If you have any upcoming flights planned for the holidays or beyond, you likely have questions about what you can and can’t carry on-board.
Consider this post your handy-dandy carry-on pocket guide (except that you can’t stick it in your pocket…right…hmmm…moving right along).
You’ve got questions; I’ve got answers.
Q. Which airlines charge for checking bags?
A. The easier question to answer is, “Which airlines DON’T charge for checking bags?” because almost all major airlines DO charge. JetBlue (they also offer free snacks, by the way…LOVE that) offers one free checked bag and Southwest offers two free checked bags.
The current fees for the other major US airlines are as follows:
- AirTran, Alaska/Horizon, and Delta: $15 for 1st bag, $25 for 2nd bag
- American Airlines: $20 for 1st bag, $30 for 2nd bag
- Continental and United: $20 for 1st bag, $30 for 2nd bag [discount if you check baggage online]
Q. Is my car seat, stroller, and/or baby carrier considered “checked luggage” (AKA…do I have to pay a fee to check them)?
A. The overwhelming consensus across all airlines is that these items can be brought on the plane or checked without additional fees. That said, I encourage you to check with your airline of choice for specific policies.
Q. How big is too big for a carry-on?
A. All airlines have slightly different guidelines:
- AirTran: LxWxH = 55 inches or less
- Alaska/Horizon: 10x17x24
- American, Delta, and United: LxWxH = 45 inches or less
- JetBlue: 17×12.1×8
- Southwest: 10x16x24
- Continental and US Airways: 14x9x22
Q. Can I bring snacks on my carry-on?
A. Yes. AND I highly recommend that you do if you will be traveling with children. On past trips, we have taken dried fruit, fresh fruit, crackers, pretzels, fruit leathers, beef jerky, trail mix, lollipops, and gummy candies.
Q. What about toiletries?
A. The easiest way to remember the current TSA guidelines is to think 3-1-1. It stands for:
- 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume)
- 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag
- 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin.
What that essentially means is that any liquids you want to bring (shampoo, hair gel, baby wash, etc.) need to be packed in itty bitty containers. Breast milk, formula, and medications (including contact solution) are allowed in larger quantities, but be sure to declare them AND to pack them at the top of your bag for easy access.
Q. Do you have any recommendations for great carry-ons?
A. So glad you asked! Rick Steves’ Travel Store recently sent me their Autobahn Rolling Backpack (currently on sale for $143.95) for review. This attractive, two-toned bag is lightweight, steady on its feet (er…wheels), and can double as a backpack if you find yourself on rocky or bumpy terrain.
Here are some shots of the bag as a backpack (please pay no mind to my crazy hair, the glasses slipping off my nose, and the oh-so-super-stylish sweatshirt that I am wearing…ahem):
If you prefer, you can roll the bag (our 3-year-old loves volunteering for that job):
My one critique of the bag is that the zipper doesn’t unzip all the way around so the flap doesn’t completely open (a design flaw, in my humble opinion). Other than that, it’s top-rate.
YOUR TURN: Do you typically try to cram everything into carry-ons or do you prefer to check your baggage?
WIN IT! One winner will receive an Autobahn Rolling Backpack ($143.95) from the Rick Steves’ Travel Store. To enter, leave any topic-related comment on this post prior to Monday, December 14th at 11:59 p.m. (Don’t forget to follow the rules…all generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified.).
* I received a product sample for review purposes.
*UPDATE* The winner is #29 Erin T. Congratulations!