Traveling by plane is a quick and relatively inexpensive way to travel to all parts of the world. However, air travel has become more complex in the past decade because of terrorism worries and airlines trying to save costs. Historically, travelers were able to bring all sorts of luggage with them with very few limits. However, most airlines now have limits on the amount and weight of your luggage.

Carry-on Luggage

Nearly all major airlines only allow one carry-on bag per person. The size and weight of this bag is limited, although the exact limits vary per airline. Each airline allows passengers to carry a purse, computer, briefcase or small tote in addition to a carry-on bag. Your purse or tote should be stored under your seat while your carry-on bag is stored overhead.

Carry-on Size Limits

The lightest weight limit for carry-on bags is on Air France, which requires that your luggage weigh under 26.4 pounds and be no larger than 22″ x 14″ x 9″. Most airlines that have a weight limit on carry-on bags allow no bags heavier than 40 pounds. However, because these regulations change and vary per airline, it is a good idea to check with your airline before you start to pack for your trip.

Checked Baggage Limits

Generally, airlines allow each passenger to have a total of three bags for domestic flights. This means, you can check all three, or carry-on one while checking the other two. The checked bags must be under 70 pounds per bag and some airlines further restrict the weight to 50 pounds. Your largest bag’s dimensions cannot exceed 45″ x 55″ x 62″.

For international flights, passengers can only check two bags that weigh no more than 50 or 70 pounds. The largest bag cannot be longer than 62″ in any dimension. The second largest piece of luggage cannot be longer than 55 inches.

Baggage Fees

Nearly all airlines now charge fees for any checked luggage. The fees range from $15 up to $35 for the first piece of luggage. Your second piece of luggage can cost $20 to $45 for domestic flights. With some airlines, you can save some money by paying your checked baggage fee online instead of at the ticket counter. Southwest airlines does not charge for the first two checked bags. Jet Blue allows the first checked bag for free and charges $35 for a second checked bag. Many international flights do not charge for the first checked bag but may charge for a second checked bag.

All airlines charge additional fees for a third bag, an overweight bag or an oversized bag. Check with your airline for exact fees and size requirements.

Prohibited Items

The Transportation Security Administration does not allow certain items in your luggage. Although. many items are allowed to be checked, there are a few things that you cannot bring with you on a plane either in checked luggage or in carry-ons. These items include flares, gun powder, flammable items, explosive material and certain chemicals. Any item that could be construed at a weapon is not allowed in your carry-on luggage, including sharp objects, sporting goods, ammunition, guns or self-defense weapons. For a complete list, check with your airline or the T.S.A. before packing your carry-on luggage.