Can I Bring Two Backpacks on My Flight?: Salkan The Backpacker

“Can I bring two backpacks on my flight?” It’s a frequently asked question among travelers looking to make the most of their carry-on allowance. Airlines change their rules from time to time, so understanding how carry-on luggage works is important.

In this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of traveling with two backpacks, offering valuable advice and tips to help you have a hassle-free journey.  

Read on for more details…

Can I bring two backpacks on my flight?

In most cases, you can bring two backpacks on a plane as long as one of them fits the airline’s requirements for a carry-on, while the other is small enough to count as a personal item. So yes, bringing two backpacks on your flight can be a reality, but it comes with its caveats.

Just make sure that both backpacks meet the airline’s size rules for hand luggage before you head to the airport. This is because airlines have different size limits for carry-on and personal items. 

Here’s why you can bring two bags on a plane

Thule Landmark Travel Backpack

I’m going to explain why you can take two bags, even two backpacks, with you when you fly. I want to make sure you know it’s possible, so let’s dive into the details.

What airlines say…

Most airlines allow passengers to bring two items on board: one carry-on bag and one personal item.

Let me break it down for you: A carry-on bag is usually a bigger piece of luggage that you can put in the overhead bin. On the other hand, a personal item is a smaller bag that fits under the seat in front of you.

For example, Delta Airlines says you can have one carry-on bag and one personal item, like a small backpack, a laptop bag, or a purse. Your carry-on bag can’t be bigger than 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm), and your personal item should fit under your seat during the flight.

So, if your airline allows two carry-on items, that means you can bring two backpacks. One can be your bigger carry-on backpack, and the other can be your smaller personal item backpack, as long as it fits under the seat.

What travelers are saying…

Many people, like Deb from Gear Personal and Sam Stevenson on Quora, have shared their experiences of flying with two backpacks without any problems from airport security or cabin crew. Deb mentioned, ““I’ve flown with two backpacks many times. The smaller one had just my laptop and electronics, and I never had issues with security or cabin crew.”

Sam explains that since there’s no strict definition of a small personal item, and airline staff often don’t strictly enforce the difference between personal items and carry-ons, passengers often board with both a backpack and a small suitcase.

Even a Reddit user confirms this. They said, “Yes, you can do it, and I’ve done it before. One backpack goes under your seat, and the other can go in the overhead bin.” They however warn that if the plane is full and you’re boarding late, you might need to gate-check one bag.”

My experience traveling with two backpacks

You know what? I’ve had the opportunity to travel with two backpacks as well!

Normally, I prefer to travel light and stick to one bag, as carrying two can be a bit awkward. However, there are times when I find it handy to have a second bag, like a packable daypack, especially when I want to bring home some souvenirs.

I remember a trip to Portugal on EasyJet, where I took advantage of EasyJet’s allowance for two bags, thanks to their EasyJet Plus membership. That extra backpack turned out to be a incredibly convenient. I managed to stow it neatly under the seat in front of me. So, you see, it is totally possible to bring two backpacks on a plane as carry-on items.

Understanding airline rules for carrying two bags

Can I Bring Two Backpacks on My Flight

When you plan to bring two bags on a plane, it’s crucial to know the rules set by the airline you’re flying with. Here are some key things to consider:

Bag size and weight limits

Airlines generally permit travelers to bring two backpacks, but there are size and weight limits you must follow. Most airlines have specific restrictions for carry-on bags, so it’s essential to check these requirements before you pack to avoid surprises at the airport.

For instance,  American Airlines allows one carry-on bag and one personal item. The carry-on bag must not exceed 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm), and the personal item must fit under the seat in front of you during the flight. Other domestic airlines like Southwest, Alaska, Jetblue, and Hawaiian follow the free carry-on bags and personal items per flight rule. 

What about the weight limit?

Well, Luggage Pros notes that most airlines allow you to bring a carry-on bag that weighs up to 40 pounds. Additionally, for your personal items, different airlines have weight limits, which can range from 10 to 25 pounds (approximately 4.5 to 11 kilograms), as mentioned by Cabin Zero.

Number of bags allowed (carry-on and personal item bags)

Apart from size and weight limit, airlines also specify the number of bags you can bring onboard. As mentioned earlier, most airlines allow one carry-on bag and one personal item.

A carry-on bag is usually larger and goes in the overhead bin, while a personal item is smaller and fits underneath the seat in front of you. Most domestic U.S. airlines require personal items to be 18” x 14” x 8” or smaller. So, you can think of one backpack as your carry-on and the secondary bag as your personal item while staying within airline guidelines.

