Packing for a trip can be tricky! You gotta make sure your luggage follows the right rules, especially for carry-on bags. Carry-ons are the bags you bring with you on the plane rather than checking them. Backpacks are a popular choice for carry-ons because they’re easy to wear and fit under seats.
But are backpacks considered a carry on for every airlines?
The answer is: it depends! Airlines have guidelines for the size and weight of carry-on bags allowed. As long as your backpack isn’t humongous, it should be A-OK. Standard backpacks, like for school or day hikes, are totally carry-on friendly. Even larger camping backpacks often still squeeze into carry-on size limits. But overstuffed backpacks may get flagged for being too big. As long as you pick a backpack that isn’t much wider than your shoulders with a lightweight load, you’re good to go!
Are backpacks considered a carry on?
When it comes to air travel, it is important to understand the rules and regulations regarding carry-on luggage (1). While policies may vary, generally backpacks are allowed as carry-on items, but it is advisable to check with the specific airline for any size or weight restrictions.
Backpacks as Carry-On: Understanding Airline Policies and Restrictions
Source: Amy Fillinger
Most airlines allow backpacks as carry-on bags, with some size limits. Carry-ons are the bags passengers bring aboard and store above seats or underfoot. Rules exist so carry-ons safely fit without crowding.
Backpacks make handy carry-ons since they’re light and distribute weight well when stuffed under a seat. Standard school backpacks or small hiking packs easily comply as carry-ons. Larger camping backpacks may work too if not overfull.
But each airline sets specific size and weight maximums for carry-ons that backpacks must meet. Some limit carry-on bags to around 20-25 inches long by 13-17 inches wide and 8-10 inches deep. Weight limits range 15-35 pounds. Know your airline’s exact carry-on rules.
With the right sized backpack as your carry-on, you can avoid waiting at baggage claim while saving checked bag fees too! Just be sure it’s not oversized or crammed full, or you may have to gate check it.
Personal Item vs. Carry-On: Differentiating Backpacks for Air Travel
Besides a carry-on, many airlines allow a “personal item” like a purse or small backpack. Personal items get a separate, smaller size allowance than carry-ons (2).
For example, a personal item may be limited to 18 inches long by 14 inches wide and 8 inches deep – perfect for stuffing under the seat in front. So a medium-sized backpack could qualify as a personal item even if too big for carry-on size.
Having both a carry-on bag in the overhead bin plus a personal item backpack below is ideal for maximizing what you can bring on board. Just know the specific policies of your airline to take advantage of both allowances.
With a full-size carry-on plus personal item backpack, you’ll have space for all your in-flight essentials while avoiding checked baggage fees!
Airline-Specific Rules: Backpacks as Carry-Ons for Major Carriers
Airline carry-on policies vary, so check your carrier’s exact size and weight limits for backpacks. For example:
- American Airlines allows carry-on bags up to 22″ x 14″ x 9″ and personal items up to 18″ x 14″ x 8″.
- United allows carry-ons up to 22″ x 14″ x 9″ and personal items up to 17″ x 10″ x 9″.
- Delta allows carry-ons up to 22″ x 14″ x 9″ and personal items up to 18″ x 14″ x 8″.
- Southwest allows carry-ons up to 24″ x 16″ x 10″ and personal items up to 18.5″ x 13.5″ x 8.5″.
So standard backpack sizes usually comply as either a carry-on or personal item for major airlines. Just know guidelines can change, so check your airline’s website when booking tickets.
As long as you follow size limits, backpacks make super convenient carry-ons for keeping essentials handy during flights!
Dimensions and Size Limits: Ensuring Your Backpack Meets Carry-On Criteria
To ensure your backpack qualifies as a carry-on, pay attention to these key size measurements:
- Length: Typically limited to 20-24 inches long
- Width: Usually must be less than 16 inches wide
- Height/Depth: Around 8-10 inches deep is ideal
- Total dimensions by adding length + width + height
- Weight when packed – aim for under 20-35 pounds
Standard school backpacks or hiking daypacks often fall within common carry-on size limits. But oversized camping packs could exceed dimensions.
Use a soft tape measure to check all dimensions of your packed backpack. Adjust contents as needed to squeeze into permitted carry-on size restrictions. Then you’re all set with the perfect carry-on backpack for breezing through the airport!
Exceptions and Considerations: Special Cases for Backpacks in Carry-On Allowance
While most backpacks meet carry-on size limits, exceptions exist:
- Oversized hiking backpacks may exceed length, width, or weight restrictions. These would need checking instead.
- Packed-full camping backpacks can surpass size and weight limits. Remove the heaviest items to lighten under the max.
- Odd-shaped backpacks like those with external frame supports may not fit in sizing boxes at airport screening. These could require checking.
- Bulkier camera backpacks with protruding lenses may not fit overhead bins properly. Be prepared to gate check these if unable to stash overhead.
- Regional or budget airlines may impose more restrictive carry-on policies, limiting backpack options. Research airline-specific rules carefully.
Even if your backpack meets standard carry-on size limits, be flexible if asked to check it at the gate due to limited space. But in most cases, backpacks make excellent carry-on companions for air travel!
More on how do you have a smooth trip.
To wrap up, backpacks can totes make excellent carry-on bags for air travel. Their comfy, hands-free design and flexibility to squish under seats make backpacks a practical option. Just be sure any backpack you want to carry on follows the airline’s size and weight rules, which are usually pretty generous. A standard school or lightweight hiking backpack will work great.
Go with soft backpack materials that can squish easier too. And don’t overstuff your bag – traveling light is key! With the right sized backpack that fits carry-on rules, you’ll breeze through the airport with your hands free and ready for adventure.
Stephanie Ansel is a well-known writer and journalist known for her unique and captivating writing style. She has written many articles and books on important topics such as the lifestyle, environment, hobbies, and technology and has been published in some of the biggest newspapers and magazines. Stephanie is also a friendly and approachable person who loves to talk to people and learn about their stories. Her writing is easy to read and understand, filled with lots of details and information, and is perfect for both kids and adults who want to learn about important topics in an interesting way.