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Prepare the cabin bag and luggage for boarding

I like to travel light, if I can, I prefer to have only the cabin bag because it is fast and very convenient. I don’t have to make the line in the airport because even if I forgot to print my flight ticket from internet, I can do the check in with the automatic machine and go directly to the security control.

Of course, not all companies offer this possibility but big ones do. On the other hand, it depends a lot of how much time I will spend, if it is only for 2 weeks, only cabin bag, more time cabin bag + luggage but do you know the rules ??? I mean, the authorized size and the authorized contents ???

Cabin bag

It should be 55 cm long, 35 cm wide and 25 cm deep. If it is bigger, depending of the company, it can be sent in the baggage hold and normally low cost companies will bill you. Beside the cabin bag, people can bring inside the cabin electronic devices (laptop, camera, mp3, video game portable…) and a handbag. However, all of them should not weigh more than 12 kg.

Also the cosmetic product, perfume… have some rules to respect if not, when you will cross the security control, the security guy will throw them in the garbage except if you can give them to someone so it is forbidden to take liquids, gels, creams, toothpastes and sprays more than 100 ml each. Moreover, you have to put them inside a small plastic bag measuring 20x20 cm, if you forgot to do it, don’t worry, normally the security has to provide you the plastic bag.

The only products escaping to this rule are liquid medicines but you will have to take with you the certificate provided by your doctor and foods for baby, take note that during the control, the security can ask you to taste the foods.

Everything which looks like dangerous will be automatically seized by the security including a toy imitating a gun so if you don’t want to lose the toy, put it inside your luggage instead of your cabin bag. In fact, I will recommend you to put big things in your luggage and to keep with you things of high value like jewel, watch…

If you do the check in by internet, you can go directly to the security control once you will arrive in the airport (minimum 30 minutes for national flights and 1h for international ones), if not go to the automatic machine to print your flight ticket. If you can’t do it by internet and with the machine, you will have to do the line in front of the company counter before to go to the security, in this case, come earlier like if you have some luggages.


All luggages will be sent to the baggage hold so no way to take with you inside the cabin but the advantage is that you can put everything except materials and dangerous substances like fireworks, gasoline… and, like the cabin bag, they will be removed automatically.

The inconvenient is that you will have to make the line in front of the company counter so plan to come earlier in the airport, something like minimum 1h for national flights and 2h for international ones. To avoid the huge line or saving time, I will recommend you to print your flight ticket from internet or do the check in with the automatic machine then go to the counter displaying “only luggage dump”, take note that only some companies offer this service, even if you have the possibility to do the check in by internet, the company may not have this special counter.

If you are going to wrap your luggage with plastic to protect against theft, take note that even the luggage, going to the baggage hold, is submitted to a security control so if the security people detect something superstitious, they have the right to cut it and open your luggage and they won’t put back the plastic.

Luggage claim

Only the luggage in the baggage hold can be claimed in case if it has been stolen, broken, lost… so keep watch carefully of your cabin bag because this one is totally under your responsibility.

Once you have detected something wrong like something missing inside your luggage or your luggage is broken for example, go directly to talk with the airport staff, they will tell where to go to make your complaint. Don’t throw or tear the luggage slip because you will need it intact to do your claim, once done, you can do whatever you want.

In case if you notice something wrong after leaving the airport, for example in your hotel, you will have normally 7 days to make your complaint by letter or by internet to the airplane company so the best and the easy way, it is to check that everything is OK before leaving the airport.

If it has been determined that it is the fault of the airplane company, after the investigation, you will receive compensation. Depending on the convention applied for your flight, you may receive less or more money. For example, the Warsaw convention is 20 euros maximum per kilo of lost or broken luggage and the Montreal convention, 1.200 euros maximum.

For more information, I will recommend you to check the official website of the directorate general for civil aviation of your country. Before to end this topic, you should know that, during the security control, you have to remove your belt, your watch, your cell phone, your money... well everything you may think that it will ring/hide something when you cross the security door and put them in the tray including the laptop has to be removed from his bag and put it separately and alone in another tray.

If you plan to travel with your baby, take note that it is recommend to bring him/her with you when he/she celebrates his/her 3rd week of birth, read my other topic Traveling with a baby for complementary information. One last advice, if you have a cabin bag, make sure that it has the authorized size and above all, don’t fill it more than it should be because if flight attendants detect something wrong before the boarding, you will have to remove some of your stuffs or to pay a highly additional fee.