Check with your airline

I must emphasize that you check your specific airline’s policies. Bringing extra bags without permission may lead to extra fees or even having to check your bags at the gate.

By understanding your airline’s restrictions and bag allowances, you can ensure a hassle-free experience with two backpacks on your flight. For the most current information, visit the airline’s official website or contact their customer service. 

Security checks and procedures

When you go through airport security, your backpacks will undergo X-ray screening. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has rules on what you can bring on a plane, so review these guidelines before packing.

During the security check, you must take out electronics larger than a cell phone from your backpack and place them in a separate bin.

This includes laptops, tablets, e-readers, and gaming devices. Additionally, Liquids, aerosols, or gels in your carry-on backpack must follow the 3-1-1 liquid rule (3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters or less per container, in a clear quart-sized bag).

If necessary, TSA agents may ask you to remove items from your backpacks for further inspection. To make this process smooth, I recommend you pack your backpacks in an organized manner, possibly using packing cubes or pouches to keep items separated and easily accessible. Store electronics and liquids in an accessible pocket for quick removal during screening.

Overall, you can bring two backpacks on a plane, but they must adhere to airline rules and go through security screening. Following TSA guidelines and packing your backpacks efficiently will help ensure a stress-free security check.

Exceptions: When you can’t carry on two backpacks

Thule Landmark Travel Backpack

Certain airlines restrict passengers to one piece of hand luggage to streamline the boarding process and to ensure safety and comfort aboard. Exceptions to carrying two bags as hand luggage can vary depending on the airline’s specific policies and the type of flight.

Here are some common instances when passengers may not be allowed to board with both a carry-on and a personal item bag:

  • Budget airlines: Many low-cost airlines have stricter baggage policies and may only permit one piece of hand luggage per passenger. For example, airlines like Allegiant, Frontier, Spirit, and United Airlines’ Basic Economy fare tickets permit one free personal item and may charge extra if you try to bring both a carry-on.
  • Small regional aircraft: Flights using smaller aircraft may have limited cabin space in the overhead bins. Passengers on these flights may be asked to gate-check one of their bags, typically the larger carry-on, to ensure it fits in the aircraft’s smaller storage compartments.
  • Overhead bin space limitations: If overhead bin space is full, passengers might be required to check their larger carry-on, even if they were initially allowed two items. This often happens on smaller regional jets or during particularly busy flights.
  • Full flights: During peak travel times or on fully booked flights, airlines might enforce stricter baggage policies to ensure there’s enough space for all passengers’ belongings. In such cases, they may ask passengers to check one of their carry-on bags at the gate.
  • International flights with different airlines: When traveling internationally, passengers should be aware that baggage policies can vary between airlines. While one airline may allow two carry-on bags as hand luggage, a connecting flight with a different carrier might have different rules.
  • Overweight or oversized bags: Airlines often have weight and size restrictions for both carry-on and personal item bags. If either bag exceeds these limits, you may be required to check it, even if you’re otherwise allowed to carry both. To avoid these hassles, measure the personal item and the second carry on bag and pack efficiently. We’ll provide you with some handy tips on how to do this later in the article.
  • Special circumstances: Passengers with specific needs, such as medical equipment or traveling with infants, may be granted exceptions to the typical baggage policies. For example, on United Airlines, items like jackets, umbrellas, cameras, mobility devices (including wheelchairs, walking sticks, and crutches), child car seats, safety harnesses, strollers, diaper bags, and breast pumps are typically not included in the standard carry-on count. However, it’s advisable to inform the airline in advance and follow their guidelines in such cases.

Travelers need to check their specific airline’s baggage policies before their flight to avoid any surprises at the airport. These policies can change over time and may vary widely between airlines, so it’s best to verify to ensure a smooth travel experience.

