Baggage Restrictions on Airlines When Traveling to USA

When travelling to America, packing is definitely one skill you’ll have to familiarize yourself with. And, packing bags before a trip, deciding what you need and what you don’t, can be a stressful experience for some. The stress can further increase if you are unaware of the baggage restrictions that are imposed by most international airlines.

For instance, American Airlines has put a restriction on carrying powder-like substances to the US, effective from June 30, 2018. Powders over 12 oz. / 350 ml are prohibited in your carry-on bags and should only be placed in the checked luggage. Airlines also have other restrictions on things that you are not allowed to bring into the US.

Here is a quick guide for you.

Carry-on Luggage

Carry-on luggage are the small bags and suitcases that the passengers can carry with them on the aircraft and store in the overhead compartments. Given the space available in these compartments, airlines restrict the dimensions of carry-on luggage to a maximum of 22X18X 10 inches. The allowed weight is around 40 pounds. However, the rules on the size and number of carry-on bags can vary from one airline to another. There are strict restrictions on carrying certain food items, sharp objects and batteries too.

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Liquids Rule

Airlines do not allow you to bring any liquid items, including lotions, gels, pastes and aerosols in the carry-on baggage if they weigh more than 3.5 ounces. The items must be kept in a clear 1-quart bag that can be resealed.

Checked Luggage

Bags that are large in size will need to be checked-in at the time that you check-in for your flight. Passengers are required to put a sticker on the checked baggage that should mention the destination, flight number and mobile number. This is helpful in case the baggage is lost during the journey.

The checked luggage on US flights also have a weight and size restriction. The weight of the checked baggage has been capped to a maximum of 50 to 70 pounds for the safety of the luggage handlers. Usually, the permissible dimensions (height+width+length) of checked baggage is around 160cm.

Many airlines ask passengers to carry two checked bags instead of one, to share the load. However, the added dimensions of both bags should also not exceed the permissible limit.

Keeping the baggage weight at a minimum saves the staff from any kind of injury or discomfort they might experience when lifting heavy baggage.

Usually passengers are allowed to carry one carry-on bag and maximum of two checked pieces of luggage that comply with the specified weight and size criteria. In case the limits are exceeded, the airline could levy a fine, based on how much excess baggage you have.

Things You Should/Shouldn’t Carry

To reduce the baggage load, pack according to the weather and the destination. Do not pack anything that is easily available in the US. However, remember to pack leather items like shoes, belts and a jacket with you, since all these are expensive in America.

When travelling to the US, do carry a pressure cooker, since you won’t find this highly useful cooking utensil even in most Indian stores.

If you take care of the above-mentioned rules, packing for a trip to US will not be a hassle.

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Ex “NRI” and Founder of the “Back to India” movement. I share my experience about immigrating to USA here.