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FAA Carry on Restrictions

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 You may see these symbols used more and more often throughout our site.

  Means the bag MUST BE CHECKED

  Means the bag is guaranteed to adhere to the following recommendations, and should be allowed as carryon on most domestic flights. 

  Means the bag may be allowed as carry-on, but may not, such as an expandable bag with the gusset expanded for maximum capacity.

Statistics have proven that a very small percentage of luggage is damaged during air travel. You can minimize the amount of damage that occurs to your luggage and personal belongings by following some common sense guidelines.

 Buy the most durable luggage you can afford
 Learn the restrictions of the airlines you use most frequently.
 Pack intelligently
 Know the airline's policy about damaged luggage
 Report damage immediately!

The formula used to find the maximum size carry-on bag for most airlines is as follows (see illustration at left)

Maximum carry-on size = 45 Linear Inches. Or, Length (in inches) + Width (in inches) + Depth (in inches) = 45 Inches

Anything larger than this final overall dimension should be checked. This means you should be aware of your suitcase's overall dimensions and, if it is an expandable bag, the total extended max size too. The following FAA tips may also be helpful to remember...

 No oversize packages or luggage can be stowed onboard
 Pack less to carry-on. Stow only your essentials (such as prescriptions, personal hygiene products, passport and other documentation) and valuable items, such as jewelry and cameras in your carry-on bag
 Plan to check more of your baggage and carry-on less
 Check with your airline before packing to determine it's carry-on guidelines regarding number of items you may carry-on and the max size of those items
 In certain situations, the airline may require most or even all of your bags to be checked, so be prepared to do so
 Carry-on items which may fall from overhead bins can injure you or other passengers during flight or in the event of an emergency evacuation
 Stow heavy items under the seat in front of you, not overhead
 Don't stack items in the overhead storage bin
 If an emergency evacuation is necessary, leave your carry-on items on the plane. Retrieving your personal items may impede the safe evacuation of passengers
 Remember, be safety conscious when stowing your carry-on items

To reduce the likelyhood of damage to your luggage, follow these guidelines sponsored by the Luggage and Leather Goods Manufacturers of America, American Luggage Dealers Association, National Luggage Dealers Association, and International Luggage Repair Association.

 Only check luggage that is sturdy enough to withstand airline baggage handling systems
 Never check a bag that doesn't completely close. If you need a luggage strap or bungee cord to keep the bag closed, it probably won't survive the trip.
 Never check a bag that has broken components, such as wheels, handles, zippers, latches and locks
 Never check a bag that is meant to be carried on. Most briefcases, tote bags, plastic garment covers, and items received through retail promotions are not designed to be checked luggage
 Don't overpack. Overpacking puts a strain on zippers, seams, frames and hinges
 Clearly label your luggage with your name, current address and phone number
 Check your bag carefully in the luggage claims area before departing the airport
 Consider replacing old or worn luggage. Luggage that is several years old may not be able to withstand today's automated baggage handling systems