Taking Flight: A Look at the Essential Carry-On
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Taking Flight: A Look at the Essential Carry-On

Posted by Bryan on 3/20/2013 to Luggage

As airlines worldwide continue to impose additional fees on checked, selecting the right carry-on luggage has never been more important. In the United States and Canada, every airline other than Southwest Airlines charges checked baggage fees. As savvy travelers have discovered, two key factors determine the best bag for carry-on luggage.

Aircraft Type

Do you fly on large mainline airplanes with at least six seats across the cabin? If so, you can choose a carry-on bag that meets the maximum dimensions for carry-on luggage given on your airline's website and be comfortable knowing your bag will almost certainly fit in the overhead bin. On smaller regional jets with four or fewer seats across the cabin, the overhead bins will not accept the largest carry-on luggage that the airline allows. You will need to either carry a small, flexible bag that can be crammed into these smaller bins or be prepared to valet check your bag at the gate on these flights. Valet checked bags are returned to you either next to the airplane or at the gate at the arrival airport. You may wait over ten minutes to receive your valet checked bag. If you expect to valet check your bag, allow extra time between connecting flights.


For simple overnight trips, an over the shoulder bag works well. If you will be carrying heavy printed materials, personal medical equipment, or clothing for several days, the weight of your bag may be enough to warrant rolling carry-on luggage. Rolling bags with two or four wheels are available in many materials, sizes, and shapes. The advantage of not having to continuously carry your bag on a long trek through an airport makes rolling luggage a popular choice even among carry-on bags.

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