What Does “No Carry-On Bag” Mean? How To Handle It?

What Does No Carry-On Bag Mean How To Handle It?

Have you ever been caught off guard at the airport when you were told that you couldn’t bring your carry-on bag on board? It can be a confusing and frustrating experience, especially if you’re not sure why this rule exists. But fear not, we’re here to help you understand what “no carry-on bag” really means and how to handle it like a pro.

In this article, we will explore the meaning of “no carry-on bag,” discuss the possible reasons for this restriction, and provide you with practical tips on how to navigate this situation smoothly. 

What Does “No Carry-On Bag” Mean? 

“No carry-on bag” means that you are not allowed to bring a bag or luggage onto a flight with you. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t bring any bags with you at all; rather, it means that you won’t be allowed to bring your bag into the aircraft cabin. 

This could be due to a variety of reasons, including aircraft size and weight restrictions, or security measures.

In most cases, this means that your items will need to be checked in with the rest of your luggage. This is usually free for domestic flights but may come with an extra fee on international ones. 

If you’re traveling with a laptop or other fragile items, consider using a protective bag when you check them in to ensure they arrive at your destination safe and sound.

When it comes to packing for your flight, it’s important to remember that you won’t have easy access to any of the items in your checked luggage

This means that you should pack all essential items and medications in your personal item, which can be taken onboard and is usually allowed even if a “no carry-on bag” policy is in place.

How To Handle The “No Carry-On Bag” Policy Like A Pro?

How To Handle The “No Carry-On Bag” Policy Like A Pro?
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Generally, it is important to pack light and only bring the essentials. Use a small, compact bag that fits under the seat in front of you. Organize your belongings efficiently and prioritize items that are necessary for the duration of the flight. 

Additionally, familiarize yourself with the airline’s policy beforehand to avoid any surprises at the gate.

Here, are a few tips that would help you handle the policy smoothly:

#1 – Plan Ahead

The best way to handle this situation is to plan ahead. Make sure you’ve packed everything you need in the luggage you’re checking in. 

Consider bringing items like a laptop or other electronic devices, medication, and any essential documents in your carry-on bag if possible. That way, even if the airline loses your checked luggage, you will still have access to these items.

#2 – Pack Light

If you’re faced with a “No Carry-On Bag” policy, try to take it in stride. Use the opportunity to reduce your travel stress by packing light and only taking what you need. That way, you can make the most of your journey without having to lug around a heavy bag.

#3 – Personal Item Optimization 

If you’re willing to invest a little extra time and effort, personal item optimization is the best way to go. Invest in a good quality backpack that can fit all your essentials and make sure it has multiple compartments for organization. 

Choose items that are multi-functional so you can pack fewer of them, such as a dual-purpose jacket or shoes that can be worn casually and dressy.

#4 – Minimalist Essentials

When packing, make sure you only bring the essentials. Anything unnecessary should stay at home. 

Pack items that are versatile in style and color so they can be mixed and matched to create different looks.

Also, invest in a few travel-size toiletries so you don’t have to bring full-sized bottles.

#5 – Consider Shipping

If you’re traveling for an extended period of time, consider shipping your items to your destination in advance. 

This way, you don’t have to worry about packing everything into a single personal item and can just grab it when you arrive.

#6 – Wear Layers

One of the best ways to save space is by wearing layers. 

Choose lightweight pieces in neutral colors that can be worn together or as separately and mix and match them to create different looks. 

This way, you don’t have to worry about packing extra clothes for each day of your trip.

What Items Are Generally Allowed In Your Carry-On Bag?

In general, you are allowed to bring personal items such as clothing, electronics, and toiletries in your carry-on bag. Liquids are typically limited to containers of 3.4 ounces or less and must be placed in a clear, quart-sized bag.

This is when the no carry-on bag policy is NOT in place, which will be the case for majority of the flights you’ll book.

