Carry-on Allowances and Rules for Flight Travel

By Christina VanGinkel

With many new regulations in air travel having been put into place in the last few years, and notice of old restrictions being put under much more scrutiny than in times past, to help protect both the traveler and those working the airlines, knowing what you can and cannot take with you on an airplane can be a daunting task. With my youngest son traveling by air this upcoming spring, and not being familiar with air travel otherwise; we decided we should find out as much as we could before the day of his flight. What we found was both pleasantly surprising, and reassuring at the same time.

For the flight he will be taking, he is allowed to have with him one carry-on piece of luggage that weighs up to forty pounds and does not exceed a size limit of 45 linear inches. A friend reminded me that this is a guideline which someone should not try to exceed, as it is not only a space issue, with the items needing to fit either overhead, or under the seat, but a safety issue, as weight on a plane and items bumping around in the chance that rough weather is hit, is a serious issue, and you should be considerate of yourself and fellow passengers. With rules being carefully examined, over exceeding this limit could also result in you not being able to take your bag on board the plane. He is also allowed to carry on one personal item. Personal items are listed as laptops, small book-style bags, or a purse. This is in addition to his one carry-on piece of luggage.

We also inquired about his taking his cell phone and a small handheld game, such as a PSP, and we were told by a representative of the airline that he was allowed to have both of these with him. However, he would need to have them shut off at certain times, such as during taxiing to takeoff, the actual takeoff, and landing, along with any other times the flight staff informed travelers that they needed to be shut off.

He is also allowed to take with him one small bag of consumables for the flight. The airline he is flying on does sell food on board, but after reviewing what would be available via their Website, he has decided that he would pack a small bag his self. I thought the selections were ok, but I could see how they would not appeal to a teenager. The prices on the selections were also very reasonable, much less than what I would have imagined an airline would charge, with most packs costing a mere $4.00, and some individual sandwiches and such costing just $2.00 to $3.00 a selection. The airline he is flying with only takes cash for these services though, so if you plan on purchasing food on any airline, this might be something you want to keep in mind.

While not an issue for my son, if you are flying with a toddler or infant, there are specific rules in place for baby seats. The rules will vary depending on whether you have purchased a ticket for the child, or if the child is under a certain age and flying free on your lap. Discounts can be had for a child if you prefer to have your child in their safety seat instead of flying free on your lap. There are also rules in place as to how many children can fly free per adult (one) and what additional carry-on items are allowed for children, such as diaper bags. If there are any questions about specifics, I highly recommend contacting the airline you will be flying, as there were many different rules in regards to infants and toddlers.

Certain electronic devices are not even allowed on an airplane, for obvious safety reasons such as interfering with the controls of the plane. Some that were listed on the site we checked out included AM-FM radios, remote control vehicles, remote controls, and cordless computer mice.

There are also special rules in place for medical equipment and items such as musical instruments, so be sure to check with your particular airline for any special rules and regulations that may pertain to something you need to take with you. Also, keep in mind that there are reasons behind all of these rules, most specifically the safety of the passengers. Follow the rules and have a safe flight!

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