The baggage regulations. Everything you need to know.

For the air traveler in today’s time the luggage regulations of the airlines play an extremely important role. Observing the current regulations is a guarantee for problem-free flying. Failure to follow the rules inevitably leads to unnecessary problems and avoidable trouble. Therefore, it is important to properly plan not only the trip itself, but also the luggage that will be taken. to manage..

First of all: what did you do before?

Check it out! What type of traveler are you?

  • Rather the "city freak? You love metropolises like San Francisco, L.A. or Las Vegas? You like to party, to see and to be seen? Make however also times a day long obligation excursion to the nature highlights such as the Grand Canyon? But limit yourself only to the Overlooks. Then pack appropriate clothes! For every stop a suitable outfit; or better two! And enough different shoes, makeup, hair gel, etc.. Nothing is worse than looking the same every day.
  • But about the "Roadtripper? You have something for every occasion. Really clever! You can go on lighter hikes with a backpack and really sweat through the shirt, but alternatively it’s easy to go to a good restaurant in "fine threads". On the other hand, you’re slouching around in your sweatpants when you’re eating miles, and you’re running around the supermarket with the completely crumpled up piece of clothing. Nobody knows you..
  • The technician. Practical (and) scary! This species drags everything with them on the trip that can somehow be useful: All the photo equipment, tripods, action cams, laptop, GPS handhelds, powerbanks, various transmission and extension cables, junction boxes, road satnav and cell phones as well as camping gears, water filters, maps and guidebooks, headphones, mobile hard drives loaded with movies and music. Even the clothes are carefully selected and stowed from "everyday wear" to "going out" robes. Everything is perfectly measured and weighed – no piece of luggage is too heavy; nothing is left to chance..
  • Or even the hardcore version? You are always out in nature. Conventional travel outfits are only used for the outbound and return flights, otherwise your luggage will only contain outdoor equipment. The outer shell you wear if necessary even several days in a row; worse you prevent with any amount of deodorant roll-on; are nature-loving ..

Preparation is half the battle..

According to your plans, you should check the size and weight of your suitcases, bags or backpacks as well as the hand luggage in advance, in order to be well prepared for the final packing, but also already when booking the flight. The allowed total weight depends on the luggage regulations of the airline you are flying with and on your booking class (i.e. economy, premium economy, first or business class).

So it makes sense to have a look at the price differences, especially if you want to take more than 1x 23 kg (usual for many airlines in economy class) of checked luggage with you. Also, the prices for excess baggage or bulky luggage can be lower if you book one or two classes of transportation better (apart from other amenities you get in addition).

Comparison is the key!

If you know your final luggage allowance, you are well prepared for the flight booking. So don’t book the first cheap flight, but keep the "big picture" in mind! This may well pay off..

The rules.

Depending on which airline/airlines you fly to Southwest: all of them have their own baggage regulations. These are usually similar, but sometimes they are different.

There is always a lot of movement here and there in this area. It is therefore important to check the current baggage regulations of the airlines that will be transporting you to and from your destination.

Below you will find links to the individual regulations of the main airlines that fly you to USA Southwest.

Pack it out!

You can save not only trouble but also a lot of weight if you leave all the things at home that are not allowed on board anyway. That would be for checked luggage (suitcase, travel bag) z.B.:

  • Highly flammable items and substances such as gasoline, gas cartridges for stoves, storm lighters, explosives, fireworks, lighter fluid, pyrotechnics, matches, etc.
  • Irritant gas, pepper spray, special glue
  • flammable sprays like spray starch, paint spray, WD40 (spray oil), waterproofing spray for shoes/tents u.a.
  • Anti-bear spray, mosquito spray, etc. (over 118ml / 4fl oz capacity)
  • Alcoholic beverages over 70% by volume
  • fuel paste, barbecue lighter o.a.
  • All possible machines with internal combustion engine must have an emptied tank; this also applies to camping stoves, etc.. (Be sure to check this point with the airline before you fly; often the internal regulations are stricter than the international ones.)
  • Wireless curling irons
  • Electric scooters, smart scooters, hover boards, electrical. Air ambulance
  • Surprise eggs (u-eggs)
  • Equipment containing mercury, such as various thermometers, barometers o.a.
  • Fueled compressed air bottles and cartridges, z.B. for diving use or medical equipment
  • Oxygen bottle
  • E-cigarette
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 7
  • Fresh produce of all kinds such as fruit, vegetables, sausage, sandwiches, bread, etc.; Meat, whether fresh or packaged in any way (violators may be subject to stiff penalties of up to $500 USD!)
  • Live animals (only with the agreement of the airline)
  • Products made from animals subject to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or from animals, plants or other living creatures protected by the Convention, such as.B. Products made of ivory or unprocessed, elephant leather, exotic skins, various birds or their feathers, furs, paws, horns, tails, hands; corals, various shells, etc. are often also on the list. (nobody can talk his way out of it – internet is available everywhere in this world; at the airport at the latest you can find out whether you want to take the risk or not).

