The Weird World Of Carry-on Bag Sizes
You can’t track down the carry-on bag sizes for 195 airlines without getting your hands dirty. We sifted through esoteric rules and slogged past passive-aggressive regulations to bring you the good stuff – those all-important carry-on weights and dimensions.
Along the way, we even uncovered an airline or two we had never heard of wedged behind the sofa. Below is a list of treasures and oddities from the hunt, the tarnished coins and stale crumbs we came across while peeking under the cushions to build Carry-on Bag Sizes – the easy-to-search list of carry-on bag sizes for airlines worldwide.
Note: since we first collated this list, a number of the airlines have gone bust. Let this be a lesson to airlines: give us all a carry-on falcon allowance or you too will bite the dust. Anyway, we're keeping all of them in here because they're interesting to read about.
Old TVs Only
The Airline Formerly Known As Insel Air, the Dutch Caribbean carrier that served as the national airline of Curaçao, used to note helpfully, “A television is not a regular piece of luggage.” Duly noted. We tend to agree.
Insel Air on Packing TVs
"For a 35-inch television a fee of USD $40 will be charged. A 2nd television will be charged USD $80. If the television is between 35– 42 inches, an oversize fee of USD $40 applies on top of the regular fee. Insel does not allow televisions over 42” inch onboard its aircraft. These must be transported as cargo."
Unfortunately, the vast majority of TV sets sold around the world now have a 40+ inch screen, so chances are, if you’re traveling with a relatively new TV, you’ll be paying the oversize fee to Insel.
You Don’t Mess With The Mahan
EDIT: As of November 2022, the incredible video mentioned below has been taken private. This is very distressing and as you can see below, we've written an earnest email to Mahan's PR department in an attempt to Bring Back The Mahan.
Speaking of TVs, Iran’s Mahan Air knows a thing or two. “There’s a lot more to a Mahan Air passenger than comfortable seats and delicious food. For a start there is a 42-inch LED TV displaying live pilot camera for take-off and landing and short video clips during flight.”
Hot-cha! Take it away, Mahan!
Throwing Lamp Shade
Mango, a now-dead, state-owned, low-fare, South African carrier, used to make this special provision for certain household articles:
Because you know you aren’t going to find it back home. Sometimes Guests find the perfect household article in the most unlikely place. It’s that object that you just have to have, because you know you aren’t going to find it back home. The following household articles are accepted provided they are correctly packaged and do not exceed the recommend baggage allowance:
And items of a similar nature.
Though the list is somewhat shorter than might be expected, we’re hoping that the lamp shades clause covers most of the hats | in | our | collection.
Baby Weight Concept
According to the ‘Weight Concept’ of Singapore-based Silk Air, your “infant is only permitted 10kg of baggage.” Yeah but have you ever tried to get an infant to help with the bags?!
Trafficking Burgers On The World’s Worst Airline
A few years ago, Air Koryo became famous for trafficking McDonald’s burgers into Pyongyang from China on a daily basis to feed the North Korean political elite. We can only guess that what appealed was McDonald’s adherence to Dear Leader Kim Jong Il’s original ‘double bread with meat’ recipe. ‘Double bread with meat’ is known colloquially as gogigyeopbbang and yes, Kim Jong Il really claimed to have invented the hamburger.
Air Koryo also happens to be (allegedly) the world’s worst and only 1-star airline with a long record of safety violations. However, there are recent signs indicating that distinction may not last. According an article in Bloomberg, Air Koryo is modernizing its Pyongyang terminal, fleet and all-important flight attendant’s uniforms in an effort to move up in the rankings.
We shall see.
In any event, if you’re flying Air Koryo, be sure to leave your “running dogs of Western imperialism” behind. They’re forbidden (presumably, on pain of death) in both the cabin and hold and no, they may not even be sent as cargo freight...
Liquids // Blades
Nordwind Airlines (don't be surprised if that site doesn't load for you, we have no comment on the underlying reasons) is headquartered in Moscow, with its main hub at Sheremetyevo International Airport. Secreted deviously under their ‘Information on Liquids’ section, they enumerate the various types of edged weapons that are permitted to be carried in the hold (not, thankfully, the cabin). The list was pretty exhaustive and we had to look a couple of them up. They include:
Swards [possibly a spelling error, though more interesting if not]
Knives with sliding blades
Knives with locks
Scissors with the length of the blade over 60 mm
Crossbows, and submarine hunting guns (!!!) are permitted as well.
Blunt Instruments And Weaponized Tools
Besides tools that have the potential to be used as a pointed or edged weapon – such as drills, drill bits, box cutters, utility knives, saws, screwdrivers, crowbars, hammers, pliers, wrenches, spanners, blow torches – Etihad provides this helpful rundown of prohibited blunt instruments:
Baseball and softball bats
Clubs or batons
Kayak and canoe paddles
Billiards, snooker and pool cues
Martial arts equipment
Kabatons and kubasaunts
OUT FOR JUSTICE (1991): Steven Seagal – “Hey Sticks!” [ VERY NSFW]
The Pineapple Clause
Delta, we discovered, has a special pineapple clause listed in their contract of carriage for domestic flights originating from points in Hawaii. So be sure to throw a sack of pineapples over your shoulder because “One box or mesh bag of pineapples does not count toward your free baggage allowance.”
If you’d like to take your underwater torch, soldering iron or avalanche rescue pack, they are permitted, but you’ll have to notify Air Malta in advance.
Also, apropos of nothing, please don't do this:
Wizz Air, the low-cost Hungarian airline, will only accept your jumping poles for carriage if packed in textile sacks. However, Wizz Air does not provide any further information on what jumping poles actually are or why they specified that the sacks must be “textile.” Here’s what Google thinks.