Here’s a table summarizing the items that are typically allowed in your carry-on bag:

Category Allowed Items
Personal Items Wallet, purse, money clip, Mobile phone, tablet, laptop, Keys, Prescription medications,  Baby food/formula (if traveling with an infant), Feminine hygiene products
Travel Documents – Passport, Boarding pass, Visa (if required), Itinerary
Electronics – Laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, etc.
Outerwear – Coats, jackets, sweaters
Reading Materials – Books, magazines, newspapers
Snacks – Non-liquid snacks (granola bars, nuts, fruit)
Headphones or Earphones – For use with electronic devices
Personal Care Items – Limited liquids, gels, aerosols (following 3-1-1 rule), Travel-sized toiletries
Medically Necessary Items – Insulin, syringes, medical supplies (with proper documentation)
Eyeglasses or Contact Lenses – Plus supplies for them
Small Umbrella – Compact umbrellas
Chargers and Cables – Chargers for devices
Childcare Items – Baby strollers (usually checked at the gate)<br> – Child seats

What Size Is Carry-On Luggage?

Carry-on luggage typically has dimensions of around 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches, including the wheels and handles. However, it is important to note that size restrictions can vary depending on the airline, hence, always check carry-on size limits for specific airlines before traveling.

Here’s a table of different airlines with their carry-on luggage size. These dimensions might change over time, so make sure to double-check with the airline before your trip.

Airlines Carry-On Luggage Size
Delta Air Lines 22″ x 14″ x 9″
American Airlines 22″ x 14″ x 9″
United Airlines 22″ x 14″ x 9″
Southwest Airlines 24″ x 16″ x 10″
JetBlue Airways 22″ x 14″ x 9″
Air Canada 21.5″ x 15.5″ x 9″
Lufthansa 21.6″ x 15.7″ x 9″
British Airways 22″ x 18″ x 10″
Emirates 22″ x 15″ x 8″
Qantas 22″ x 14″ x 9″
Ryanair 21.6″ x 15.7″ x 7.8″
Singapore Airlines 7kg weight limit
Cathay Pacific 22″ x 14″ x 9″ (7kg weight limit)
AirAsia 22″ x 14″ x 9″ (7kg weight limit)

How To Avoid United Airlines Baggage Fees?

How To Avoid United Airlines Baggage Fees?
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Firstly, consider traveling with only a carry-on bag to avoid checked baggage fees altogether. If you need to bring more luggage, try to pack light and stay within the airline’s weight and size restrictions. Become a United Airlines MileagePlus member, as certain membership levels offer free checked bags. 

Finally, consider booking a ticket class that includes free baggage allowance, such as business or first class.

Can You Bring A Backpack If It Says “No Carry-On Bag”?

Yes, you can bring a backpack as long as it fits under your seat. No carry-on typically means that passengers are not allowed to bring any additional bags or items on board besides a personal item that fits under the seat in front of them. 

However, it is always best to check with the specific airline for their policies and guidelines regarding carry-on items to ensure compliance and avoid any issues at the airport.

What Is Generally Considered A Non-Carry-On Bag?

The standard size for a carry-on item is typically 22″ x 14″ x 9″. Any bag larger than this will usually be considered a non-carry-on bag and need to be checked in with the rest of the luggage. Some airlines have additional requirements for non-carry-on bags such as weight limitations.

In addition to size and weight, airlines may also have rules about what items can be considered a non-carry-on bag. For example, some airlines may not allow large suitcases or duffel bags, while others might allow them. 

Additionally, certain types of items such as firearms, liquids, and hazardous materials are typically not allowed as non-carry-on items.

Is A Backpack A Carry-On Bag?

Yes, a backpack can qualify as a carry-on bag as long as it meets the size and weight restrictions set by the airline. These restrictions can vary between airlines, but generally, a standard-sized backpack that fits within the dimensions allowed for carry-on luggage can be taken on board.

Does “No Carry-On Bag” Mean No Purse?

No, “no carry-on” does not necessarily mean “no purse.” Carry-on restrictions typically refer to larger bags or luggage that passengers are not allowed to bring onto the plane. While many airlines still allow passengers to bring a small personal item, such as a purse or a laptop bag. 

What Is The Difference Between Carry-On And Hand Luggage?

Carry-on luggage is generally the type of luggage that you can take with you into the cabin of an aircraft. Hand luggage, whereas, is a more general term that can refer to any type of luggage that you are able to carry with you on your travels. 