Lithium-ion batteries? Baggage regulations – special role!

  • Defective or damaged lithium ion batteries are not allowed on the entire aircraft prohibited, also in the checked baggage
  • this also applies to devices that are or were affected by a recall
  • Devices that have a lithium-ion battery permanently installed; d.h. many smartphones or tablets, whose LI battery you can not remove, may be not be carried in checked baggage if the lithium content is more than 2 g or the nominal energy is more than 100 Wh
  • Lithium-ion batteries, even if only as replacements
  • Powerbanks, Powerpacks, Battery Packs
  • Portable devices that use rechargeable batteries with a rated power between 100 Wh and 160 Wh (such as cordless tools, laptops, large drones, etc.) may be carried in checked baggage if the airline in question has its "O.K." has given to it. So it’s important to make sure you check with your carrier beforehand, otherwise it can u.U. happen that you have to leave various devices behind at the airport (spare batteries, on the other hand, have to be carried exclusively in your hand luggage)
  • All lithium-ion batteries that have a rated capacity greater than 160 Wh, as well as their replacement batteries, may not be brought and carried on board an aircraft

In some cases, airlines make a distinction as to whether various devices are being carried for private or business use or for medical reasons. The individual current rules can be found on the corresponding websites, which we have linked a bit earlier.

Size of checked baggage.

Guideline for suitcases, travel bags, backpacks, etc., that is, baggage that exceeds the carry-on baggage allowance (158 cm in total length for most airlines flying to the USA Southwest).

This is a rather strange specification, but it is made up of the length, width and height of the suitcase/travel bag/backpack etc. together.

On our travels we have never seen anyone measuring the suitcases of the passengers with a tape measure, but it is better to stick to these guidelines.

The weight of your checked baggage.

As already mentioned, there are differences between the baggage regulations of the airlines. Here is an overview of how the majority of airlines currently handle this issue. Deviations from this or changes to the rules are quite possible. So be sure to clarify any ambiguities with the carrier beforehand!

  • Normally 23 kilograms or 50 pounds per piece of luggage is common practice. This applies to each piece of checked baggage in Economy Class, with which most people travel to the USA Southwest. The first one is free, each additional one costs a hefty surcharge. This also applies to luggage heavier than 23 kg!
  • In Premium Economy Class, two pieces of luggage weighing 23 kg each are often included in the ticket price.
  • In the Business Class it is often already two pieces of luggage a 32 kg, which are carried along surcharge-free.
  • It is important to note that none of the baggage may exceed the allowance; d.h. in Economy Class or. Premium Economy Class none of the suitcases or. Travel bags that exceed the 23 kg limit . Logically, in Business Class, this applies to the 32 per piece of luggage.
  • Adding up the weight of all your own baggage and dividing the total weight sum by the number of suitcases carried o.a. only works in theory; the bottom line is that you are allowed to carry the Do not exceed the maximum allowance per piece of luggage! There the coworkers at the Check in know no friends!

The great unknown of baggage regulations: hand luggage!

We chose this heading for a reason. The "hand luggage" gets from the time, where one the airport or. enters the aircraft, the international term "Carry On". It remains the same bag, pocket, backpack or trolli; in the airline industry it’s called "Carry On". No more, no less.

Many travelers still seem to be suspicious of this; some do not know what to do with this term during their entire trip. So: the "Carry On" is the "hand luggage". Ready.

