Do Personal Items Have A Weight Limit?

Personal items are just one of several types of luggage. Want to know if personal items have a weight limit? Then, you’re in luck! We’ve researched this matter to help you be ready to prepare your belongings and embark on your journey!

Typically, there are no weight restrictions on personal items. This is because passengers typically do not bring anything heavy as personal items and also they are generally small-sized items to put under the seat in front of you.

In this article, we'll cover all the information you require regarding the use of personal item bags when flying. Especially in regards to how much they weigh and how big they are. After reading this, you won't have any more concerns regarding personal belongings. So keep on reading.

personal items, red headphone, laptop bag, backpack, laptop, mouse, notes, Do Personal Items Have A Weight Limit?

What Is A Personal Item?

Airlines define a personal item as any small bag, backpack, purse, or a comparable object that can fit under each passenger's front seat.

captured photo of a personal items, backpack, headphone, toy plane, laptop, mouse

However, regardless of what other airlines call it—a personal item, a personal bag, hand luggage, a personal item bag, underseat luggage, or an underseat bag—it is always the same thing.

A personal item is the tiniest type of luggage. Because it is always in front of you, underneath your front seat, and is open to you during the flight, it is also the one that is easiest for you to access (not including during takeoff and landing).

People typically pack their most valuable items as well as any necessities for the flight, such as headphones, laptops, snacks, etc.

Do Personal Items Have A Weight Limit?

black backpack, man hand, weighing scale, wood door background

Personal items are somewhat less strictly regulated than carry-ons and checked bags in terms of size and weight. The only restriction is that the bag has to fit beneath the front seat of every airplane.

Personal items typically don't have any weight restrictions. Since passengers typically don't bring anything heavy in their personal items and because they are so small, there are no weight restrictions on them.

Though, the combined weight of a personal item and carry-on, which is typically between 20 lbs and 30 lbs is limited by some airlines.

However, there is no universally accepted measurement for personal items. Because each airline uses a different type of aircraft with a different amount of space under the seats, each has a different size restriction.

Choose a stretchy fabric bag (such as a backpack, tote, duffel bag, purse, etc.) that is under 16" x 12" x 6" to fit the size restrictions for most airlines. Only a few airlines have personal item size restrictions above this size.

Are There Fees for Personal Items?

grey backpack, laptop, notes, power bank, wallet, mouse

Bags for personal items are always free. We haven't yet discovered a single airline that would charge its customers extra fees for personal items, at least not at this time.

Nevertheless, the regulations are becoming more stringent every year, so we wouldn't be shocked if a low-cost airline started charging nominal fees for personal items.

However, the size of your personal item may result in additional costs. If your personal items are too large to be carried on, you must consider them as carry-on (only within the size limit) but if you already have a carry-on, you need to check them in because each passenger is only allowed one carry-on.

The cost to check luggage, and occasionally even carry-ons can range from $20 to $50. If the bag needs to be checked in at the gate, the fees are slightly higher. Therefore, to avoid incurring additional costs, always make sure that all of your bags adhere to the size restrictions.

What Are The Personal Item Sizes by Airline?

personal things and stuffs, black background, headphones, laptop,wallet, smartphone, backpack

Knowing the laws is essential when traveling on a budget and attempting to fit as much as you can into a limited space. Here are the personal item restrictions for the top-ranked airlines in the U.S. (Air Canada, American, Delta, Southwest, and United Airlines) and other international carriers.

Air Canada

Your personal item cannot be larger than 17" x 13" x 6" for Air Canada flights. This includes a purse, briefcase, laptop bag, etc. They insist that personal items must fit beneath the seat in front of you or simply to keep in the overhead bin. 

American Airlines

Your American Airlines personal item presumably fits under the chair in front of you and is not bigger than 18" x 14" x 8". 

Diaper bags, kid safety seats, mobility, and medical devices are some larger objects that do not count as personal items but you may bring them on board along with your carry-on and personal item.


Delta advises that personal items should be roughly the size of a laptop bag or handbag. The airline does not specify the exact dimensions for personal items. 

You can bring umbrellas, jackets, food, and beverages bought at the airport, strollers, child seats, medical equipment, or mobility aids on board in addition to your personal item.

Southwest Airlines

The personal item you're carrying must fit under the seat in front of you and measure no more than 18.5" x 13.5" x 8.5" while flying with Southwest

You are allowed to bring additional items with your carry-on and personal items such as clothing, mobility aids, umbrellas, canes, or snacks during the journey.

United Airlines

The dimensions of United personal items should fit into the space beneath the seat in front of you which cannot exceed 17" x 10" x 9".

Besides your personal item and carry-on, you are allowed to bring along additional items including jackets, assistive gadgets, umbrellas, reading material, food purchased at the airport, and cameras.

Below, we’ll cover the personal item size of some international carriers:

What Bag Can Be Used For Your Personal Items?

As a general rule, any bag that can fit under the airplane seats can be used as a personal item. Below, we'll go over the most frequent bags used and what you need to know about using each one down.


Most people prefer to carry their personal items in small backpacks. They're ideal because you can always have one hand free since you only need to carry a carry-on suitcase and a backpack. Your backpack stays on your back while you hold the suitcase with the other hand.

Click here to see this backpack on Amazon.

Garment Bags

Many business travelers usually pack their suits. Additionally, wearing a suit during the flight isn't the best idea because it easily wrinkles and perspires. Bringing a garment bag, where you could pack your suit and it wouldn't wrinkle, would be a much wiser choice.

Click here to see this garment bag on Amazon.

Duffel Bags

Small duffel bags are another fantastic item to use for your personal items. They are remarkably flexible, adaptable, light, and simple to pack.

Additionally, if you wrap the shoulder strap around the retractable carry-on's handle, you can keep it atop the bag, making it very simple to move both of them around.

Click here to see this duffel bag on Amazon.

Rolling Underseat Suitcases

Many business travelers only need to fly for a brief overnight trip. Because of this, many of them only bring a personal item when they travel rather than a carry-on bag. The majority of them pack their entire personal belongings into small, rolling under-seat suitcases.

Click here to see this rolling underseat suitcase on Amazon.

Totes And Purses

Totes and purses are another type of very popular personal item bag, particularly among women. They are the perfect option for personal items because they are convenient to pack into and are very flexible. Additionally, almost all of them meet the limitations on personal item size.

Click here to see this tote bag on Amazon.

Messenger Bags

Messenger bags are one style that makes a great choice for personal items. They meet the requirements for personal item size and are lightweight and flexible.

What makes them so great is that they have a shoulder strap, which enables you to carry both of them easily if you use them in conjunction with a carry-on.

Click here to see this messenger bag on Amazon.


Although they are heavy, rigid, and some don't even have shoulder straps, you could theoretically use them as personal items. They also have a pretty limited amount of space. You might substitute a messenger bag or a backpack.

Click here to see this briefcase on Amazon.


personal items, red headphone, laptop bag, backpack, laptop, mouse, notes

Understanding the restriction on your carry-ons, checked luggage, and especially on personal items is crucial information to acquire. Therefore, a very important step to take is picking the appropriate bag for your personal items. With this, you could save on potential fees and headaches.

Also, you can transport all of your luggage much more easily and could make your vacation much simpler. Hopefully, you now fully comprehend the rules regarding bringing your personal item on airplanes.

For more great traveling tips, check out our related posts:

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