Canada-to-US Flights Allow Carry On Baggage Again

19/1/2010 – Canada-to-US Flights Allow Carry On Baggage Again

For photographers today’s very poorly publicized announcement from Transport Canada should allow many to exhale with a sigh of relief.

Beginning tomorrow, the 20th of January, passengers flying from Canada to the United States may board their flights with a full size carry on bag, measuring 9″ x 16″ x 22″ (23cm x 40cm x 55cm), or 47 linear inches.

In addition to this full-size carry on bag, an important piece of information for photographers is that you may also board your flight with a laptop-briefcase or camera bag. Having spoken directly with Transport Canada, there is no defined size limit for a camera bag…however I’d use common logic and not try and board with two full-size 47-linear-inch rolling equipment bags.

Keep in mind that while Transport Canada may allow up to 47 linear inches, airlines may have different restrictions, such as Air Canada having a maximum carry on allowance of 46 linear inches.

Presently, Air Canada has updated the carry-on restriction changes on their web site, however neither Transport Canada nor the Canadian Air Transport Security Administration (CATSA) have updated their websites to reflect these changes.

The changes to Transport Canada’s carry-on allowances include allowing photographers to fly with the Think Airport Security; Pelican 1514; Mountainsmith Parallax; and Gura Gear Kiboko Bag.

Below is a photo of my Gura Gear Kiboko bag stuffed into an Air Canada carry on baggage template.

Happy Flying!




  1. I actually flew from Calgary to Houston earlier today and was allowed my laptop carrying case. I did not get thru smoothly tho an had an extensive conversation with an agent about allowances. The most important thing to note is that (especially as a female, but not to discriminate) you can not carry a purse AND a laptop case. And if you do carry a laptop case, it cannot contain any non-electronic equipment. I was asked to carry my personal belongings (wallet, cell phone, keys, passport) in my hands/pockets and could have my laptop, charger, camera, and other electronic equipment in my laptop bag but was forced to throw away two journals, a power adapter, a pencil bag and a hardback book that they would not allow me to keep in my laptop bag. The airlines are still not 100% sure of the policies so although they advised on the one bag limit they did not tell me about the issues with only having certain items in certain bags. Regardless, thanks for being the most up to date source on the issue. I had difficulty locating info last night from either the TSA or the Calgary airport websites.

  2. Abby,

    The change in CATSA carry on policy, via Transport Canada, goes into place tomorrow. Laptop bags have always been allowed, bu “small laptop bags”

    The key to getting around the restrictions in many ways has been to wear a jacket or vest with a lot of pockets. Clothing is exempt.

    Sorry you had to toss some items.

    Happy Flying!


  3. Oooo, hell ya, back to the days of tan safari vests! Huzzah!

    As a side note to Abby, I’m astounded that they made you throw away a book. I can just see it now, you’re going to rip it to shreds and rub two sticks together to make a fire.

    I get SO pissed off about airline security smoke and mirrors… when an entire nation goes on blood pressure medication and anger management therapy sessions you’ll know the terrorists have won. 😉 Oof. sorry. Needed to rant, won’t happen again.

  4. Abby, that is just nuts, though I hope after today that nonsense stops. I’m off to San Diego next week YYZ-YYC-SAN and hope the YYC people don’t cause me any problems with my ThinkTank International.

  5. Ya, I was sad to see the books/notebook go but I understand. The problem isn’t with the rules themselves but with the communication. Neither the airlines, nor the customs officials really knew exactly what would be stopped at security. The safari vest idea, honestly, isn’t a bad one 🙂

  6. I have an extensive post about traveling from Toronto to San Francisco on January 10th. I was permitted to carry my camera bag, a Lowepro Stealth AW 650, with 2 bodies, three lenses, flash and assorted batteries, filters etc.

    I simply told security I was a working photographer (which I am), the camera bag was xray’d, after which it was chem-checked and hand inspected, piece by piece. Following that first security check all passengers were subjected to a second RCMP check.

    That check consisted of a body pat down and a second piece by piece hand check of the camera bag… it included demonstrating both cameras functioned (showed menus).

    The only bags other passengers had were laptop bags. I probably had the largest piece of carry on of any passenger.

    I didn’t mind the double searches… there was a little uncertainty with the TSA officers, but ultimately the equipment came onboard without issue.

    I’m glad to hear that rollers are being allowed again. I normally travel with a ThinkTank roller.

    My original post is here

  7. Based on the restrictions imposed, I choose not to fly,
    It the trip is to far to travel by car, train or bus within the the time I have, then I will not make the trip.

  8. I cannot believe our purse size is restricted! What possible risk is the size??? Next they will restrict what colors or material!

    In a country like Canada where staff, baggage handlers & tarmac employees can come and go indiscriminately we are worried about a purse size!!

    Because the Government is scared to take on Unions they cause the passenger anguish instead of shoring the real “terrorist” holes. Canada’s leaders too often go about things backward. Shameful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *