carryon bag.

As of September 2016, Japan Airlines (JAL) is most generous at a total of 80 inches for check in baggage (203 cm), but American Airlines, Jet Blue, United Airlines, Singapore Air, Air Nippon Airlines (ANA) maximum totals are 62″ inches (158 cm).

Why is it important to keep it at 62 inches or below?  Because if your baggage is over the limit, you are dinged $200 per flight and it’s non-refundable.

While it depends on the person behind the counter, if they are going to measure your baggage or not, it’s important to make sure that when buying a bag, that you total up the dimensions.  For the most part, the golden number for many airlines is 62 inches total.

As for weight, just remember that if you have two-checked in luggage, if the allowance is 50 pounds (which is standard for many airlines), that’s 25 pounds per luggage (NOT 50 pounds per luggage).  Some flights will guarantee 50 pounds per bag, such as American Airlines but I would call your airlines, speak to someone and confirm.  Sometimes they will say, if you flew in to a country from another airline, your return airline will tell you that if you flew with another, you must go by the other airlines rules.  So, just be careful not to overpack. Go over 50 pounds and if it’s under 70 pounds, expect to pay a $100 or more.  Go over 70 pounds and expect to pay $450 or more.

Once again, a digital or analog weight travel scale is important to bring along with you and always check your airline’s website to know how much the fees are.


CARRYON LUGGAGE

Many of the airlines allow for 45 linear inches as maximum.

Find out your measurement of your bag (length+width+height) and if it’s 45-inches or under, you are good.

This is important because a lot of people purchase 50L backpacks and they total up to 46-inches.

Most people don’t get sized at the airport for backpacks unless they are huge.  But it’s always important that you are aware of this.

American Airlines states on their website:

United Airlines states on their website:

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.

Japan Airlines states on their website:

Each passenger is permitted one piece of carry-on baggage.

A passenger may carry on board one personal belonging, such as a shopping bag or handbag, and one baggage satisfying the conditions below.

Sum of Three Dimensions Dimensions Total Weight
Not more than 115cm (45in.) W: within55cm×H: within40cm×D: within25cm
(W: within22in.×H: within16in.×D: within10in.)
10 kg (22 lbs.)

If your baggage is oversized or overweight, or unable to be appropriately stowed in the cabin due to the stowage limitations, it may need to be checked in cargo compartment at the gate. Please switch off electronic devices in your checked baggage. Valuables should not be included in your checked baggage.

AIR NIPPON AIRLINES states the following:

[The size of carry-on baggage (limited to one piece per passenger)]

Below size includes any baggage attachments such as handles, wheels, etc.

Total linear dimensions
within 115cm (45 inches)
as well as
Size
within 55cm×40cm×25cm
(22×16×10 inches)

 

Singapore Airlines states the following:

  • Maximum Dimensions of Carry-on Trolley bag: 22″x16″x8″
  • Maximum Dimensions of Carry-on Briefcase: 20″x16″x10″
  • Maximum Dimensions of Carry-on Garment Bag: 45″x8″

Many of the airlines has a weight limit of carry on to have a maximum of 22 pounds.


PERSONAL ITEMS

Along with a Carryon, you get one personal item.  While most airlines don’t clarify what constitutes as “Personal Item”, just remember that a good rule of thumb is 36 inches total.

Some people bring two backpacks and a few get away of having one as a carryon and one as a personal, others are not so lucky.

Just remember that the overhead bin on the plane is for your Carryon, your personal item is a bag you can fit right under your seat.

So, definitely add your length+width+height to get your total inches for personal item.  May it be a tote, camera or laptop bag, etc.

So, if you plan to travel, definitely make sure you check the limit of what your airline is offering for maximum size and how much weight you are allowed on your flight.

While you may read on a message board or online shopping site that airline companies employees do not care if you go over by inches and it’s all about the weight, I would still err in the side of caution and play by the rules.

Otherwise, you may find yourself being in the position of paying hefty luggage fees.

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Dennis A. Amith