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How to Survive the Airline Restrictions on Baggage

Flight attendant helping to store a carry on bag on a flight.How many times have you boarded your flight only to find there is no overhead space. Why? because many passengers are now trying to pack everything in their carry on bags due to airline restrictions.


Airlines all over the world are cutting back on baggage allowances. They are restricting the size and weight allotments (usually 50 lbs max) and the majority are now charging for extra bags (more than 1. Some are even charging for your first bag too. So make sure when you book your flight you know what your airline restrictions are.


These constraints are causing passengers to become more creative when it comes to luggage. Many are now trying to find ways to take all of their belongings in their carry on bags. Some are joining loyalty programs and sticking with one airline so their baggage allowance is more per trip.


Bottom line - you have to plan what you are going to need when you travel. Think it through and decide if you really need all of those T-shirts. One thing my mother always told me was to plan what you are going to take with you and then cut it in half. Really you don't need as much as you think you do.


We have never agreed with what the airlines are doing (by charging for checked bags). Not because we don't want to have to pay for a checked bag, but because it is forcing travellers to try to travel with just one carry on bag. That means that the already compact overhead bins and under the seat storage is in great demand. Many a time I have seen passengers get into arguments about overhead bin space.


We don't like this fight so we have avoided it by checking our bags. Besides that we aren't known to be the lightest travelers out there. We like bringing what we want on a vacation (within reason of course).


So for most trips we would travel with a checked bag each. But we do try to keep it within the weight limits of the airlines.


In fact we have turned it into a game! When we arrive at the check in counter we try to guess how heavy the bags are. (I usually win - but that is probably because I packed them in the first place - and I cheat - I weigh them on our bathroom scale before Warren even sees them!)


In recent months, after some larger trips with many destinations involved, we are now planning what we are going to take with us and cutting down. Even with our concerted efforts, we still manage to come home with clean clothes! If you have some tips you can share with us here at: How to Pack Light.

My Epiphany about Travelling Light

On a recent 3 day trip to New York City, (after being in Las Vegas and Florida the previous 2 weeks) I decided that if I was going to New York I wanted to travel as easily as possible. I went to Walmart, bought a snazzy carry on bag for only $60 (and have had many comments on it!) and managed for the first time ever to pack just enough to travel to Manhattan on a conference for 3 nights. That bag included carrying my laptop. I have to say I am now a convert!!!!

My new cheap and cheerful carry on bag that adheres to airline restrictions
My Cheap and Cheerful Carry On Bag

It was so easy to travel like this! I had a 7 am flight, so I checked in online the night before, took a cab to the airport, walked right to customs (in Toronto if you go through US customs and immigration here instead of in the USA), used my Nexxus Card (allows me to pass through immigration/customs without talking to an immigration officer), walked to the short line at security (another perk of this card), and was in the lounge in about 10 minutes. I didn't have to check in with the Air Canada desk, or worry about my checked bag.

An open photo of my new cheap and cheerful carry on bag that adheres to airline restrictions
Lots of room for everything!

When I arrived in Newark I walked straight off the plane, out of the terminal to the AirTrain to catch the train to Penn Station in Manhattan. It was the easiest travel I have ever taken.

I realized that I did have enough with me to have a change of clothes each day, I consolidated my toiletries into small bottles and will now try and travel this way as much as I can! I am converted!

One tip with the type of bag I bought though, taking my laptop in it made it difficult at security, as I had to undo my bag etc. to take it out. So in the future I will put my laptop in my smaller bag, or better yet try to travel with just my iPad.

Video with Ideas on How to Pack Light to Comply with Airline Restrictions

Check out this video on how to pack light!



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