Carry-on Or Check-in?


Advantages of carry-on

  • Well, for starters, you won’t ever have to complain about the airline having lost your bags! In the case of check-in, if your bags are lost, the air carrier will do little to compensate you, except to deliver your bag to your home or hotel, often many hours or even days after your luggage was lost.
  • When you get to your destination, you can just zip right through the airport to your rental car, taxi, or shuttle, and not have to wait endlessly for your bag to show up on that baggage carousel.
  • If your flight is delayed and you missed your connecting flight, you have your bags with you and are much more flexible. If you check your bags, those bags will stay on the scheduled flight, even if that flight is delayed by hours.
  • Another advantage is that you eliminate the chance of your precious belongings being damaged, after being manhandled by the cargo guys who treat your luggage like construction blocks.
  • During a long layover having luggage handy can mean access to an extra change of clothes or other necessities, such as a sweater or a toothbrush.
  • Checking baggage is, in most cases, an added expense. Most airlines charge passengers travelling domestically a fee to check baggage.
  • If you plan to pack work materials in your carry-on, you’ll be able to work on your flight. This could give you a head start.

Advantages of check-in

  • You can take along a lot more stuff. Since airlines restrict what you can carry-on board the airplane, you have to pack very carefully.
  • You won’t have to fight with a cabin full of people for that hallowed overhead bin space.
  • Carry-on comes with a cost. Since, overhead bins get full so quick, you might have to dole out extra to be allowed to pre-board.
  • Airlines will often impose restrictions on the size and weight of carryon luggage, making it difficult to pack all that is needed for any trip that exceeds a few days.
  • If you wish to take more than a few ounces of that hair product/face cream/mouth wash or even something as mundane as a nail file or a pair of scissors, you may want to check your bag.
  • The TSA has an annoyingly-extensive list of prohibited carry-on items.
  • Carry-on luggage, true to its name, must be carried… at all times; whether you’re going to the restroom or for a walk to stretch your legs.
  • If your carry-on is heavy, it can be a hassle to heft it into the overhead bins.
  • Every air carrier has different specifications for carry-on bag size, and you’ll need to check every time.

How much can you take on-board?

You can take one size-limited carry-on bag with you when you fly, not including a small laptop bag, backpack, or handbag. Alternatively, you can check two bags at the airport check-in counter. Bag size restrictions for carry-ons and weight-limits for checked-luggage are determined by each airline.

What happens if you carry your bags on-board and there is no space?

In that case, flight attendants take your bag off the plane and check it in. So you have to go to baggage claim when you arrive at your destination to pick it up at the baggage carousel.

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