Don't get burned by unfamiliar carry-on weight limits

Have you ever had your carry-on packed only to be told at the airline’s check-in desk that it’s too big or heavy to carry on? I’ve encountered the problem myself, but fortunately I’ve never been forced to pay at the gate. I usually wear a Scottevest jacket, and if I run into trouble at check-in I put my laptop in one of the pockets and my camera around my neck.

It’s no secret that each airline has its own baggage policy, but carry-on rules—and carry-on size and weight limits—tend to be particularly tricky. Even if your go-to carry-on bag works when you fly in the U.S., “if you’re traveling internationally, simply packing everything into an approved-size carry-on may not be enough,” writes Christine Sarkis for SmarterTravel. “That’s because many airlines—particularly international carriers—enforce cabin baggage weight restrictions. And often, those weight restrictions are less than the average packed carry-on.”

In the SmarterTravel post, Christine offers tips to help you “not get burned by carry-on weight limits.” The most obvious and essential tip, of course, is to check your airline’s carry-on size limits and carry-on weight limits in advance. It’s easy to assume that because it’s worked before, your carry-on bag will work the next time you fly. To save yourself hassle and money, however, you should “look up your airline’s weight restrictions in advance,” Christine writes, “before you do anything else.” And “if you’re married to the idea of bringing your carry-on onboard, stick to those weight restrictions. Don’t count going unnoticed: Weighing suitcases for international flights is pretty standard, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to avoid detection.”

Christine also includes a rundown of carry-on weight limits enforced by a few major airlines. From her post:

More help with carry-on weight limits

Christine’s full post offers more tips to help you avoid being burned at the airport and why she believes you “should still aspire to carry on.” Read it here.

Have you ever had carry-on trouble?

Have you ever had a carry-on weighed and found to be overweight? Have you ever had to gate-check a bag? Share your carry-on experience in the comments below!


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2 Comments On "Don't Get Burned by Unfamiliar Carry-on Weight Limits"
  1. Paul C|

    Volaris is VERY strict!
    They will look at EVERY person in line at the gate and check your ticket to see if you have paid for your carry-on weight.

    If you are in violation, they will demand cash payment.

  2. Val Good|

    I remember a time when you could have an over packed carry on bag and as long as it fit in the overhead bin you were good to go. Times have really changed, now it’s all about squeezing as much money out of us passengers as possible. We are now apprehensive about having a carryon for fear it will be rejected and left on jet bridge to be stored with checked bags which could mean another charge.

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