The number of bags you can take on a plane will depend heavily on which airline you use.
But most airlines allow you your first checked bag for free and one carry-on bag that you can take into the aircraft cabin.
However, you should confirm this with your airline before flying.
Carry-on and checked bag allowances can vary enormously, especially if you are using a budget airline.
Carriers have different luggage and size restrictions as well.
Also, rules may change depending on whether you’re on a domestic or international flight.
Thus, you should thoroughly familiarize yourself with what your carrier and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will and won’t permit by checking the airline’s website.
How Much Checked Luggage Can You Take on a Plane?
In general, passengers can take one checked bag to check into the plane’s hold. But, some domestic flights allow you to bring more, such as American Airlines where you can carry up to ten.
If you have an economy ticket though, you may get to bring two bags for free as long as you’re traveling light.
However, for international flights with multiple airlines, you should double check what the checked bag restrictions are for each, as this may alter how much you can carry when flying. Do not assume that all airlines have the same rules.
Furthermore, what you can bring on the plane may depend on the specific flight. For example, United Airlines does not always have the same bag policies for every plane.
Additionally, many budget airlines do not permit you to carry checked bags unless you spend money on extra fees, so it’s crucial not to take luggage without doing your research first. Thus, when you are booking your flight tickets, make sure you know whether you can bring checked bags.
As well as the restriction imposed on the number of checked bags, you also need to think about accessibility guidelines, like weight and size, which all tend to vary depending on the airline.
So, always take the outside measurements of your checked bag, including handles, wheels, and pockets, before flying. If you exceed the size limits, you will usually have to spend more money.
Ensure you weigh your luggage, too. Do not assume it will be under the weight limit, as some carriers are just as stringent about weight as they are about how many bags you can bring.
Finally, if your airline ticket does not include checked baggage, it’s a good idea to find out how much extra the airline charges for every additional bag. Even if you intend to travel light, you may find that you need more luggage than anticipated, so ensure you can afford this fee if you should need to suffer it.
How Much Carry-On Luggage Can I Have?
Almost all carriers allow a carry-on bag for even Basic Economy, but not all, so passengers should check before flying. Usually, airlines permit one piece of carry-on baggage, while few let you have a second carry-on item even if you are willing to pay.
This rule for carry-ons is because the cabin has limited space, and if the flight is full or the airline has to use a smaller craft than intended, they can quickly run out of room. So, you can usually only have a single carry-on bag, whether you have a Basic Economy ticket or are in first-class seating.
Again, some carriers do not include carry-on luggage in the ticket price, like Alaska Airlines, so you will have to pay for this separately or forgo your carry-on. Make sure you are aware of this before you book your tickets.
Also, allowed carry-on luggage size depends on the airline. For most domestic flights on major carriers, like American Airlines, you can not go over 22 x 14 x 9 inches for carry-on items.
But, some allow larger bags, like Alaska Airlines where the maximum dimensions are 24 x 17 x 10 inches.
Furthermore, all airlines currently permit you to take an additional “personal item” onto the plane, even with a Basic Economy ticket. Even airlines that charge extra for a carry-on bag allow a personal item.
A personal item is one bag such as a laptop bag, tote bag, diaper bag, purse, or other small bag. It will similarly have size restrictions and should fit under the seat in front of you.
If you can not take a carry-on bag, a personal item may save you from having to suffer additional fees for your luggage. However, personal items do not give you much room since they have to go under the seat.
What Do I Do if I Want to Travel With More Bags?
If you wish to travel with more bags than your airline allows, you should pay for an additional bag to go in the hold. The cost will vary, but the further in advance you book it, the cheaper it will be.
Paying extra at the airport can cost a lot of money, so it’s much better to limit how much you carry. Similarly, if your one bag surpasses weight restrictions, it may be more economical to split it into two bags, provided you do this in advance.
Some airlines charge incredibly high fees for overweight luggage at the airport, but with good organization, you should be able to keep the cost of your luggage reasonably low.
Sometimes, however, you will not be able to pay for extra baggage in advance, and you will have no choice but to pay the airport fees or reduce how much you are carrying.
Can I Take More Than One Personal Item on a Plane?
The personal item policy is often less clear than other luggage stipulations, like how many bags you can have as carry-on articles. Many passengers take advantage of this by carrying large bags for their excess items.
However, you should only take one personal bag, like a purse, onto the plane, along with your carry-on, and keep it small.
If your airline states maximum sizes, make sure your bag falls within these. Or they may not allow you to take it on the plane, and you might have to spend money to have it checked into the hold.
You can usually carry additional items like umbrellas, jackets, pillows, and blankets without these counting as your one personal item.
Although you must check what your airline includes with your ticket at the time of purchase, many major airlines allow you to bring your first checked bag for free and one carry-on bag and usually a personal item. Budget airlines may charge for carry-on bags and checked luggage but should still allow a personal item for free.