Today, we’re exploring a common question: can I get away with bringing two personal items?
We’re all familiar with the rule: one free personal item bag is allowed. But is there a way to take a personal item bag along with a tiny purse, small handbag, or fanny pack without incurring the wrath of the airline?
Well, read on to find out!
Table of Contents
Can I get away with bringing two personal items?
In simple terms, no, you are not allowed to bring two or more personal item bags on a plane. Airlines only allow passengers to have one carry-on bag and one personal item. That said, there are some nuances to this, which we’ll cover in the following sections.
Various approaches to carrying two personal item bags on a flight
Here, I’ll explain airline rules on this matter, give examples for both experts and travelers and share my perspective on the issue.
What airlines say…
Airlines have clear rules about personal items, and in most cases, they only permit one per passenger. These personal items can include purses, laptop bags, fanny packs, small duffel bags, or small backpacks. Carrying two personal items is generally discouraged across various airlines like Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, and Spirit.
Oscar Brumelis of Clever Journey explains that the reason for this rule is quite simple. Personal items must be stowed under each passenger’s front seat. Since the number of passenger seats is limited, the plane can only accommodate the same quantity of personal items as there are passengers.
But get this.
You actually can carry two personal items on board, but only if you don’t have a carry-on bag with you. In this case, one personal item (usually the big one) can go in the overhead compartment, and the second bag or the smaller secondary bag goes under the seat.
What travelers are saying…
Can I get away with bringing two personal items? This question was discussed on the AirCanada subreddit, where a traveler asked about using a small suitcase as a carry-on, a backpack as a personal item, and a tiny purse for easy access during the flight.
Responses from fellow travelers varied. Some mentioned that they’ve successfully traveled with both a personal item backpack and a small purse. They advised that you can get away with a second personal item bag by attaching it to your backpack or placing it inside, especially if it’s small. This person even said they got away with three different bags on a United flight!
Regarding even smaller personal items, like bags full of snacks, travelers suggested that you can typically get away with them, as they’re considered food for consumption during the flight. You can either bring the snack bag on board or include it in your main personal item bag if it’s not allowed separately.
On Flyertalk forum, some argued that you can technically have “2 personal items” as long as you don’t also have a carry-on bag. In this case, one personal item should fit in the overhead bin, while the smaller one should fit under the seat.
That’s not all. James Eagleman of Traveling Light explained that low-cost airlines like Spirit and Frontier strictly enforce hand luggage rules because of the revenue they generate from baggage fees.
These domestic airlines may even count items like a pillow as part of your hand luggage allowance! To be on the safe side, just stick to the rule and go about with only one personal item that fits underneath your seat.
My take on traveling with two personal items
I think it’s thoughtful to travel with just one personal item instead of two when you’re on a plane. Here’s why:
Consideration for Fellow Passengers: Limited legroom is a common issue during flights. Having two personal items not only reduces your own space but also encroaches on the legroom of passengers in your row, making the journey uncomfortable for everyone.
Airline Rules: Airlines have specific rules and policies to ensure safety and order on board. Carrying two bags can violate these regulations. I’ve seen passengers being asked to check one of their bags due to space constraints or safety concerns. This can be inconvenient, especially if you have items in that bag that you need during the flight.
My Suggestion: If you absolutely need a second item, make it something small and stowable, like a slim pouch, purse, or fanny pack.
This way, you can easily tuck it inside your larger bag if airline staff asks you to consolidate. It’s a practical way to meet your needs while being considerate of your fellow travelers and complying with airline rules.
Also, when boarding the plane, keep both of your personal items close to you and don’t draw attention to them. Don’t carry bulky or larger bags. If you try to bring two really big personal items along with your carry-on bag, it’s probably going to be tough to get away with that without some luck.
Understanding Airlines’ Personal Item Policies
To avoid confusion, let’s clarify what constitutes a personal item and explore how different airlines handle these allowances.
What is a personal item?
A personal item is a small bag that must fit nicely under the airplane seat in front of you. This could be a large purse, briefcase, laptop bag, camera bag, small backpack, small duffel bag, or even a small rolling underseater case designed to fit under seats.
Specific size and weight restrictions for personal items
Airlines often have size restrictions for hand luggage, and the personal item dimensions are usually around 18 x 14 x 8 inches.
Different airlines have varying rules about personal items. For example, JetBlue, United, and American Airlines explicitly state size limits, while others like Delta and Alaska Airlines just say your bag must fit under the seat.
In certain cases, airlines like Emirates go even further by specifying both size and weight restrictions they allow passengers to bring as hand luggage ((18” x 14” x 8”; 7 kg).
I also want to point out that carry-ons and even checked bags may not always be free. Budget airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet typically include only a personal item in the basic ticket price, and they may charge extra for carry-on luggage unless you’re a premium member.
Exceptions and special Cases: Extra Items You Can Carry On a Plane for FREE
While the general rule is one personal item, there are situations where exceptions may apply. So here, I’ll be talking about the list of extra items you can typically carry on a plane for free, in addition to your standard personal item bag or even your carry-on suitcase.