As a rule, it goes like this..

Of course, there are specific baggage regulations for carry-on baggage as well. The following dimensions have been established: 55 x 35 x 25 cm (length x width x height).Why? You have to be able to put it in the overhead compartment or under the seat of the person in front of you.

If the hand luggage is obviously too big, the airline employee at the check in usually points out that the "Carry On" exceeds the permitted measure and should be better checked in. So that this does not happen, there are often so-called "luggage frames" near the check-in area of the airline; in principle, a template to which the hand luggage should correspond. Just put the luggage in there, then you can see what’s going on..

Simple, but complicated..

Now this is not quite as easy as it could be. These dimensions are valid for many years. The manufacturers of bags, suitcases and beauty cases could therefore bring standardized products onto the market. Every air passenger would own such a part at some point, and everything would be fine. Put a label on it "standardized hand luggage" or something like that – done. Yet one struggles..

All airlines have different regulations for hand luggage (exactly the same confusion as for "checked luggage"). Low-cost airlines set the hand luggage at 6 to 8 kilograms, with the "big" competitors the thing may weigh in some cases up to 23 kg! What a difference!

Weighs someone also once?

The visual inspection is common. If the baggage does not appear too large or too heavy to the staff at check-in or when boarding the aircraft, experience shows that it is okay to take it into the cabin.

But it can be z.B. during the "screening", when the hand luggage goes through the scanner, the security personnel may ask you to check in the hand luggage like a normal suitcase, because it is too big or too heavy to be placed in the hand luggage compartment of the respective plane.

The staff will then explain to the traveler in more detail how the rest of the process is to be carried out. In order to protect oneself from such imponderables, it is better to reduce the hand luggage to the bare minimum and thus "play it safe"..

Electronics in the "Carry On?

A very interesting topic within the baggage regulations! Yes, you are allowed to carry electronic devices – that should be known…

Cell phones, tablets, laptops – no matter what they are called; all should have "flight mode" turned on during the flight. It exists z.B. including modern cameras that z.B. use the cell phone as a remote control.

Carry a laptop in an additional bag, virtually as a second piece of carry-on luggage? Is basically allowed with most airlines.

You have more equipment with you? It’s the same for us Southwesterners..

The obligatory photo backpack with several lenses, a GoPro plus accessories, z.B. an electronic gimbal for shake-free shots, the mobile hard drive to back up all the photos and videos, LED panels for better illumination of subjects plus the 4K – Drone and everything that comes with it?

You don’t have to be surprised if you are examined more closely..

Rule no.1: remain calm and level-headed..

You get "pulled out" at security because there are all kinds of interesting things in your carry-on luggage? So what! It’s your own fault…&

Important is already before departure: everything in your luggage, which has any battery, CHARGING. If you and your luggage are checked more closely, all electronic devices must be turned on and in working order!

This means: even if you use your cell phone or smartphone during the sometimes long waiting periods at an airport, prevent the battery from being completely lehrgenuddelt. The thing must be able to demonstrate when called to show that this is not used as an explosives depot o.a. is used. It makes sense to carry an appropriate charging cable in the hand luggage and to keep the battery of the device alive.

So: in case of a more thorough check of your hand luggage you have to stay calm and follow the instructions of the inspectors. Yes – it’s part of the baggage rules – even if it’s annoying…

What definitely does not belong in your hand luggage?

  • Fresh produce of all kinds such as fruit, vegetables, sausage, sandwiches, bread, etc.Meat, no matter if fresh or packaged in any way (in case of violation there are severe penalties up to 500 USD)!)
  • Explosives
  • Handguns
  • cutting and stabbing weapons
  • Nunchucks
  • Brass knuckles
  • Knives
  • scissors
  • flammable sprays , z.B Hairspray, bug spray, deodorant
  • Lighters
  • Matches
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 7
  • flammable liquids, z.B. Lighter fuel
  • Irritant gas
  • Pepper spray

So all things that can harm people or cause damage to the aircraft.

What can be carried in the Carry On with restrictions?

