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Swiss Airlines carry on baggage limit only 18lbs

I always only do a carry on baggage. I’m concerned that Swiss airlines only has a weight limit of 18lbs. I usually try to keep my carry on baggage at around 23lbs. Can anyone help me with this issue.

Posted by
942 posts

Without knowing what you're packing -- EXACTLY what you're hauling -- only advice is throw a bunch of stuff away.
Reducing one's carryon load is a rich and endlessly creative topic around here. Just spend an hour or two scrolling back through the forum after you've read Rick's packing lists for men and women and watched Rick's video clips on the topics. Twenty-three pounds is 10-11 kilos. The carryon limit for many European airlines has been 7-8 kilos for years; surprised you've made it this far.

https://carry-on-baggage.com/carry-luggage-size-weight-allowance-major-airlines/
https://www.tripsavvy.com/carrry-on-bags-size-weight-limits-1861874

Posted by
1456 posts

With Swiss Airlines, you do not want to risk being over the limit. You’ll want to make sure you are under the limit or check your bag.

Wait, one thought, you are allowed a second item to carry on. Perhaps you could move a few pounds to this item.

The second item can be a handbag, laptop bag or shoulder bag (max. 40 x 30 x 10 cm)

https://www.swiss.com/at/en/prepare/baggage/hand-baggage

Posted by
1202 posts

We went to Spain on Lufthansa and had the same limit. I moved many of my heavy objects (books, tablet, pills, a pair of shoes, etc) to a day pack, It fit under the seat in front of me and kept my bag below 18 pounds.

Posted by
1159 posts

When I was flying Norwegian Air from California I would put my iPad mini in the inner pocket, really just the pocket liner, of the jacket that I was wearing. It fit perfectly and saved a pound. But it will be tricky to shave off 5 lbs.

Posted by
40 posts

Hi Carisma! We traveled Swiss Air in 2019 from Boston to Italy through Zurich, so my information may be a bit outdated. We only brought carry on bags which were similar to Rick Steve's convertible backpack (Ebag Weekender Backpack) and made sure that they were the right specifications and weight before going to the airport (honestly, I don't remember what the weight limit was at the time). When we arrived, we were told to make sure each bag fit in their "sizer" (which they did) and they weighed them. When we got to our gate, a Swiss Air employee walked around picking up people's bags to check how heavy they were and ours were picked up and passed. We are heading back to Italy in a few months on Swiss Air and expect to follow the same guidelines with our carry on bags, however, this time, we purchased airline tickets which included 1 checked bag each so we can have the choice. I'm not sure about the current rules for personal items but maybe you can put some items in your personal bag? I'm gluten-free, so on our last trip I brought a few snacks to eat in case I couldn't find anything right away. I put those items in my personal bag.

Sounds like you are already a traveler and don't need thoughts on packing lighter, but in case someone else might be interested in suggestions - Our general rule is to make sure we wear the heavy items on the plane (boots, heavy sweater or coat - we went in February so we were very strategic). I don't bring a hair dryer since most places have them, and instead I bring a good round brush. We bring enough outfits for 3-4 days and then do laundry. For our next trip, I'm bringing a few more outfits because summer weight clothing is less bulky. I bring only the products I don't want substitutes for (my conditioner is a must), and buy products on my trip. My husband wears light, "mesh" travel undershirts so that his button downs last a few wears before laundry.
Limiting my shoes might be an issue for me this time since I'm bringing a few dresses! Good luck!
- Sheila

Posted by
434 posts

Not sure how much your current carry-on bag/suitcase weighs empty, but is it possible to get one that weighs a pound or two less? It's tough to find lighter-weight bags, I know.

Posted by
13 posts

Thank you all for your helpful tips. I’m flying to Rome at the end of June with a stop in Zurich. I’m attending a family wedding outside of Naples.

Posted by
2145 posts

Pre-covid, I was leaving on Swiss Air out of SFO, standing at the gate, and the Swiss Agent came around and asked us to put our carry-ons into the baggage frame. They did not weigh carry-ons at that time- [good thing, because the best I could do was 20lbs!] I then received a carry-on ok sticker. I was flying Business Class, but that seemed irrelevant.
Safe travels!

