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What Size Handbag Can You Take On A Plane


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Cynthea Aguilera



When it comes to traveling, one of the most important things to consider is the size of your handbag. Whether you’re embarking on a short weekend getaway or a long-haul flight, having the right-sized handbag is essential for convenience and compliance with airport regulations. But with so many different rules and restrictions in place, it can be confusing to determine what size handbag you can take on a plane.


In this article, we will dive into the world of handbag sizes and explore the regulations and guidelines set by airlines regarding carrying a handbag as part of your cabin baggage. We will provide you with all the essential information you need to know to ensure a seamless travel experience while keeping your favorite essentials within arm’s reach.


From personal items to travel documents, electronics, and other essentials, a well-sized handbag can make all the difference during your journey. We will also provide you with valuable tips on how to choose the right handbag size for travel, taking into consideration both the practicality and style factors that come into play.


So, whether you’re an avid traveler or just planning your next adventure, read on to discover everything you need to know about handbag sizes and regulations to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey.


Regulations on Handbag Sizes

When it comes to handbag sizes for air travel, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the regulations set by airlines. These regulations may vary from one airline to another, so it’s crucial to check the specific guidelines of the airline you’re flying with before you pack your handbag.


Most airlines have restrictions on the size and weight of both carry-on luggage and personal items, including handbags. While carry-on luggage refers to larger bags that are stored in the overhead compartment, handbags fall into the category of personal items that are typically smaller in size and kept under the seat in front of you.


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has established some general guidelines for personal item sizes, which most airlines follow. According to these guidelines, the maximum dimensions for a personal item, including a handbag, are typically around 9 inches x 15 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 38 cm x 56 cm). However, it’s important to note that these dimensions can vary slightly depending on the airline.


In addition to size restrictions, airlines also impose weight restrictions on personal items. The weight limits for personal items are generally lower compared to carry-on luggage, typically ranging from 7 to 20 pounds (3 to 9 kilograms). Again, these limits can vary, so it’s important to check the specific guidelines of your chosen airline.


It’s worth mentioning that some airlines may have different regulations for different classes of travel. For example, business or first-class passengers may have slightly more lenient restrictions on handbag sizes and weights. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to review the guidelines of your airline and class of travel to ensure compliance.


Non-compliance with handbag size regulations can result in additional fees, having to check in your handbag, or even being asked to leave it behind altogether. To avoid any inconvenience or extra charges, it’s crucial to abide by the regulations set by your airline.


Carry-On Baggage Allowance

In addition to personal items like handbags, airlines also have regulations in place for carry-on luggage. Carry-on luggage refers to larger bags that are stored in the overhead compartment during the flight. Understanding the rules regarding carry-on baggage allowance can help you plan your travel more efficiently.


The carry-on baggage allowance varies from airline to airline and can also depend on factors such as your destination, the class of travel, and frequent flyer status. Typically, airlines specify the maximum dimensions and weight for carry-on luggage, and exceeding these limits may result in additional fees or the requirement to check in the bag.


For most airlines, the maximum allowed dimensions for carry-on luggage are around 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches (56 cm x 36 cm x 23 cm). However, it’s important to note that some airlines may have slightly different size restrictions, so it’s essential to check your airline’s guidelines.


In terms of weight, carry-on luggage is usually limited to around 15 to 22 pounds (7 to 10 kilograms). Again, this can vary depending on the airline, so it’s important to check the specific weight limits for your chosen airline to avoid any issues at the airport.


It’s worth mentioning that some airlines may also have restrictions on the number of carry-on items allowed. For example, most airlines allow one carry-on bag plus one personal item, such as a handbag, briefcase, or laptop bag. However, some budget airlines may have stricter policies and require passengers to pay extra for any additional carry-on items.


It’s important to be aware that carry-on baggage size and weight restrictions are strictly enforced by airlines, especially during peak travel times. It’s recommended to measure and weigh your carry-on bag and personal item before heading to the airport to ensure they comply with the guidelines set by your airline.


By familiarizing yourself with the carry-on baggage allowance and adhering to the regulations, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience without any last-minute surprises or complications.


Size Restrictions for Handbags

When it comes to the size of handbags that can be carried onto a plane as a personal item, airlines typically have specific guidelines to ensure they fit under the seat in front of you and do not obstruct the aisle or access to emergency exits.