  • Drinks (bottle must not have more than 100ml content)
  • Alcohol, if it has less than 70%Vol (bottle must not have more than 100ml content)
  • Deo roll-on (in a resealable "Ziplock" bag)
  • Hair wash, shower bath etc. (Each package must not contain more than 100ml. You can get such travel sizes in every drugstore. Carry everything in a resealable "Ziplock" bag!)
  • Note: all individually packaged liquids in your carry-on must not exceed a total of 1 liter.
  • e-cigarette
  • Spare batteries/ spare accumulators (in original packaging or individually in a ziplock bag)
  • Lithium-ion batteries (in ziplock bag , not larger than 160 Wh), z.B. spare batteries for cameras or drones
  • Smart Bags with removable battery. More about this below!

What should go in the hand luggage?

  • cell phone,
  • iPad, Kindle, eBook Reader o.a.,
  • a power bank,
  • mobile navigation device

All devices whose lithium-ion battery is often permanently installed, i.e. not removable.

A "Smart Bag" or also "Smart Luggage" as hand luggage.

We do not own a "Smart Bag" and still live! Woohoo! But in our rake to the luggage regulations, this term has come up one or the other time…

This is basically a piece of luggage with an integrated charging station for smartphone, tablet or laptop with additional functions – or not – depending on the model..

Who uses or would like to use such a part informs himself z.B. here:

However, many airlines do not want such a thing on board, especially not in the cargo hold. The idea behind such a USB-powered luggage is quite cool, only the permanently installed battery is a horror for the airlines!

Especially American airlines are extremely sensitive..

So before you have to disassemble your suitcase/backpack into its parts or even leave it behind, we simply advise: leave the part at home and put a proper powerbank in your hand luggage; it is just as effective and also still trouble-free..

Dog and cat..

Even if it is relatively uncommon: some travelers "must" take their pet, usually a dog or cat, with them on their trip.

Must be? Before we are attacked now: we are concerned about the welfare of your pets!

For them, in our opinion, an airplane is not necessarily part of their natural environment. Also the flying itself has not chosen your Pets. That is entirely up to you. You decide what happens to your pet and what you want to expose it to..

First of all, check if it is not better to store your "best friend" where you are at home. Parents, neighbors, friends, colleagues, evtl. also a boarding kennel can solve your problem. So take care of this matter beforehand.

Sure, there are on Instagram and Co. various photos, where constantly the pet is dragged along to all possible places. This logically creates the impression that this is no effort for the little buddy.

We are not vets, but normal common sense screams at this point: "Nooooo!". So we simply recommend: don’t do it if you really love your buddy.

If there is really no other way, then inquire about the respective baggage regulations of the airline with which you want to fly, how the carriage of the pets is to be handled.

Duty-free travel amount.

Aaaaaach, how that sounds! So prima bureaucratic! So mega accurate! Simple: Grrrrrrrrrrr!

Ok. In our super orderly world everything must have its super order. So far, so clear..

Many vacationers are often simply totally confused about what they can now buy and bring home.

We try to bring light into the darkness..

The travel allowance for German tourists is (as of 2019):

430 Euro for all travelers over 15 years old.

150 Euro for all travelers who are under 15 years old.

That does not mean that one must hold back now necessarily with the Shopping in the USA. Everything that exceeds the duty-free allowance must be taxed when entering Germany. This will logically reduce the price advantage that you may receive. in a factory outlet o.a. has achieved, again.

This can be done up to 700 Euro (above the travel allowance) as a lump sum and is common practice. For this 17.5% duties are raised.

All other charges are calculated according to the customs tariff.

It is important to keep and carry all purchase receipts of the goods purchased in the USA!

Means: who exceeds the travel allowance with his purchases, must, after he has picked up his luggage at the home airport, voluntarily give information to customs officials. If one does not do this and tries to deceive the officials, it can become very unpleasant. This is tax evasion and will be punished accordingly.

Here you can go directly to the corresponding page of the German customs: LINK

Readers from Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Austria etc. please inform yourself about the country’s own information offices, how the duty-free travel quantity is handled in each case.

We wish a relaxed packing with the luggage regulations and a problem-free journey to the USA!

More information about "baggage regulations" in the Southwestler- Show !

The Southwestler Show, our USA Southwest podcast, has lots of detailed tips and tricks on the subject of "baggage regulations" for you to listen to, download and print out: here.

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