Posted by
254 posts

To add on to Kathy's suggestion: pre-Covid I flew extensively and globally and in more recent of those years used an Away (smallest, not their larger carry on) bag for trips lasting a month. For a Norwegian Air flight I remember the combined (personal item and carry on) weight in my fare class being what you describe. I'd never bothered weighing the carryon, since it always fit just fine in every tester thing and overhead. It weighed almost 6 pounds empty!
I then bought a luggage scale and started weighing my trusty stuff as well. My combo well- stocked first aid/toiletries little bag was 1 lb. Etc. I only finally managed by using a duffel that weighed under 2 lbs and testing if everything fit, but not sure that would work for you with wedding clothes...as others said, I then also distributed stuff: the 1 lb bag in a jacket pocket, etc- that was about 5 lbs, total, carried on me :)
It was really stressful, but I certainly felt triumphant when I passed...

Posted by
942 posts

I’m flying to Rome at the end of June with a stop in Zurich. I’m attending a family wedding outside of Naples.

The easiest thing to do is ship your wedding-specific attire to the host's address. Then ship your clothes back or figure out how to check another bag.

Posted by
11973 posts

I'm down to a carry-on shoulder bag and keep it to 12 lbs. max (normally right at 10 lbs.). It fits everyone's carry-on limit (even Ryanair).

European carriers are serious about their size AND weight limits. If you don't meet the limit, they can and will make you check it, which can be expensive.

If you really need the weight, you'll save money by changing your ticket to a checked bag before you get to the airport. Otherwise, I'd pare it down to well under the limit. Our bags always grow while traveling.

Posted by
13716 posts

Your limit is 8kg which isn't uncommon. But you get to carry a personal item too; check the Swiss Air site for dimensions. I deal with this on Turkish Air all the time. Put nothing but fabric in the carryon and all the heavy stuff in the personal item (it has no weight limit). You will easily expand your limit to 10kg or more.

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks for all the great tips. I decided to pay for luggage, my travel partner could not get under the limit.

Posted by
737 posts

I’m m interested in seeing what happened, also, but just wanted to add our experience when we had a family wedding in Ireland in 2009 after several weeks of travel. I sent ahead wedding outfits for three of us. I made sure to pack older items that we wouldn’t mind losing if they didn’t make it. We shipped to my husband’s cousin, and she got called down to pay 400€ in import duties for new clothes. She managed to talk them out of it, but we were surprised and chagrined for her.

Posted by
11973 posts

I'm not sure about being allowed to carry an additional personal item. An extra personal item is the rule with American carriers. I've seen American carriers allow people to board with two carry-ons and a personal item (then make people further back in line "gate-check" their only carry-on because the overhead bins are full).

I believe European carriers allow one bag up to the specified size and weight, not one bag plus a personal item. They are serious about their limits. My experience is they want you to put your purse inside your bag. Unless you can spot something on SAS website (or written on your ticket) that says you are allowed a personal item plus carry-on, I wouldn't assume an additional personal item is allowed.

Posted by
13716 posts

I believe European carriers allow one bag up to the specified size and weight, not one bag plus a personal item.

Just about every airline allows the "personal item" but the size varies by airline. The intent is that it goes under the seat in front of you, but I have only had to put it there on one flight.

Most carriers dont put a weight limit on the personal item, so that's where I shift all the heavy stuff so I make the 8kg limit that is common on the carryon.

One exception is KLM that puts a weight limit of 12kg for the carryon and personal item combined, but 12 kg is more than enough.

Here is a partial list but do check with the airline you are flying because this list has at least once mistake in (Turkish Air does have a size limitation) https://www.smartertravel.com/personal-item-vs-carry-on/

Posted by
11973 posts

What James said is true of our flight on Icelandair next month. One overhead bin size bag, 12 Kg (22 lbs) plus one personal item (dimensions are much smaller but no weight limit).

I personally wouldn't pack anywhere close to their limit. There is still the question of carrying your bags with you on your itinerary. Mentally walk through your itinerary, where will your bag(s) be? Will you be carrying/pulling your bag? Are you planning to use public transportation or primarily taxis/rental cars? The former will make you notice the weight of your bag. The latter will involve very little lugging.

Ultimately, it's about what works for you. As Rick says, "You never meet a traveler who says they pack more each trip than they did the trip before."

18 lb.s is definitely doable. My Italy trip bag was 13 - 14 lb.s total. Footwear - only what’s on your feet. Heavy duty walking type sandals and you can eliminate socks. No make-up. Plan on paying a laundromat to do your laundry or do your own laundry. Pack 3 - 4 days worth of clothes. Use a lightweight backpack that’s around 37 - 40 liters. Use packing cubes.

Posted by
44 posts

Use the Sarah Murdoch method, of weighing everything and only taking the lightest things. I had six t-shirts in my bag, I weighed all my t-shirts and re-packed with lighter weight t-shirts. It cut a pound and a half off my total weight!