As mentioned earlier, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) provides general guidelines for personal item sizes, including handbags. While dimensions can vary slightly between airlines, a common guideline is for the maximum dimensions of a handbag to be around 9 inches x 15 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 38 cm x 56 cm). However, it’s crucial to check with your specific airline as they may have their own size restrictions.


It’s important to note that these size restrictions also apply to the overall volume of the handbag. Airlines want to ensure that the handbag does not exceed a certain capacity to prevent it from becoming too bulky or taking up excessive space under the seat.


In addition to size restrictions, some airlines may have guidelines on the shape and structure of handbags as well. For example, certain airlines may prohibit handbags with rigid frames or hard shells, as they can be more difficult to fit under the seat. Softer and more flexible handbags are often preferred to ensure they can be easily stored without causing any inconveniences during the flight.


It’s worth mentioning that even if your handbag meets the size restrictions, it should ideally be able to fit comfortably under the seat without protruding into the limited legroom space. This ensures a more comfortable experience for yourself and fellow passengers.


To avoid any issues at the airport, it’s essential to measure your handbag and ensure it falls within the accepted size limits set by your airline. By doing so, you’ll be able to have your handbag with you throughout the flight, easily accessible for any essential items you may need during your journey.


Tips for Choosing the Right Handbag Size for Travel

Choosing the right handbag size for travel is crucial for a comfortable and convenient journey. Here are some tips to help you select the perfect size:

1. Consider your travel essentials: Think about the items you need to carry with you on the plane. This may include travel documents, electronics, personal care items, and any other essentials. Make a list and ensure your handbag is spacious enough to accommodate these items without being too bulky. 2. Aim for a compact and versatile design: Opt for a handbag that is compact yet functional. Look for multiple compartments and pockets to help you stay organized during your trip. A versatile design will allow you to use the handbag not only during your flight but also as a day bag during your destination. 3. Consider the weight and material: Keep in mind that the weight of your handbag can add to the overall weight of your carry-on luggage. Choose a lightweight material that won’t weigh you down. Nylon, canvas, and lightweight leather are good options to consider. 4. Ensure easy access: Look for a handbag with a secure yet easily accessible closure, such as a zipper or snap button. This will allow you to reach your items quickly without any hassle during the flight. 5. Check the dimensions: Refer to the guidelines provided by your airline for personal item sizes and choose a handbag that meets those requirements. Avoid oversized handbags that may not fit under the seat or impede the legroom space. 6. Consider the duration of your trip: If you’re embarking on a short trip, you may opt for a smaller handbag to carry just the essentials. For longer trips, you may need a slightly larger handbag to accommodate additional items. 7. Test it out: Before your trip, load up your handbag with your travel essentials and see how comfortable it feels to carry. Pay attention to the weight and size to ensure it’s manageable and won’t cause any discomfort during your journey. Remember, the right handbag size ultimately depends on your personal preferences and travel needs. By considering these tips, you can choose a handbag that strikes the perfect balance between functionality, style, and compliance with airline regulations.



Choosing the right-sized handbag for air travel is essential to ensure a comfortable and hassle-free journey. By understanding the regulations and guidelines set by airlines, you can select a handbag that complies with the size restrictions for personal items. This will allow you to keep your essential belongings close at hand throughout the flight.


Remember to check the specific regulations of the airline you’re flying with, as size restrictions may vary. Ensure that your handbag fits comfortably under the seat in front of you without obstructing your legroom or access to emergency exits.


When choosing a handbag size, take into consideration your travel essentials, the weight and material of the handbag, and the duration of your trip. Aim for a compact yet versatile design that allows for easy access to your belongings while keeping you organized.


By adhering to the regulations and following these tips, you can travel confidently with a well-sized handbag that meets both your practical and style needs. Avoid any surprises or last-minute fees at the airport by planning ahead and selecting the right handbag for your journey.


Remember, your handbag is not just a functional accessory but also a reflection of your personal style. So, choose a size that suits your preferences and enhances your overall travel experience.


With the right-sized handbag by your side, you can embark on your travels with peace of mind, knowing that your essentials are close at hand and complying with airline regulations. Bon voyage!