When people are getting ready to fly and plan to bring carry-on luggage with them, they usually keep a few things in their heads:
- How many inches their carry-on bag can be (that varies from airline to airline. Here are the most recent measurements)
- How much will it cost to bring a carry-on bag with them (again, this will vary from airline to airline, and sometimes depends on what kind of ticket you bought)?
But there’s one airline rule that many people overlook—the weight of their carry-on bag.
True, nearly all U.S.-based airlines charge a fee for checked bags up to 50 pounds and an overage fee for bags between 50 and 100 pounds (well, except for these four airlines). However, most (but not all) U.S. airlines don’t have a weight limit for a carry-on bag. As long as your bag is under their regular 14x22x8 (or whatever. Some are more, some less), it can weigh a literal ton, and there’s nothing in the rules that says there’s something wrong with that (Note: Don’t bring a carry-on that weighs a ton. The overhead storage area isn’t THAT strong).
Heads up though – two U.S.-based airlines do have limits on how heavy each passenger’s carry-on bag can be:
- Frontier Airlines – A carry-on bag can be no more than 35 pounds.
- Hawaiian Airlines – Your carry-on bag must be 25 pounds (11.5 kg) or under
That being said, we flew on Hawaiian from Honolulu to Orlando in February 2022 (several months before they said they were ending that service). The plane was an Airbus A330-200, we flew Economy, and no one said a thing about, or weighed our carry-on bags. So it could be a Your Mileage May Vary situation.
- Special shout out to United Airlines – they typically don’t have a weight limit for carry-on. But if you buy a Basic Economy fare ticket, you’re not allowed to bring a carry-on bag. So, I guess the weight limit in that case is zero??? 😉
Of course, OUTSIDE the U.S., it’s a whole different ballgame, where you encounter weight limits for carry-on bags on a much more frequent basis. In other parts of the world, your carry-on bag may be limited to as much as 51 pounds (British Airways) all the way down to 11 pounds (Air China, Air Tahiti and Helvetic, among others).
I remember when we went to Australia, we used JetStar to get between several different parts of the country (it was a tour package). Our carry-on and personal bags were limited to 7 kg (15.43 pounds) TOTAL (nowadays you can get a package [only on select routes] to double that to 30 kg. We didn’t have that option in 2014). I don’t even remember how I managed that, to be honest. But if it were to happen today, I would have my lightest carry-on bag in the world to help me get through. ;-).
Carry-on allowances will vary with what kind of ticket you have, where you’re flying to/from, etc. And if you have a credit card that may get you a free checked bag, that could affect how you pack, so your carry-on bag could be lighter. As always, check with your carrier for your flight(s) specifics.
But again, most of the time there are no carry-on weight limits for domestic U.S. flights. But if you happen to be flying on Frontier or Hawaiian, heads up that a weight limit for your carry-on bag could be in effect.
Want to comment on this post? Great! Read this first to help ensure it gets approved.
Want to sponsor a post, write something for Your Mileage May Vary, or put ads on our site? Click here for more info.
Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and sign up to get emailed notifications of when we post.
Whether you’ve read our articles before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!
This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary