Baggage Weight Limitations, Hand Luggage and Restrictions for Liquids

Baggage Weight Limitations

In accordance with the local occupational safety rules, passengers travelling to and from Australia, Brunei, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom, should note that your checked baggage cannot exceed 32 kg per piece. This baggage weight limitation of 32kg is an issue relating to Occupational Health Safety and is not your baggage allowance. Any excess baggage above your allowance is chargeable. Passengers are required to re-pack their baggage if the baggage weight exceeds the above-stipulated limitation per piece. Heavy machinery or spare parts that exceeds the indicated weight above would not be uplifted baggage to and from these countries. “CPT Airport baggage conveyor system has a max standard IATA bag, which is 90 x 72 x 45cm”

Hand luggage

Hand luggage or cabin baggage (also commonly referred to as carry-on in North America) is the type of luggage that passengers are allowed to carry along in the passenger compartment of a vehicle instead of moving to the cargo compartment. Passengers are allowed to carry a limited number of smaller bags with them in the vehicle and contain valuables and items needed during the journey. There is normally storage space provided for hand luggage, either under seating, or in overhead lockers. Trains usually have luggage racks above the seats and may also (especially in the case of trains travelling longer distances) have luggage space between the backs of seats facing opposite directions, or in extra luggage racks, for example, at the ends of the carriage near the doors.

Commercial airlines

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) sets guidelines for cabin baggage/hand luggage/carry-on luggage size.They are not mandatory, however, and individual airlines can and do vary their requirements. The IATA guideline states:

Cabin baggage should have a maximum length of 56 cm (22 inches), width of 45 cm (18 inches) and depth of 25 cm (10 inches) including all handles, side pockets, wheels etc.

Most low-cost airlines have smaller limits for the cabin baggage where one bag is commonly allowed at a size of 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm. Still the maximum weight differs widely in the range of 5 kg to 12 kg. A second bag is mostly not allowed for low-cost travel.

The actual size and weight limits of cabin baggage can differ widely, in some cases they are dependent on the aircraft model being used, in other cases it depends on the booking class. As an example of the lack of standardization, the maximum permitted cabin luggage restrictions of some airlines are:

  • 48 cm x 33 cm x 20 cm Aer Lingus Regional (Stobart Air – one bag max. 7 kg)
  • 48 cm x 36 cm x 20 cm Aurigny Air Services class Regional (one bag max. 10 kg) or class Inter-Island (max. 6 kg)
  • 50 cm x 45 cm x 20 cm Jet Airways for flights within India with ATR aircraft (one bag max. 7 kg for Economy Class, one bag max. 10 kg plus one laptop for Business and First Class)
  • 55 cm x 35 cm x 25 cm Jet Airways for all other flights (one bag max. 7 kg for Economy Class, one bag max. 10 kg plus one laptop for Business and First Class);Air France (weight allowance depends on route and class)
  • 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm Ryanair for all flights (first bag max. 10 kg);.Second bag of size 35 cm x 20 cm x 20 cm also allowed.
  • 55 cm x 40 cm x 23 cm Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss International Air Lines (one bag max. 8 kg or a foldable garment bag up to 57 cm x 54 cm x 15 cm);Flybe (one bag max. 10 kg)
  • 55 cm x 40 cm x 24 cm Aer Lingus (one bag max. 10 kg plus one personal item not exceeding 33 cm x 25 cm x 20 cm)
  • 56 cm x 35 cm x 23 cm United Airlines; (one bag plus one personal item)
  • 56 cm x 36 cm x 23 cm Malaysia Airlines; (one bag up to 7 kg plus one personal item);Virgin Atlantic (One bag max. 10 kg); Delta Air Lines (One bag plus one personal item)
  • 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm (IATA size) British Airways (one bag plus one bag up to 45 cm x 36 cm x 20 cm, up to 23 kg each);EasyJet (one bag, no special weight limit, not guaranteed to travel in cabin; 50 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm is guaranteed);Finnair (one bag, max. 8 kg plus one personal item)
  • Commercial airline pilots and flight attendants also comply with standards. Those standards are set by individual airlines under “uniform restrictions” which guide and maintain professional dress codes.

Business Class, First class passengers and holders of high level milage club members are often allowed to carry on a second luggage of same size and weight, or a smaller size and weight.

On smaller sized aircraft the hand baggage can be carried in the cargo area. In this case the baggage is collected when boarding the aircraft and is handed back to passengers right after landing.

Security restrictions

Following the increase in restrictions imposed on flights from UK airports and to the USA after the events of August 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot, hand baggage on such flights was restricted to one cabin bag no bigger than 45 cm x 35 cm x 16 cm effective since 15 August.On 21 September 2006, the British Airports Authority advised that from the following day, the allowable size of the single item of hand baggage on outgoing flights from the UK would be increased to 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm (approx. 22 in x 17.75 in x 9.85 in), the IATA guideline size. Still most airports have a strict limit of one piece of cabin baggage per passenger – especially passengers in the business class are used to have two pieces of cabin baggage allowance within Europe which does not apply for flights to and from the UK.

European Union

Since 6 November 2006 there is a common regulation for cabin baggage restrictions in extended European Union (including Switzerland, Norway and Iceland).

Restrictions on liquids:

  • only liquids with max 100 ml per piece
  • all pieces assembled in a single zippable plastic bag of max 1000ml (1 liter)
  • the plastic resealable bag must not exceed 20 cm by 20 cm
  • maximum of 1 plastic bag per passenger
  • liquids include gels and lotions (shampoo, tooth paste), lip sticks, moist paper tissue, contact lens solution

Exceptions:

  • prescribed medicine of any size (non-prescribed medicine-only items allowed well)
  • baby milk and other items for infants
  • nutrition for diabetes diet

Restrictions on abusable objects:

  • weaponry, including imitations and sports utilities (e.g. archery)
  • sharp objects, even small ones, including dart arrows and razor blades.
  • The recommendation allows for light knives and scissors with blades up to 6 cm but some countries do not accept these either (e.g. nail care items).
  • blunt objects, clubs and all larger sticks, including sports utilities (e.g. skateboard)
  • inflammable objects, including ethanol, alcoholic beverage above 70%, some match sticks
  • toxic chemicals, including pepper spray, liquid batteries, blood samples


United States


The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has introduced a series of restrictions effective since 26. September 2006 under the name “3:1:1” for liquids

Restrictions for liquids:

  • 4 ounce or smaller of containers for liquids and gels (100 ml)
  • 1 quart-size clear plastic zip-top bag holding the liquid contents (approx. 950 ml)
  • 1 bag per traveler shown openly in the security bin.
  • the TSA guidelines explicitly accept the metricized portions of 100 ml / 1 liter as defined later in the European Union.
  • the list of exceptions for liquids (baby milk, diabetes diet) is identical.
  • Furthermore the TSA has additional restrictions for security searches – for example all baggage should not be locked (there are special luggage locks that TSA staff can open), gifts should not be wrapped, and shoes may be required to be taken off during body search with the metal detector. Food items in the luggage may be mistaken for dangerous material triggering an intensive search.

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