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How do you cope with carry-on weight/size restrictions?


I am trying to apck light for my trip to Italy and I 'm going to fly with Alialia which allows me 11 lbs on my carry on plus a brief case, plus a laptop bag.
I see 11 lbs very very small.I have a backpack that is 26 inch long and I can use the side straps to make ir less deep, but I can't do anything about the hight.
Do they really measure your lugage?
I'm thinking about putting some stuff in my laptop bag, which is an Eddie Bower backpack, quiet big, but I can make it smaller using the straps too, so it doesn't look big.
Any idea for "hiding" a 26 in backpack in the airplane compatiment?

Posted by
21720 posts

Unfortunately this is becoming a bigger (maybe lighter) problem as the airline tighten restrictions on carryon luggage. You didn't indicate your travel schedule. If you are going through England, you are restricted to ONE bag -- period. Whether you get by with your luggage is totally dependent on the checkin agent. They do measure it and they do weigh it. I have seen checkin agent put every piece of carryon in a sizing box -- if the smallest amount doesn't fit, you check it. My observation is that they are more concerned about size than weight but I have been asked to put everything on the scale. By the a laptop bag is a bag that just holds a lap top. It is not another backpack that you call a laptop bag. Good luck. You may have some problems.

Posted by
705 posts

It really does seem to be hit and miss. I flew with Alitalia 4 times on my visit in March and had a carry on bag, a laptop bag and purse. I had no problems and didn't see anyone measuring or weighing luggage. I also saw people with far more than me. Now having said that you may be unlucky. If the backpack is a lot higher than the allowance you may well have problems. If it looks about right you may get away with it. I think Frank's right when he says they seem to be more concerned with size rather than weight. Be resigned that you may have to check one bag and pack accordingly.

Posted by
1158 posts

It makes sense to me to be concerned about the weight and not size, because if your luggage is small, you can't really fit a lot, unless you take rocks with you.
I flew with Air France las year and I had the smaller backpack with me.I had my laptop in it and all kinds of other things, mostly cables and batteries, adapters.It was pretty heavy and looked kind of bulky, but they didn't weigh it or checked it.
I was thinking about not fill the 26 in backpack up all the way to the top, so, if they measure it, it would seem shorter.
Thanks .

Posted by
1589 posts


You asked about traveling lighter, but are really looking to somehow load too much stuff in too many bags. Please give some serious thought to cutting your luggage down by one half. Have a great trip!

Posted by
1455 posts

If you want to keep your stuff to a specific mesurement, try the Rick Steves packing bags. Ebags also have similar ones but in cool colors. The ebags ones are narrow, which can help you from "over" stuffing your case.

Also there's some great new luggage which maximizes your space in a 20 inch carry on. I saw 2 great ones at Target... Eddie Bauer's anti gravity case, and there's a swiss one, but that was very pricey so I didn't really look at that.

I used the E.B. one on my last 2 trips and with the packing cubes I've never gone over in weight or size.

Posted by
35 posts

Thought I would share our recent experience on this subject. We travelled from Canada to Italy in April via Air France and were told by our travel agent that we were allowed 2 bags 22 kg each, plus one carry-on each.

We packed everything in medium-size bags (1 each), didn't even have to resort to usuing the extension panel on the bags -- lots and lots of room. We were really proud of ourselves but then we weighed them just before leaving the house and discovered that one of the bags was way overweight. With only 1 pair of shoes in the bags, it must have been the electronics (hairdryer, electrical converter, etc.). We dug out another mid-size bag and split the contents between the bags. The third bag, however, came in handy from the gifts/souvenirs we brought home, although we still had to do some last-minute splitting between the bags on our return (had them weighed on the Air France counter in Roma before checking in).

Just another learning experience for us. Have a nice trip.

Posted by
21720 posts

Maureen, you had over a 100 lbs (45kg) of luggage for two people -- Wow !!!

Posted by
1158 posts

Eddie bauer bags are very cool.I have a larger day backpack from them and I love it. they are the best, but kind of pricy stuff.Target sells 2 convertible bags, 22in for $100.I think that's too much for such a small bag.However I found one on ebags and I made up my mind, finally :)
It's a backpack with a day backpack attached to it.
4600 cubic inch for $89.The straps can be tucked away , so if I want I can check it, with peace of mind that the straps won't get broken.
Thank you all for your tips.

Posted by
9363 posts

Every Eddie Bauer bag I've looked at is heavy even before putting anything in it. Is this one lighter?

Posted by
1158 posts

It depends which one you looked at.The one I lifted in target store didn't seem heavy.i can't remember the line name, but it was small, perhaps 21 in, had wheels and back straps, and handle.
If you go on do a search for eddie bauer, and look at all the luggage they have.Click on shipping information, and they will tell you the weight, but the luggage would be light then what ever they list in that section.
How heavy was the one you looked at?

Posted by
1158 posts

According to ebags the backpack is 4.6 lbs, but this includes the day backpack.
I think it's going to be lighter then rick's luggage.
the lightest bags you can find are actually backpacks, made of a very thin fabric.
Google for ligh backpack, if you are interested ina backpack.

Posted by
23 posts

Don't be such a pill Frank. I have used an Eagle Creek backpack for the last 3 yrs and it's brilliant. Packmates can halve your clothes bulk and I have found that even the tackiest old hostel seems to have a blow dryer somewhere on the premises. According to the BAA(UK) website anyone flying out of a UK airport is restricted to ONE bag, no extras like a purse or book bag or computer! Yes, it`s very restrictive, but boy do you learn to jettison the extras. The sandwich bag for your liquids is a pain, but anything cosmetic can be bought when you get to your destination. I bought some pretty fun stuff in little towns in Spain and Greece. God knows what I was putting on my face and in my hair.