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2 carry-ons through Heathrow on BA? What is laptop-size?

Now that you can take 2 hand baggage on a British Airways flight from Heathrow, what does laptop-size mean? I called BA and the rep wasn't very helpful.

I'm taking my 20" wheeled luggage which is within the requirements for the larger item but I was also hoping to take my small backpack (20L) with me as a daypack. I measured it and it fits Air Canada's personal item size limit so my AC flight should be fine but the BA flight is concerning me.

Can anyone who has flown through Heathrow on BA recently help me with this?


Posted by
505 posts

There's no reason not to bring two carry-ons if that what you want to do. Not everyone is into the super-light-packing ethos - Andrea, don't feel you need to bring just one bag.

I always suggest having a smaller carry-on for ticket/passport/in flight needs, because you never know when they might require larger carry-ons to be gate-checked.

Frankly, I prefer to have two carry-ons rather than jamming everything into one bag and having to take forever to find things I need. I can also keep the smaller bag at my feet so I don't have to rummage around in a large back for stuff I need during the flight - not easy when it's in the overhead and you're short.

Andrea - you should be fine. You are now allowed the normal one carry-on plus a personal item on most flights. A small daypack should easily pass as a personal item - laptop size is any bag around the size of a typical laptop bag - roughly anything that would fit under the seat in front of you.

Go for it!
Have fun

Posted by
4821 posts

If you are going just for pleasure and not business, reconsider your packing list. My wife and I can go indefinitely with just one carry on and a reasonable sized handbag. Let me know if you need packing advice. TC

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks Kate!

My philosophy is that there's packing light and then there's weird :) I've dabbled in the later category a couple of times, most notably when I used my luggage strap as a belt after I'd forgotten mine.

I'm actually going to Egypt and I'm only transiting through Heathrow. As I learned from my travels to other sweltering countries, I'll need to carry lots of water with me when I venture out. Hence, there's no way I'm going to get away with not taking a daypack. I didn't want to pack it because that would take far too much valuable room.

Posted by
5513 posts

Hi Andrea,
I would advise that you pack as if you might have to check the larger of your bags. You will probably be fine, but I have found BA to be somewhat inconsistent regarding hand luggage (perhaps that was why their answer was so vague). I've been in line at Heathrow and seen the check-in agent decide that someone's bag was too heavy or too large and require that they check it in. Most times, the bag looked fine to me, but of course I was only visually sizing things up. Again, you will probably be fine but is always less stressful to be prepared for the worst case.

By the way, you are wise to try to carry-on your luggage to Cairo. When I flew from Heathrow to Cairo a few years back, my checked bag did not arrive when I did. It made for an interesting cultural experience at the Cairo Airport. I was very happy that I had a change of clothes in my laptop bag. My missing bag did get delivered the following day to the hotel.

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks Laura!

I was planning to check in online before I left Canada so I didn't have to stand in line to check in at Heathrow. So I would miss the checking my luggage part altogether.

Do I still have to go to the check-in or can I just go straight to security?

Posted by
5513 posts

If you are just connecting via Heathrow, you will just go right to the security check (you may need to transfer terminals first)... makes it even less likely that they will make you check your bag.

Enjoy your trip.