In general, the basic and general regulations for hand luggage are unified, but there are notable differences depending on the company with which you travel, the economy class you book (tourist class, business etc.), the rate you hire (basic rate, optimal, excellence, etc.) or the country you travel to. As if all that wasn’t enough, these rules are also updated quite often and as travelers we have to do our due diligence and keep up with them if we don’t want a piece of our luggage rejected at check-in.

Hand luggage rules

The hand luggage is the one that you transport with you during the flight, taking it in the cabin of the plane. This is why there is a size regulation on this luggage, since the space inside the aircraft is reduced and the weight limited.

The hand luggage is made up of one or two pieces of luggage: a piece of luggage and some companies also include a personal item. Below we explain the general rules that must be met.

Measures and Weight of Hand Baggage According to Air Company

The size of the standard suitcase is what we all know as “weekend suitcase” or a 50L mountain backpack. Of course, according to the airline with which you travel, there are some small differences in size and weight restrictions. Keep in mind that, handles, pockets and wheels of the suitcase are included in these measurements.

We give you some examples:

Ryanair hand luggage: It allows you to access the plane with a suitcase that does not exceed 55 x 40 x 20 cm and 10kg in weight, and a small bag or bag that does not exceed 35 x 20 x 20 cm. However, it is highly recommended to always read the small print of Ryanair’s hand luggage guidelines.

Vueling hand luggage: They allow you a suitcase that does not exceed 55 x 40 x 20 cm and 10kg in weight and a personal accessory such as a bag, small case or camera. If you contract with them the Excellence Rate you can extend up to 14 kg.
Iberia hand luggage: Compared to previous low-cost companies, Iberia slightly expands these measurements to 56 x 45 x 25 cm. It also allows another personal accessory that can be a briefcase, lady’s bag, small wallet or laptop. The advantage of this company is that the maximum weight for hand luggage is extended up to 23kg, although it should be light enough so that the passenger can place it in the upper compartment of the plane.
Air Europa hand luggage: The maximum allowed measurements are 55 x 35 x 25 cm and their weight 10 kg. They allow a second package that can be a bag, a laptop, or if necessary, a folding wheelchair or crutches. If you hire the Air Europa business rate you can extend up to 14kg for national and European flights and up to 18kg for intercontinental flights (in the latter they allow two packages).

If you want to check the luggage measurements of your airline then you need to go to their respective sites.

Remember, normally companies place a mold with their measurements and weight on the boarding gate, and if you suspect that your suitcase exceeds its standards they will make you place it in that mold. The costs of excess kilos of hand luggage are not reduced.

Regulations of Liquids in Hand Baggage

Liquids in carry-on luggage require special attention. Since 2006 there are a series of unified restrictions for the transport of these:

  • Any liquid that you carry in your carry-on luggage cannot exceed 100ml.
  • You must store all these bottles in a transparent plastic bag with self-closing, so that it can be easily inspected, and can not exceed 20 x 20 cm in size (1 liter).
  • Only one bag is allowed per passenger, including children.
  • Liquids are considered: water and other beverages, soups or syrups, creams, toothpaste, lotions, oils, perfumes, gel, shampoo, shaving foams, deodorants, aerosols and any similar substance.
  • Liquids, beverages or perfumes purchased on the plane or at airport stores must be presented packed in the approved security bags they give you when you buy them, along with your purchase receipt, and not open them until your final destination.
  • In the event that you have to carry medications in your carry-on luggage, accompany them if possible with your prescription to avoid having a security check problem.

General Hand Baggage Restrictions

Taking into account that the carry-on bag will go in the same cabin of the plane, it is checked to guarantee the safety of all the passengers and of the whole crew. For this, the transport of some objects in hand luggage is restricted, these must be billed, and many others are directly prohibited. These are some of the objects that are restricted in hand luggage:

  • Sports equipment and musical instruments must go in checked baggage.
  • Sharp objects such as scissors, nail clippers, razor blades, scalpels must go in checked luggage.
  • Weapons should be billed and packed in a special case. To do this you must go to the Weapons Intervention Office of the airport. For safety, toy weapons are also not allowed in the airplane cabin.
  • Dangerous utensils such as slings, slingshot, work tools etc. must also go in checked luggage.

The objects or substances that are completely prohibited in any luggage, both hand and checked are: explosives, gases, flammable or toxic substances, radioactive or corrosive materials.

To ensure compliance with these standards, there are airport security controls, whereby each passenger crosses a metal detector arch and puts each suitcase through an X-ray scanner. In addition, manual registrations can also be made if necessary. These are the basic and general regulations for passenger hand luggage updated for 2019. However, we advise you to check if there are special conditions on your airline or if you travel to the US, Canada or any other country with their own restrictions.