Top 10 airline baggage tips

The following advice should help you avoid many of the common problems that passengers have with carry-on or checked luggage.

  1. Travel with only carry-on luggage
    By using only carry-on luggage, you do not risk having checked luggage lost or stolen. Also, review's information for general baggage resources for general limits on carry-on luggage, and also the page with tips and advice for carry on baggage.

  2. Do not put heavy items in the overhead storage bins
    While the weight limit for carry-on items is generally about 40 lbs. (18.2 kg.), even a much lighter bag may cause severe injury if it falls out of the bin. For more information, refer to the AirSafe Journal article discussing head injury risks from overhead luggage.

  3. Put your contact information inside and outside every bag
    In addition to this information, you should also put a copy of your itinerary inside every bag to make it easier for the airline to reunite you if you are separated from your luggage. Do this with your carry-on bag in case you are forced to check that bag at the last minute. For personal security reasons, you may want to use an address other than your home address.

  4. Customize the look of your bag to make it easy to identify
    Many bags on a flight may have a similar design, so customize the bag to make it easy to spot on a baggage carousel. This will keep other passengers from picking it up by mistake.

  5. Keep valuable items with you
    Money, laptop computers, electronic files, and other items of high value or importance should be kept in a carry-on bag, preferably one that is small enough to stow under a seat. The airline may insist on checking larger carry-on bags if the overhead bins become filled. Also, keep in mind that fors ome large and valuable items like a wedding dress, you may only be able to carry it in a checked bag.

  6. Make sure that the airline tag on your checked luggage is for the correct destination
    Every piece of checked luggage should have a three-letter airport identifier that matches your destination airport. If you are unsure of the code, ask the ticket agent or skycap.

  7. Make sure that you keep the stub from your checked luggage
    This stub is a critical document that will be needed if your luggage is lost by the airline or if you are trying to prove that you own a piece of luggage.

  8. Immediately report the loss of checked luggage
    If your checked bag does not arrive at your destination, immediately report this problem to the baggage agent on duty or to any other available representative from your airline.

  9. Prepare to deal with a lost bag
    Pack key items in your carryon bag like extra underwear or essential items for a business meeting so you can continue your trip if your checked bags are lost or delayed.

  10. Don't pack hazardous goods
    There are quite a number of items or materials, some of them not so obvious, that may pose a risk if taken on an aircraft. Visit for its list of items restricted or banned from airline aircraft for more details.

Additional baggage pages

Carry-on bag tips

Flying with batteries

Prohibited items

Baggage claim tips

Baggage fee basics

Top 10 bag fee tips

Flying with batteries

Flying with cash

Flying with computers

Flying with sex toys

Flying with pets

Falling bag hazards

Things You Should Not Bring on Board

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Top 10 airline baggage tips -- Revised 29 September 2014