We’re still undecided.
Footballs and Human Remains
Thou shalt deflate thy football before boarding Ryanair.
While sports equipment can be carried on regardless of where you’re headed, be aware that “The transport of human remains is limited to the London Stansted-Knock route.”
The Sour Stuff
Most airlines list foodstuffs that may or may not be carried on board. However, Iran Aseman Airlines makes it clear that transport of lemon juice and pickles will not be tolerated.
Furthermore, “sticky materials such as dates, honey and jam to the cabin is prohibited.”
Don’t make that sour face.
We'd link you to their rules, but the English-language version has been replaced by an interactive Coming Soon animation that we've been playing with for at least 2 hours too long.
Parachutes are A-ok, even if they’re not exactly a vote of confidence. Most airlines allow you to carry your own parachute as long as it meets their carry-on limits. It’s highly unlikely that it’ll be of any use to you in the event of an, uhh, “water landing,” but you can bring one along nonetheless. Just make sure your parachute does not contain any pyrotechnics or smoke canisters. It’s for the best.
Sadly you are expressly prohibited from bringing your cattle slaughter pistol on board your flight with TAAG Angola, but you should still consider joining their Umbi Umbi Club – because that name is so, so great.
Samsung and Swagways
Achtung! The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Flamethrower Edition has been banned by airlines globally since its recall.
Also recently added to Air Malta’s list of ‘Items Forbidden For Carriage By Passengers’ are ‘Swegways, Swagways and Hoverboards.’
By the look of this this (allegedly) Bulgarian Swagway, that prohibition is perfectly understandable.
Zookeeping At 30,000 Feet
Many airlines make provisions for dogs and cats to be transported as part of your hand luggage allowance. Some extend that service to household pets. Reptiles and primates (including lemurs, monkeys, orangutans, gorillas and chimpanzees), must typically be shipped as cargo and are not allowed in the cabin.
In recent years, comfort or emotional support animals (as distinct from service animals for the visually impaired) have been on the rise. Here’s a comfort turkey on a Delta flight
Note its festive holiday collar.
We’re sorry that Mr. P. T. Gobble, Esq.’s seatmates will have to endure his beady-eyed poultry stare as they sip their ginger ale. If you’re seated next to a turkey, vulture or other large raptor, we highly recommend skipping the pretzels.
But at this point, we’re just hoping that Hollywood doesn’t pick up on the trendfor next Thanksgiving. [NSFW Language Warning. It *is* Samuel L. Jackson after all. What do you expect?].
As a test, here’s video of an actual snake on an actual plane:
La vibora voladora...ja ja ja. Una experiencia única en el Vuelo Torreón-México, vuelo 231 de Aeroméxico. Eso si...Prioridad en aterrizaje. pic.twitter.com/qwDk6Wtszw— Indalecio Medina (@Inda_medina) November 6, 2016
Who’s doing the swearing now?
Business Class Falconry
One way to handle snakes is by bringing your falcons onto the plane, obvs. On Etihad Airways, business class guests and up are allowed not one, but (a generous) *two* winged beasts per seat. Coach passengers have to make do with one lonely bird of prey.
The image may be photoshopped. But the raptor allowance is real!
How to travel with pets #233 Flying with Falcons pic.twitter.com/1Kj3zPg3v5— Mrs Trefusis (@mrstrefusis) November 16, 2013
Falconry is quite a popular pursuit throughout the Middle East and many airlines that service the region such as Etihad, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian and Lufthansa, have provisions for raptors on board. Lufthansa Technik has even developed the patented 'Falcon Master’ which it pitches to VIPs as a safe and hassle free bird stand that is the optimal solution for bird protection and hygiene.
Still cool with eating off of those tray tables?
More Killer Graphics
Killer graphics are pretty much everywhere you look when it comes to baggage pages, but here’s a precious pearl courtesy of Uzbekistan Airways:
Graphic design for the class of service = Triple Platinum. Note: that’s the equivalent of Triple Emerald if you’re a Oneworld Alliance member.
Chillvibes with ATA Airlines (Iran)
More #chillvibes found at ATA Airlines Instagram.
We’re Calling You Out, Mahan
Shortly after Mahan Air won a place in our hearts then lost it again (see above), we discovered this line item lurking under the free baggage allowance:
An overcoat, wrap or blanket.
An umbrella or walking stick.
A small camera and/or binoculars.
A reasonable amount of reading matter for the flight.
Infant’s food for the consumption in flight.
A pair of crutches and/or braces or other prosthetic device, such as an artificial limb *provided the passenger is dependent upon them [emphasis OURS].*
Tell you what, Mahan: you let us keep *any and all* of our artificial limbs – dependent or otherwise – then we can talk about keeping our reading materials “reasonable.” (also consider for a second what exactly might have occurred to prompt an airline to actually write the reading matter warning into their rules…)
That’s All… For Now
Based on the above, we’ve already deemed the Carry-on Bag Sizes project a *complete* success, but if you need a quick check of the baggage allowance before you book or board your next flight, head there now!
Oh, and: if you came across any bizarre factoids or as yet undiscovered airlines, let us know in the comments and we’ll post your update. Carry-on Bag Sizes is an ongoing project. So, use it! Poke around just for fun or get your baggage restrictions quick and go. If you dig it, we’d be super grateful if you’d share it.
The link to the Uzbekistan Airlines page is broken.
Ahh you’re right – thanks Alexandra! We’ve added the correct link now :)
Really interesting post!
Thanks Blair! It was a fun one to put together