If you often try to travel with just a carry-on (or two), you’re probably used to getting charged extra unexpected fees because you broke some unknown airline rule. Planning a cabin getaway? Learn more about having a great, rustic vacation. Here’s how to travel the correct way with carry-ons, avoid those hidden fees and make your next flight with plenty of time to spare.
1. Figure out which airlines have the strictest guidelines. Last year,
Delta, American Airlines, and United reduced the size of allowed
carry-on bags. Now you can have a bag that is 22 inches long, 14 inches
wide and nine inches tall, which is one inch smaller than in past years.
JetBlue and Southwest, however, have maintained their 24x16x10 carry-on
bag limit, which makes them the better choice if you pack your carry-on
to the brim. When determining whether or not your carry-on fits within
the airline’s limits, don’t forget to account for the bag’s wheels.
Remember, even if your bag is only one inch too large, many airlines
still won’t let you through. When it comes to weight, international
airlines tend to have more strict guidelines than domestic flights. You
can weigh your luggage on a regular bathroom scale or, if you travel
often, you may want to invest in your own luggage scale.
2. Always do a last check on TSA rules for what you can and cannot carry
on the plane. The rules are always changing, so don’t assume that
something that passed through last time will make it through again. For
now, you can carry on knitting needles and screwdrivers, but
e-cigarettes are banned.
3. Check the airline’s website to learn about hidden fees. In 2014,
Frontier started charging flyers up to $35 for carry-on bags. If
customers tried to check their carry-on at the gate, they had to pay up
to $50 in fees! That number’s going up, too. Spirit airlines has 24
kinds of baggage fees, some that go all the way up to $100. When you fly
Allegiant, you’re allowed one small personal item but if you have to
store something overhead, you could pay up to $35.
It can be a pain to keep up with always-changing airline rules. Before
boarding your next flight, give them a quick call to make sure you’re
still within the guidelines.