101: Luggage

Some of my most asked questions about luggage…  What size?  What weight? What’s in it? What not?

What Size & How Many?
For domestic travel the basic rule is one carry on and one personal item per passenger as long as the carry on bag fits into the overhead bin and does not exceed overall dimensions of 45 inches. (length + width + height) or about 22 + 14 + 9.  But heaven help you if you are sitting in the front of the coach section and there is no room left in the bins, then the airlines will check your luggage.  This happens to me often.. but at least they do not charge….!

What is in it?
All I can say is no rules fit all carriers except no weapons!
Getting thru security doesn’t have to be tricky:  NO Liquids over 3 ounces.  No large toothpaste, no salsa jars, no hand creams. I saw all I of these last week traveling!  The security people will just take it away and throw it out.  So if you need these liquids check them in your luggage. I brought home an opened bottle of Marker’s Mark and I checked it with no problem!  On the other side of security you may purchase beverage to take on the plane.  I recommend taking an empty reusable water bottle and fill it near the gate.  Good for the pocket book and good for the environment.

Now if this makes any sense, knitting needles are allowed but no pointy scissors!

Checked Bag Fees
Charges for checked luggage, there are absolutely no rules.  You need to research each individual airline carrier.  Almost all now charge something for coach travel, somewhere from $25. – $45.  Usually each piece can not weigh over 50 pounds. Often pounds are more important than size.   If you are a fancy flyer that has special miles status with a carrier, sometimes you will not have to pay.   And of course if you are flying first class you will not have to pay.  Often you can actually check two pieces for no charge in first class.   Always worth those upgrades!

International rules are different from domestic. Again, you need to check with the carrier.   Many carriers do not allow the normal carry on size to be carried on!  Most require all to be checked except personal items.

One more reminder:  If somewhere on your travels you have a very small plane you may be restricted with carry-on and weight. Plan ahead so you can take exactly what you need for the flight (computer, camera, wallet & book) with you in a small bag and send the rest underneath.

My one tried and true rule: always check with your travel consultant or the airlines. We won’t steer you wrong and will likely save you both time and money.

About alwaysharriet

With thirty years experience in corporate and leisure travel consulting, Harriet Ahouse has traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean and worldwide. An avid scuba diver, she understands the requirements of travelers both on land and in the water. On the European scene she has offered traditional and personalized travel itineraries throughout the continent--Italy, France, and England are some of her favorites. As a Virtuoso Agent, she also has extensive resources to enhance her expertise in designing individual destination travel itineraries--and honeymoons--worldwide!
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