Tips for packing and traveling with two backpacks

Traveling with two carry on bags can be convenient, especially if you have a lot to carry or want to keep your belongings organized. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to travel with two backpacks:

  • Select two backpacks that suit your needs. One carry on baggage should be larger for carrying most of your essentials, while the other can be smaller for personal items or as a carry-on. And I think it goes without saying, look for backpacks that are lightweight, durable, and easy to carry. Consider backpacks with multiple compartments to help you organize your belongings.
  • Organize your belongings: Divide your belongings between the two backpacks based on their size and weight. The larger backpack can hold clothing, shoes, and bulkier items, while the smaller carry on baggage can carry electronics, documents, and valuables.
  • Pack efficiently: When packing multiple backpacks, it’s important to distribute weight evenly. Start by packing heavy items, such as shoes and books, at the bottom of the backpack, and lighter items on top for better weight distribution. This will help keep the backpack balanced and prevent it from tipping over. Also, pack light, use packing cubes or compression bags to organize and compress your clothing in the second carry-on bag. You can also use compression bags to separate different items, such as dirty clothes and clean clothes.
  • Use the larger backpack as your main bag: Wear the larger backpack on your back, adjusting the straps for comfort. Make sure it fits snugly and doesn’t strain your shoulders.
  • Carry the smaller backpack as a personal item: Use the smaller backpack as your personal item, which typically goes under the seat in front of you during a flight. This bag can contain items like your laptop, tablet, travel documents, and any essentials you need during the journey.
  • Check airline policies: Research the specific baggage policies of the airline you’re flying with to ensure you comply with size and weight limits for both backpacks.
  • Prepare for security screening: When going through airport security, be prepared to remove your laptop or electronics from the smaller backpack for screening. Follow any security guidelines for liquids, gels, and prohibited items.
  • Stow the larger backpack in the overhead compartment: During a flight, place your larger backpack in the overhead compartment. Make sure it’s securely stowed, as this will be considered your carry-on bag.
  • Keep the smaller backpack handy: Keep the smaller backpack with you throughout the flight, as it’s considered your personal item. You can access your essentials easily during the journey.
  • Be mindful of weight distribution: As you walk and move, be mindful of the weight distribution between the two backpacks to maintain balance and comfort. Consider using luggage carts or trolleys if available.

By following these tips, you can pack multiple backpacks efficiently and effectively, making your travels smoother and more enjoyable.


Can you take two backpacks on a plane?

Certainly! You can bring two backpacks on a plane if they meet the airline’s size and weight guidelines for a carry-on and a smaller personal item. However, it’s important to review the baggage policies of the airline you’re traveling with to make sure you follow their rules and avoid any issues with checked luggage or oversized bags at the airport.

How do you travel with two backpacks?

What is the limit for backpacks on airlines?

The limit for backpacks on airlines varies, but generally, you’re allowed to:

  • Carry-On Bag: One bag, like a larger backpack with dimensions around 45 linear inches or less.
  • Personal Item: A smaller item like a backpack, purse, small duffle bag, camera bag, diaper bag, or laptop bag, that must fit under the seat and not exceed 18 x 14 x 8.

How many bags can you take on a plane per person?

On a plane, each passenger is generally allowed to bring two carry-on bags: 1 carry-on bag and 1 personal item bag.

Do backpacks count as a carry-on for flights?

On many flights, backpacks indeed count as a carry-on item, as long as they adhere to the airline’s size and weight restrictions for carry-on baggage. Typically, a carry-on luggage backpack that fits under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin and meets the airline’s guidelines will be considered a valid carry-on.

What are the airline rules for backpacks?

Airline rules for backpacks generally focus on the size and the number of bags you can bring on board. Typically, a backpack can be used as a carry-on if it meets the airline’s size guidelines, which usually allow for the bag to fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you.

If you’re also carrying a larger carry-on item, the backpack might have to qualify as your “personal item” and therefore would need to be smaller in size. Again, it’s always a good practice to check the airline’s baggage policy ahead of your trip to ensure your backpack adheres to their rules.

What if one of my backpacks is too big?

If one of your backpacks exceeds the airline’s size limits, you have a few options. You can check it in as luggage, but keep in mind that this may incur additional fees. Alternatively, you can redistribute items between your two backpacks to ensure they both meet the size requirements.

Are there restrictions on the contents of my backpacks?

Yes, there may be restrictions on the contents of your backpacks, particularly regarding security and prohibited items. To ensure a hassle-free security screening, familiarize yourself with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines or relevant authorities’ regulations. You can find more information on their official website.

So, am I allowed to bring two backpacks on a plane?

Can I Bring Two Backpacks on My Flight?: Salkan The Backpacker

In summary, the answer to the question, “Can I bring two backpacks on my flight?” is generally yes, but it depends on the airline. Remember, one backpack can serve as your personal item, and the second one can be your carry-on, provided you meet size and weight restrictions. Knowing the rules in advance will save you time and help you avoid unexpected fees or complications.

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