Jetting off on a vacation can be an exciting but stressful time, especially when trying to get on and off an airplane. One way to save time on your journey is to avoid waiting in the baggage-claim terminal, or minimizing the bags you have to wait to roll by on the conveyor belt. By carrying on your luggage, you can breeze right out of the airport, but all carry-on items are subject to strict Transportation Security Administration guidelines.
Each airline offers a different policy on what passengers may bring on board. The majority, including Air Tran, Delta, Continental, American and US Airways, permit one piece of luggage carried on, as well as a purse, briefcase, laptop bag or other small accessory. Passengers will benefit from checking their airline’s website before planning a trip. A difference of a few inches, such as Spirit Airline’s carry on restriction of 22 inches by 13 inches by 10 inches compared to United’s 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches, could mean having to check bags. Weight also determines carry-on potential. The major carriers max out at 40 pounds, but Virgin Atlantic restricts passengers to 35 pounds, while British Airways restricts to only 26 pounds. In some cases, even if an airplane allows a carry-on bag, you may not be able to actually take it onto the plane. Small prop planes and jets don’t have the overhead capacity to fit the majority of roller bags -- they’re more suited to a laptop case or folded suit jacket. In these instances, you keep your bags with you until you board the plane, leaving them on the Jetway. They’re returned to you on the Jetway upon arrival at the destination.
On August 10, 2006, security concerns changed the way the Transportation Security Administration allowed certain items brought onto airplanes. Since that day, airlines have restricted passengers to what they call the 3-1-1 rule, which stands for liquids of three ounces or less, all together in one single quart bag per passenger, which must be taken out and screened separately from the luggage. While a passenger may occasionally get through without losing larger items, don’t take the risk. Pack large items in your checked luggage, or leave them at home.
The Transportation Security Administration restricts carrying on weapons or items which may be used as weapons, such as guns, ammunition, flares, pellet guns and gun replicas, tools larger than 7 inches, hammers and axes. Also on the no-fly list for the cabin are hatchets, cattle prods, billy clubs, brass knuckles, self-defense spray, nightsticks, throwing stars, nunchakus, grenades, gas torches or lighter fluid. Actual lighters themselves are also prohibited and are subject to restriction even in checked baggage as well. Sports equipment is also considered in this category, and items like golf clubs, hockey sticks, baseball bats, hand weights, pool cues and ski poles are not allowed on board.
Comfort and Calming
Some items passengers may want to pack to make their on-board experience better may find their way to the trash cans prominently placed near all screening areas. The TSA restricts passengers from bringing on gel-type candles, for example, and gel shoe inserts are also not allowed on board. Travelers may want to think twice about bringing home a souvenir snow globe -- snow globes of any size are forbidden as carry-ons, though they may be packed in checked luggage.
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