A carry-on luggage must be small enough to fit in an overhead bin or under your seat and should not exceed a certain weight limit, which varies depending on the airline. 

Carry-on luggage typically includes a suitcase, garment bag, laptop bag, briefcase, or diaper bag.

Hand luggage, on the other hand, includes items such as purses, briefcases, backpacks, and diaper bags. 

Hand luggage does not necessarily have to fit in an overhead bin or under your seat. However, it should not exceed the weight limit set by the carrier.


Does A Suitcase Count As A Carry-On?

Yes, a suitcase can count as a carry-on if it meets the size and weight limits set by the airline. Carry-on suitcases are intended to be brought into the cabin and stowed in overhead compartments or under seats during the flight. Always check the airline’s specific guidelines before your trip.

Does A Small Handbag Count As A Carry-On?

No, a small handbag typically counts as a personal item rather than a carry-on. Most airlines allow passengers to bring a small handbag in addition to a carry-on bag. The handbag should fit under the seat in front of you. 

However, it’s essential to check the specific rules of the airline you’re flying with, as policies may vary.

Can A 45L Backpack Be A Carry-On?

Yes, a 45L backpack can be a carry-on. The size limit for carry-on luggage varies depending on the airline, but most domestic airlines allow for carry-on bags with dimensions of around 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm). 

A 45L backpack typically falls within these size restrictions, making it suitable as a carry-on for domestic flights

However, it is important to note that international flights may have stricter size limits for carry-on luggage. 

In such cases, a smaller 35L backpack might be more suitable to meet the size requirements for international carry-on. 

Do Shoulder Bags Count As A Carry-On?

Do Shoulder Bags Count As A Carry-On?
Photo by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash

Shoulder bags can typically count as a carry-on item, as long as they meet the size and weight restrictions set by the airline. Most airlines allow passengers to bring a carry-on bag and a personal item, such as a shoulder bag, on board.

Can You Wear A Backpack And Have A Carry-On?

The answer is yes. Many airlines allow passengers to bring one carry-on bag and one personal item, such as a backpack. The backpack can be worn on your back while the carry-on can be stored in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. 

Can A 40L Backpack Be Carry-On?

Yes, a 40l backpack can be carry-on depending on the airline’s size restrictions for carry-on luggage. Most airlines have specific dimensions and weight limits for carry-on bags, typically around 22 x 14 x 9 inches or 56 x 36 x 23 centimeters. 

As long as the backpack fits within these size restrictions and does not exceed the weight limit, it can be brought on board as a carry-on item. 

Does No Carry-On Mean No Personal Item?

No, “no carry-on” does not necessarily mean no personal item. While carry-on refers to larger bags that are stowed in the overhead bin, a personal item such as a purse, laptop bag, or small backpack is usually allowed even if there is a restriction on carry-on luggage.

Can You Use Your Purse As A Carry-On?

Yes, you can use your purse as a carry-on. Most airlines allow passengers to bring a personal item, such as a purse, in addition to their carry-on baggage. However, check with the specific airline’s guidelines to ensure that your purse meets its size and weight restrictions for carry-on items.

Is A Crossbody Bag Considered A Carry-On?

The answer is yes. However, it is important to note that it must be able to fit underneath the seat in front of you. A carry-on is a type of hand luggage that you bring into the plane cabin with you and is larger than a personal item. 

Therefore, as long as the crossbody bag meets the size requirements and can be stored under the seat, it can be considered a carry-on.


In conclusion, “No Carry-On Bag” signifies a restriction on bringing luggage into the cabin of a mode of transportation. This policy requires all belongings to be checked in, adhering to size, weight, and content regulations. 

To navigate this, review the carrier’s guidelines beforehand, pack essentials efficiently, consider checked baggage fees, and prioritize items for accessibility during the journey. 

Planning ahead ensures a smooth travel experience despite the absence of carry-on bags.

Swati Jaiswal

Swati Jaiswal is a dedicated traveler and an even dedicated individual who specializes in travel, digital marketing, & health and fitness niches. Passport stamps and coffee stains are her badges of honor.

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