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Guidelines for Carry-On Items

Guidelines for Carry-On Items

Currin Berdine / AdminSecret

What to Carry and What Not to Carry On

First, remember no liquids, gels or aerosols that are more than 3.5 oz. Even if you only have less than 3.5 oz. of liquid, it cannot be carried on in a container larger than 3.5 oz. Carry-on appropriate containers can be found at most drugstores and will indicate the fluid ounces it can hold. (Exceptions are made for breast milk and medications, but are heavily inspected and checked before departure and are subject to limitations.)

Second, bring a quart size clear plastic baggie with you to put your liquids in to pass through screening. Airports used to provide these, but now they make you bring your own or force you to purchase them in the giftshop. Don’t waste time and money and take your own baggie.

Third, avoid carrying on sharp ‘threatening’ items like razors, tweezers and sewing needles. These will be confiscated if found. Also, don’t bring on flammable products like nail polish, hairspray and lighters. Though these items might be allowed on board, some prohibit them, so be safe by checking these items (it isn’t like you are going to use them on the plane!)

Fourth, there are little conveniences you should bring on the plane that will make your experience more pleasant. Socks, hand and/or face lotion, ear plugs, eye cover, and chewing gum will make your flight much more comfortable. Also, if you check bags and are traveling internationally or to an important meeting, don’t risk being stranded because of lost luggage. Take a change of underwear and clothes on board with you JUST IN CASE. It might seem like a pain, but you won’t regret it the day your luggage doesn’t show up on the carousel.

Fifth, as of January 1, 2008, travelers may no longer pack spare lithium batteries of any kind in checked baggage. Passengers wishing to carry spare lithium batteries for devices such as laptops, cell phones and cameras are now required to pack them in their carry-on baggage with the terminals covered/insulated. Travelers may check bags that contain batteries, as long as they are installed in electronic devices.

Most airlines allow one carry on and one personal item. See below for the size limitations as well as what constitutes a “carry-on” versus a “personal item.”

Airline Maximum
Bag Size
as Carry-On
Some Additional/ Personal
Alaska 24" L x 17" W x 10" H n/a briefcase, laptop, purses
American H + W + L = 45" briefcases, laptops canes, some walkers, other medical devices
America West 54 linear inches for garmet bags, 45 for other bags briefcases, laptops, backpacks prosthetic walking devices, infant bags
Continental 45 linear inches NA government-regulated car seats, laptops, collapsible wheelchairs, some prosthetic devices
Delta 24 × 16 × 10 laptops, child seats, briefcases strollers, some wheelchairs, canes, diaper bags
Northwest 22 × 14 × 9 NA briefcases, some strollers, prosthetic devices
Southwest 24 × 16 × 10 laptops, prosthetic devices, brief cases, backpacks purses, cameras
TWA 24 × 16 × 10 (under seat)
24 × 16 × 10 (over head)
purses, briefcases, laptops, stollers, backpacks coats, umbrellas, prosthetic devices
US Airways 21 × 16 × 8 briefcases, laptops umbrellas, strollers, camera cases that do not exceed 18 × 12 × 4, walking prosthetic devices, infant bags with food
United 45 linear inches anything more than 25 linear inches  

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