Carry On Baggage Etiquette

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18/6/2008 – Carry On Baggage Etiquette

With airlines continuing to add fees for checked baggage there has been a significant increase in carry-on baggage coming on-board. As the amount of carry-on baggage continues I fee compelled to revisit a topic I have touched on before….. carry on baggage etiquette.

I understand that we all have a need to carry as much as we can on board. I understand that when airlines publish “one carry on + one personal item” we all envision our 22″ roll-aboard as our ‘carry on’ item while our 20′ roll-aboard is our ‘personal item.’

The truth is this, you can get it on board, if the airline lets you, but you may need to make some concessions. So, here are some basics on carry on baggage etiquette that will bring you good traveling karma, and make life easier as well try and jam as much as we can into our carry on bags.

-Once on-board we all have a tendency to shove as much of our “stuff” in the overhead bins as we can. No one likes having their legs cramped on a flight, especially smaller regional jets, but if you can place your larger bag in the overhead and your smaller bag under the seat in front of you then everyone should have some space in the overhead. The bag under the seat in front of you can be removed from under the seat in front of you and generally positioned behind your legs to increase your legroom while in flight. I know there are always exceptions to this rule, but it generally works for most backpacks and briefcases.

-When placing your bags in the overhead compartment use common sense. Nearly all overhead bins are designed to accommodate a “legal” sized roll-aboard bag. These bags should be placed in the overhead wheels first, not sideways which takes up considerably more space. When placing an item such as a brief case in the overhead try and stand it up so it takes up as little space as possible in the overhead. If you have a coat that needs to go up, wait until the bags have been loaded into the overhead then lay your coat over the top, a coat will often be able to slip in-between some of the gaps allowing more of the overhead bin space to be used.

Be warned, being an overhead bin space hog can lead to ‘bad flyer karma.’

Happy Flying!


  1. Yeay! 🙂
    You could also tell the ladies not to overpack their carry-on luggade so that they are not able to lift it up over their heads or take it down safely! 🙂

    I am always so amazed on how much weight there is in so small bags!

  2. On many planes, wheels out works better for the roller bags in the overhead bins. Many NWA planes based in US are that way. 🙂

    Best tip — when placing your bags in the overhead compartment — and they don’t fit — let the people who have stacked up behind you by so the other passengers can continue to board.

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