What’s allowed in — and prohibited from — your carry-on bag, according to the TSA’s rules
By Kaitlyn McInnis | CNN Underscored | Updated 11:36 AM EDT, Mon September 19, 2022
Packing for a trip can be a daunting experience. You want to streamline your stuff so as to travel light, but you also don’t want to be so bare-bones that you wind up shopping for the essentials you forgot when you should be enjoying your trip.
Maximizing your carry-on baggage allowance is a great way to ensure you’re packing light without skimping on the things you actually need, but you’ll want to ensure you’re packing items that won’t get you held up at the TSA security checkpoint. There are certain TSA carry-on rules and regulations you’ll want to be aware of when packing your carry-on bag, such as how much liquid you can actually bring on board or if your disposable razor is allowed through.
If you’re hoping to optimize the way you pack your hand luggage, you’ll want to read on. We’ve outlined everything you need to know about what’s allowed in a carry-on bag — and the best carry-ons to consider for your next trip.
What is a carry-on bag?
Carry-on luggage ranges in styles and sizes — from hard-shelled spinners to soft-sided weekender bags and even travel backpacks. But the bag will need to fit the size regulations of your airline. In fact, carry-on allowance isn’t determined by the TSA but instead by individual airlines. Generally speaking, most airlines implement a maximum size policy of 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches, including wheels and handles.
Your baggage allowance could also depend on your ticket type. Some basic economy tickets only allow for a personal item, such as a purse, rather than a piece of carry-on luggage. When it comes to the weight of the bag, you’ll want to ensure you can comfortably lift your carry-on up and into the overhead compartment efficiently. However, some airlines — particularly budget carriers — limit how much a bag can weigh.
Ultimately, if you’re planning to bring a carry-on bag on board, be sure to check your airline’s policies. Once you’ve determined your carry-on baggage allowance, you’ll then need to pack it with items that are permitted by the TSA.