Are Carry-On Bags Checked?  

Airlines have specific dimension requirements for carry-on bags, personal items, and checked-in luggage. Confusion regarding this matter can cause delays, result in excessive fees, and affect your trip preparation. But don’t fret too much because we've done the research on checked baggage and can help you get ready for a flight.

If your carry-on luggage exceeds the limits of the airline policy, it may be checked and transported into the cargo hold of the aircraft. This happens when it is too large to fit into the overhead bin or under the passenger seat. The bag will be inaccessible during the flight.

As a traveler, problems with airline policy can be quite stressful, especially when you are about to go on your much-awaited vacation. With this being said, we aim to provide guidance so that you will have a smooth sailing boarding process and air travel. 

luggage, carry on luggage ready for check in, yellow and big black luggage, Are Carry-On Bags Checked

What Is A Carry-On Bag?

A carry-on bag is a piece of luggage that you take with you on the plane and can be placed and fit in the overhead compartment. It basically contains all essentials such as clothing, towels, toiletries, gifts, and any other personal belongings brought for the excursion.

close up photo of a cute colored orange and blue green luggage with other bags and stuffs on an over head cabin

Airlines have specific size and weight requirements for carry-ons, however, they include slight variations. Some companies are not particular about how much the bag weighs, since they focus more on the dimensions of the receptacle. 

Carry-on Dimensions

a blue carry on luggage measured for carry purpose by the lady

To be on the safe side, you must adhere to the general or standard size which is 22 inches in height, 14 inches in width, and 9 inches deep or wide.

These dimensions add up to 45 inches in linear measurement. The sum of the width, height, and depth or thickness of your bag is considered as its linear measure.

Before measuring your carry-on, make sure to pack all essential items so that you will know the exact measurements - an empty bag does not equate or provide accurate proportions. 

Apart from this, you could fold or roll clothing articles or any other fabric to avoid a bulkier bag and to ensure that it fits in the overhead bin and does not exceed the required size and dimensions. Do not forget to weigh your carry-on and ensure it does not go over 15 pounds. 

If you fail to comply with the specifications, your carry-on bag will be transferred to check-in luggage which is then subject to additional charges.

Furthermore, your carry-on bag does not cost any fees, however, some airlines may charge you depending on your ticket, route, and traveling class. It is still ideal to ask the specific airline's policy before setting off on a trip. 

Checked Baggage

army green, brown and blue luggage ready for check in at the airport

Checked baggage refers to any piece of luggage that goes into the cargo hold of a plane. It is generally inaccessible to the passengers during the flight, and it contains all other items you don't put inside your carry-on.

Similar to carry-ons, every airline has specific regulations regarding a baggage's weight and size that is available and specified the moment you booked your flight. They also specify the limitations or the required number of luggage you can check in the aircraft.

Most airlines follow the 50 pounds (23 kilograms) per luggage weight policy. If it exceeds, then you must distribute the excess weight in another bag. In most airlines, the first or second bag is free while any additional are subject to excess luggage fees. 

Ways To Avoid Checked Bag Fees

people gathering at the airport terminal ready for departure along with carry on luggage

Airlines charge specific fees for additional luggage which are proven to be quite costly. To illustrate, some companies charge $30 for one-piece checked baggage, $40 for a second piece, $150 for the third bag, and $200 for any additional. The amounts are for one-way trips only, roundtrips will double the price. 

The fees may vary depending on the airline, your ticket, and your travel destination. It basically affects the budget, especially when having a family trip. With all this being said, here are some ways to avoid hefty checked-baggage fees.

Fly With An Airline That Does Not Charge Checked-In Luggage Fees

close up photo of a gold and dark blue carry on luggage along the airport terminal

The best way to avoid baggage fees is to fly with Southwest Airlines - it is the only major air travel courier in the United States that allows two free check-in baggage and carry-on regardless of fare ticket, booking class, and destination. Other companies allow 2 free luggage pieces as long as you book a business and first-class ticket. 

Pack Light And Make Use Of A Carry-On Bag

red orange luggage full of personal stuffs, hat passport, clothes and camera

Plan your trip properly and consider the purpose whether it is a weekend getaway, a short vacation, or business and determine only the essential items you need. If you can limit the things to the basics, all you could need is a carry-on and one personal item without fees charged by most airlines.

Consider your accommodation, too. If you visit with friends or relatives or stay in a hotel or other facilities, you might be able to do laundry and limit the clothing items necessary to bring. On shorter trips, plan the items you would need on a daily basis.

Get An Airline Credit Card With Luggage Benefits

good weather to travel and a nice view to see, orange back pack gold luggage, red luggage

Applying for an airline credit card has its benefits including a welcome bonus, priority boarding, free check-in baggage, flight discounts, and many more. The offers vary from airline to airline so it is best to choose air travel companies with the best privileges. 

Generally, various airlines offer cardholders and a certain number of companions one free checked bag. To illustrate, Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card offers the traveler along with eight companions a free first checked-in bag as long as they have the same reservation. This will save travelers $30 on luggage.

On the other hand, American Airlines credit card offers the primary holder and four other companions with one free checked-in bag as long as they fly domestically. 

Earn Elite Status


The best way to earn elite status is by becoming a frequent flyer of the same airline. Many programs provide loyal travelers with various privileges, one of which is free checked-in baggage.

An example of this is earning a Delta Silver Medallion. Similar to a Delta cardholder, it offers the primary member along with eight companions one free checked-in luggage. 

Imagine, you can save $30 for the first checked bag. And with eight travel companions, you can considerably avoid spending $240 just for your luggage on a one-way trip. The Delta Silver Medallion is applicable for both domestic and international flights. 

Do Not Exceed The Weight Limit

man weighing a red carry on luggage wearing grey shirt, blue jeans inside a green painted room

Flying with Southwest Airlines, being a cardholder, and acquiring an elite status would all mean nothing if you exceed the maximum luggage weight limit specified by air travel companies because you will be charged with overweight baggage fees.

Most airlines require a 50-pound (23 kilograms) maximum limit on every checked bag. 

Do Carry-On Bags Get Searched?

nice gold carry on luggage inspected by the airport staff

Passenger screening is part of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) safety procedure. Officers will instruct you to place your carry-on bags on x-ray screening machines to determine the content. Specific instructions regarding electronics, food, liquid limitations, and any other prohibited items need to be followed. 

The general rule is to remove electronics larger than a mobile phone from your bag and place them in a basket or bin for screening. This includes laptops, tablets, game panels, and any other gadgets. 

TSA has very specific rules regarding liquid restrictions so be sure to follow the 3.1.1 rule that specifies that only 3.4 ounces of liquid can be packed in your carry-on bag. Medications in reasonable quantities and baby food are exemptions. 

In Conclusion 

luggage, carry on luggage ready for check in, yellow and big black luggage

Prepare for the trip, travel light, and limit your belongings to carry-ons as much as possible. Adhere to airline policies and enjoy free luggage benefits. We hope this article proved to be helpful and informative. Have a safe trip!