Airlines enforce strict luggage rules because they need to comply with flight rules. These rules ensure passengers’ safety as they minimize accidents.
When traveling, you can have two types of luggage. A carry-on is a personal bag that airlines allow you to have on the plane. The rest of the luggage gets sorted and packed into the plane’s baggage compartment.
Planes allow you to store carry-on luggage under your seat or in the overhead bin. But, what type of luggage qualifies as a carry-on, and more importantly:
Does a Backpack Count as a Carry-on?
Backpacks do count as carry-on items, but there are certain conditions. Many airlines have tight restrictions on size. If your backpack is on the larger side, it does not count as a carry-on on most airlines.
Ensure you consult your airline regarding the regulations, as size restrictions differ. You should be safe if your backpack dimensions are under 45cm × 35cm× 20cm.
Other General Luggage Considered As Personal Items
Personal items differ from carry-ons. The main similarity between the two is that airlines allow personal items and carry-ons on the plane.
What is the difference? You must store your carry-on in the internal luggage compartment on the overhead bins.
You store your item under the front seat. Carry-ons are generally larger than personal items, hence taking up more space.
The regulations for personal items are not as strict as those for carry-ons. Most airlines do not have clear definitions or policies for personal items. You are, however, expected to be reasonable with what you carry inside the plane.
Personal items of clothing such as jackets, coats, hats, and sweaters are personal items. You can bring on board these clothing as they are light enough to fit under plane seats.
Airlines allow you to have some comfort items on the plane. These can be light blankets, duvets, pillows, and cushions.
These items must be reasonably small to not crump up other passengers. There are limits to the number of comfort items allowed on planes.
Weather-proofing items like umbrellas and raincoats are permissible. You can have your umbrella on the plane, provided that you do not open it inside the plane. Your raincoat should be dry. You need to place your wet raincoats in non-porous bags.
Some airlines allow you to have duty-free items on the planes. These are mostly items you can buy in airport shops, such as perfumes, coffee, liquor, etc.
You can have reading materials such as books, newspapers, magazines, and brochures. If you don’t care for onboard entertainment, you can indulge in your books. The airlines will allow them provided they do not exceed weight limits as per their policies.
You can have food and drink on the plane. The catch is if you bring your snacks, they have to get cleared by security.
In most cases, airlines don’t allow you to carry food or drink they serve on the plane. Once you get clearance, you can have your food items.
Some toddler accessories count as personal items. These items must get clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration.
It is a branch of the Department for Transportation in the United States. These toddler accessories include seats, diaper bags, baby strollers, etc.
Some airlines allow you to have specific pet accessories on board. They mostly light allow pet carriers. These carriers should be compact enough not to interfere with other passengers’ comfort on the plane.
Medical accessories are personal items, and therefore, you can carry them inside the plane. These accessories include wheelchairs, walking canes, leg braces, walkers for the elderly, crutches, etc. Modern airlines have the necessary accommodations for people with health conditions.
While some of these items are permissible in one airline, they may be forbidden in others. There are no standardized rules for what qualifies to be a personal item. Airlines use policy, judgment, and common sense to decide which items go onboard.
You should, therefore, check with your airline to see whether your items qualify. The information is normally available on airline websites and travel guides.
Items Not Allowed As Carry-Ons
You cannot carry some items in the luggage compartments in the carry-on department. These items are forbidden under the Federal Aviation Administration or not permitted under Transport Security Administration guidelines.
You should never bring flammable items as carry-ons. These are easily ignitable items. Airlines do not allow paints, lighter fluid, fuels, flammable liquids, etc. These items are a safety risk and may cause serious harm to passengers and airline staff.
You are not to bring strong chemical substances as carry-ons on a plane. These items include spray paints, bleach, fertilizers, acids, etc.
The Federal Aviation Administration has strict guidelines and an extensive list of banned substances.
Explosive substances cannot be on a plane as carry-ons. These include fireworks, Christmas crackers, flairs, etc. Some of these items are not allowed even as non-carry-on items because they are risky.
You should not bring duty items on the plane as carry-ons. These are items that need to go through customs and control.
Bringing such items on a plane might be a misdemeanor in some countries, so you need to be careful.
Beverages containing an alcohol composition greater than 70% don’t get permitted as carry-ons. These are strong alcoholic substances with over 140 proof.
Do not bring small tools such as screwdrivers, pliers, etc. The only time these items get allowed on planes is if they are less than seven inches. Any tools with a blade have to have a blade length of four inches or less.
There are restrictions on the type of lithium batteries you can carry. Regulations state that for carry-ons, you can use a battery of not more than 100-watt hours. What if the batteries are inside a device? You can have the batteries in a device with no issues.
You can neither carry guns nor ammunition on a plane as carry-on items. These items get strictly forbidden under the Federal Aviation Administration guidelines.
You must never carry any sporting goods onto an airplane. The only exception to the rule is for balls. All other items such as nets, bats, whistles, or poles are not allowed.
You cannot have self-defense items on board the flight as they present a danger to passengers. Airlines provide adequate security and have protocols for dealing with conflict, so the items are unnecessary.
How Can I Avoid Losing My Luggage At An Airport?
One of the most frustrating experiences is losing your luggage at an airport. It ruins your travel plans, and you have to start replacing your items. But there are steps you can take to ensure that you never lose your luggage.
Place your information in the tugs outside your bag. It seems simple, but it helps airport staff recover your bags if they go missing. You should not only write your name on the tugs but also leave your contact information.
Placing a tracker in your bag is helpful. Thankfully, there are many options for trackers. You can use a small tracker such as a Tile or an AirTag. These items are easy to get, and they are fairly inexpensive.
Getting to the airport early reduces the chances that your luggage will get lost. If you arrive early, your bags are certain to get to the loading belt on time.
For latecomers, you might not be so lucky. Your bags could end up in the loading bay of a separate plane.
Your luggage is less likely to get lost on a direct flight. If it is possible, you should avoid layovers. Many cases of luggage loss occur when bags get transferred from one plane to another.
Invest in unique luggage straps. One of the most common causes of luggage loss is passengers picking the wrong bags off the luggage belt. Many bags are indistinguishable at face value because suitcases aren’t unique.
Adding modifications such as stickers and straps makes your bags stand out. Your bags are, therefore, unlikely to get lost.
You should use a small number of bags where you can. If you have many bags, it might not be easy to keep track of all of them.
Having many bags can also inconvenience the handlers, especially during layover flights. You are likely to lose one or two, especially in busy airports. Ship your luggage to your destination if you can.
Does a backpack count as a carry-on? Backpacks are carry-on luggage under specific conditions. Many airlines have severe size limitations.
Most airlines do not consider a big backpack to be a carry-on. Consult your airline about the requirements since size limitations vary. If the dimensions of your bag are less than 45cm by 35cm by 20cm, you should be okay.
When traveling, you have two options for baggage. A carry-on bag is a personal bag that airlines allow you to bring on board. The remainder of the luggage gets organized and loaded into the plane’s baggage compartment.