- Jacket or Coat: You can wear your jacket or coat onto the plane or drape it over your arm if it doesn’t fit in your carry-on.
- Reading Material: You can carry books, magazines, or e-readers without any extra charges.
- Food: Snacks and meals for personal consumption are typically allowed. Just be mindful of any liquid restrictions and pack accordingly.
- Travel Pillow and Blanket: Neck pillows and small blankets are usually accepted without additional fees.
- Umbrella: Compact umbrellas that fit in your personal bag are often allowed.
- Walking Cane or Crutches: Necessary mobility aids like canes or crutches are generally permitted.
- Camera or Binoculars: Small electronic devices like cameras or binoculars can be carried without extra charges.
- Medication: Carry essential medications in your personal bag, and make sure they are in their original containers if required.
- Baby Items: If traveling with an infant, you can usually bring a diaper bag, stroller, and baby carrier.
- Duty-Free Items: Items purchased at the airport’s duty-free shops are typically allowed as an additional bag.
Remember that specific airline policies may vary, so it’s always a good idea to check with your airline for their rules and restrictions regarding extra items you can carry for free.
Tips on how to get away with bringing two personal items on a plane
If you want to try to bring two personal items on a plane, here are some strategies to consider:
- Mix bag sizes: Try using a standard-sized personal item bag along with a smaller one. Make sure they don’t look like two big bags. Some travelers have had success by attaching the smaller bag to the larger one or placing it inside, especially if it’s compact.
- Stay Discreet: When boarding the plane, keep both of your personal items close to you and don’t make them stand out. Avoid carrying oversized or bulky bags that could attract attention.
- Wearable Luggage: Some travelers use special vests or jackets with lots of pockets to carry extra items. You can also choose items that can serve dual purposes, like a laptop bag that can hold other small things.
- Upgrade Your Seat: Premium cabin passengers sometimes get more leeway with carry-on items. If your budget allows, think about upgrading your seat to get a bigger allowance.
- Consider Flight Load: If the flight isn’t full and there’s plenty of space in the overhead bin compartment, you might have a better chance of getting away with two personal items.
- Be Polite and Respectful: If airline staff question your items, stay polite and cooperative. Sometimes, they might make exceptions if you calmly explain your situation.
- Check the Airline’s Policy: Before your flight, check the airline’s specific rules on size and weight limit on their website. Airlines vary in how strict they are about personal items, so it’s good to know their policies in advance.
Can I have two personal items on Spirit?
No. Spirit Airlines allow passengers to bring only one personal item for free. If you wish to bring an additional item or a larger carry-on bag that needs to be placed in the overhead bin, you would generally need to pay extra, as Spirit Airlines often charges for carry-on bags beyond the personal item.
How many personal items can you take on a plane?
Most airlines permit passengers to bring one personal item in addition to their carry-on luggage. To ensure you have the most accurate and up-to-date information, I advise you to check with the airline you plan to fly with, as their rules may change over time.
What to pack in your personal item bag
How many personal items can I take in my luggage on a plane?
You can usually bring one personal item with you on a plane as part of your standard ticket. This personal item is typically a small bag or item that fits under the seat in front of you.
In addition to your personal item, you can also typically bring a cabin bag that goes in the overhead bin space, but this may be subject to size and weight restrictions, and some airlines may charge fees for carry-on bags.
Can I put my purse in my personal item?
Yes, you can put your purse inside your personal item when traveling on a plane. It’s common for passengers to place their purses inside their hand luggage for convenience and to help maximize the use of space while complying with airline baggage policies.
However, be sure that your bag doesn’t exceed the size limits specified by the airline, as it needs to fit comfortably under the seat.
How to travel with only a personal item bag
Can I get away with bringing two personal items on Ryanair Airlines
No, you can’t. According to Ryanair’s baggage policy, passengers are allowed to bring one small personal item onboard for free. If you try to bring a second personal item, unless it’s exceptionally small or you happen to be very lucky, you will likely need to pay an additional fee for that second bag.
Can I bring 2 personal items instead of a carry-on?
While it’s possible to bring two personal items instead of a carry-on, keep in mind that you’ll likely end up using the larger personal item as a substitute for a carry-on that goes into the overhead bin, while the smaller one can still be placed under the seat in front of you.
So, technically, you’re still complying with airline rules of one personal item and one carry-on bag.
What can I pack in my personal item?
So, can you bring two personal item bags on a plane?
No, bringing two personal items on a plane is not allowed. Most airlines allow passengers to have just one personal item, along with their carry-on bag.
While there might be occasional instances where passengers manage to bring more personal items, as mentioned in a Reddit post about someone bringing three bags, this isn’t a common or recommended practice because it goes against airline rules.
If you need to carry more items, I suggest you pack them inside your single allowed personal item or review the baggage policies of the airline you’re flying with for any additional allowances or fees.
What’s your opinion on passengers who bend the rules to carry more bags than allowed? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!