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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.

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

Air India8 kg / 17.6 lbsSum of 3 dimensions cannot exceed 45 in
(115 cm)
British Airways23 kg / 51 lbs56 x 45 x 25 cm / 22 x 18 x 10 in
Cathay Pacific7 kg / 15.4 lbs56 x 36 x 23 cm 22 x 14 x 9 in
Emirates7 kg / 15.4 lbs55 x 38 x 20 cm / 22  x 15 x 8 in
Gulf Air6 kg / 13.2 lbs45 x 40 x 30 cm / 17 x 15 x 12 in
Indigo Airlines8 kg / 17.6 lbs55 x 35 x 25 cm / 22 x 14 x 10 in
Jet Airways7 kg / 15.4 lbs55 x 35 x 25 cm / 22 x 14 x 10 in
Lufhansa8 kg / 17.6 lbs55 x 40 x 23 cm / 22 x 15 x 9 in
Qantas7 kg / 15.4 lbs56 x 36 x 23 cm /  22 x 14 x 9 in
SpiceJet10 kg / 22 lbs45 in / 115 cm (length x width x height)
Virgin Atlantic10 kg / 22 lbs23 x 36 x 56 cm / 9 x 14 x 22 in

What You Do About Airline 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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