Travel

Are Airline Carry-on Bag Weight Restrictions Big Trouble for Travel Photographers?

Airlines are increasingly imposing weight restrictions for carry-on baggage.  This is especially troublesome for travel photographers attempting to avoid checking their valuable photo gear.  Today, these restrictions seem more prevalent overseas than in the United States.

New York City Skyline from Newark Airport

In an overseas trip to India, I encountered some of these restrictions on an international flight and luckily my bag got in just under the limit.  In this blog post, I’ll show these restrictions by airline and give you ideas on how you can still get your photo gear to your destination.

Here is a list of some airlines that have carry-on restrictions.  Make sure you visit the airlines website and don't just use this list.  These restrictions continue to change and additional restrictions on size and personal items may apply depending on the airline and class.  An easy was to do this is to do a Google search for: 

Carry-on bag weight limit - Google Search

Airline Weight Dimensions
Air India 8 kg / 17.6 lbs Sum of 3 dimensions cannot exceed 45 in
(115 cm)
British Airways 23 kg / 51 lbs 56 x 45 x 25 cm / 22 x 18 x 10 in
Cathay Pacific 7 kg / 15.4 lbs 56 x 36 x 23 cm 22 x 14 x 9 in
Emirates 7 kg / 15.4 lbs 55 x 38 x 20 cm / 22  x 15 x 8 in
Gulf Air 6 kg / 13.2 lbs 45 x 40 x 30 cm / 17 x 15 x 12 in
Indigo Airlines 8 kg / 17.6 lbs 55 x 35 x 25 cm / 22 x 14 x 10 in
Jet Airways 7 kg / 15.4 lbs 55 x 35 x 25 cm / 22 x 14 x 10 in
Lufhansa 8 kg / 17.6 lbs 55 x 40 x 23 cm / 22 x 15 x 9 in
Qantas 7 kg / 15.4 lbs 56 x 36 x 23 cm /  22 x 14 x 9 in
SpiceJet 10 kg / 22 lbs 45 in / 115 cm (length x width x height)
Virgin Atlantic 10 kg / 22 lbs 23 x 36 x 56 cm / 9 x 14 x 22 in

So What Can You Do About These Weight Restrictions

  • Research.  Understand the airlines and the rules before you book your flights.
  • Some airlines allow personal carry on items (lady’s handbags and laptop cases).  For example, Air India allows an additional 4kg laptop bag in addition to the carry-on bag.  Use this additional personal bag to balance the weight.
  • Balance carry-on weight amongst passengers that are traveling with you.
  • Know the weight of your bag before you leave for the airport
  • Be selective on equipment, especially lenses.  Take only what you need.
  • Move non-valuable and non-essential items to your check bags
  • Buy a Portable Travel Digital Luggage Scale or ask the hotel to borrow a scale to ensure you are still in guidelines for your return trip.

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