Limitations for Cruisers
know the days of massive steamer trunks are history, but is
there a maximum amount of luggage that I can bring on a cruise?
Yes, there really is a
limit of sorts. While some cruise lines state that each passenger is
allowed 200 pounds of personal luggage, I've never seen anyone's
bags actually being weighed. However, it's not the cruise line
policy that passengers have to worry about. Cruisers arriving at
their embarkation port by air should be aware of airline
restrictions. Most major airlines have recently begun enforcing
suitcase size and weight policies, which have been on the books for
years but seldom applied. The result has been a rude (and expensive)
surprise to some travelers with large, heavy suitcases.
United Airlines flight
attendant Kay Bialk shared her flying experience with
CruiseDiva.com, "Check the weight of your bags along with
the size of carry-ons! I thought I had it all figured out... one
small, polite carry-on and one huge, enormous suitcase to be checked
packed to the gills. Well, some big, intimidating woman pulled me
out of the baggage check-in line to take my bag (big one) to the
scale. It weighed 8 lbs over the limit. I transferred eight lbs to
my purse, husband's bag. etc. I did this in front of hundreds of
people at O'Hare in Chicago. I guess it was funny, especially the
transfer of my zip locked panties and bras. People were fascinated!
This was a Chicago to London flight so beware. The airlines now
charge mucho bucks for overweight bags."
Airline Luggage Allowances
Time and space preclude the listing of all airlines'
restrictions and allowances here; however, following is Delta
Airline's policy for carry-on bags, which is fairly typical of those in the
industry for domestic US flights (some overseas airlines restrict
carry-ons to one item). Each passenger is
permitted one carry-on, plus one personal item. All baggage must meet the
size and weight limits listed below. Luggage carts count toward your
Carry-on Items: All
carry-on items must fit easily in a Size Wise™ unit (approximate
dimensions 22" x 14" x 9") and must weigh less than
You can carry on one bag plus one
personal item per passenger as long as it:
- Weighs less than 40 pounds (18 kg).
- Does not exceed 45 inches when you total length plus width
- Fits easily into the SizeWise® unit
- Fits in an overhead bin or underneath the seat in front of
Examples of personal items:
- Male or female purse
- Laptop computer (All laptop/computers must be carried aboard
and cannot be checked.)
- Camera case
- Diaper bag
- Items of a similar or smaller size to those listed above, such
as Portable Electronic Devices.
These additional items are okay to carry on and don't count
towards your allowance:
- Food items for immediate consumption
- Assistive devices such as wheelchairs or crutches, provided
passenger is dependent on them
- One box or bag of duty free merchandise
- A coat or jacket
- An umbrella
- One item of reading material
There may be more limits to carry-on baggage based on available
space and additional restrictions on certain flights.
You'll find airline
policies are changing as fast as their fares in terms of charges for
checked luggage and suitcases that exceed their weight limitations.
The best advice is to check with your carrier for the latest
information. A good source of advice regarding airlines, with links
to their web sites, is Johnny Jet.
Problems & Solutions
Unfortunately, many 29-30" suitcases now exceed
the maximum size limitation of 62 linear inches (length, width,
depth) and are possibly subject to additional charges. Then there is
the matter of suitcase wheel assemblies... are they included in the
measurements or not? That depends on who you ask and responses are
all over the map. It seems that the ultimate arbiter of oversize
dimensions is the agent checking in passengers at the airport.
Those 29-30" suitcases are likely to incur
excess weight charges, as well. As Kay Bialk discovered, they hold
so much that they are prone to be overly "heavy."
Depending on their size, rolling garment bags might also fall into
the category of "too big" to be checked free of charge.
Keep in mind, when you use Pack Mates or zipper lock storage bags to
compress your clothing, you save room and get more in your suitcase,
but it could end up heavier and costlier than anticipated.
Don't even think of "expanding" a suitcase
in the 29-30" size range to accommodate the addition of your
souvenirs for the trip home—the additional
size and weight just "won't fly" these days without a fee
as robust as the bag. Take a folding bag for your purchases and
carry it on the plane. You'll find the perfect one at
(follow the Luggage link to Carry-on Bags and select the
Pack Flat Back-Up Bag).
My view is that two smaller suitcases in the
24-26" size range will hold as much (or more) and are easier to
lift when necessary. Take the following steps before purchasing
luggage and leaving for the airport with it:
Ascertain the exact baggage regulations of the
airline(s) you are most likely to fly with and strictly adhere
For ease of moving through check-in lines, buy
luggage pieces that can "piggyback" onto one another;
Measure suitcases for size and include the
wheels just in case;
Weigh packed suitcases on the bathroom scale.
You may find that packing "less" is
"more" by following this experienced travelers' adage: Pack
your suitcases and remove half the contents. Then take twice as much
for Selecting Luggage for Your Cruise - What to look for
before making a major luggage purchase.
Cruise Tips -- Little hints to make your
cruise more enjoyable.