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View Full Version : "Personal Item" at the airport.



shakir5582
02-01-2009, 08:46 AM
So we are allowed one carryon and one personal item such as a laptop bag. We all know what the carry on is because it is so clearly laid out in a cage of pipe that our bags must fit in. ie aeronaut, western flyer, ect. What are you getting away with as a "personal Item"? I imagine the small cafe bag has no problem passing as a personal item but, the super ego:D ?

Let me know

backpack
02-01-2009, 08:52 AM
The Large Cafe Bag can be used as the personal item as well.

timothy
02-01-2009, 11:53 PM
On my current trip to Israel (yay! I think I'm over jetlag now ... hope so), I carried a backpack-style max-carry-on and as my personal item, the checkpoint flyer I'm reviewing.

(Backpack is not a Bihn, because I have not yet bought an Aeronaut, and now might hold out for the sized-down version in the works -- I have an eBags weekender, bought for this trip for about $55, and seemingly a decent bargain at that price).

I have not seen any objection to the flyer as a carry-on personal item, even though I've managed to pack it to plumpness; it still clearly hits under the seat ahead of me, in cattle-car class. No one's offered or threatened to weigh it, either, but the heaviest item carried anyhow is my 3.3lb Eee notebook. (MBP battery is basically dead -- and the extra few lbs are not missed, though the larger display and keyboard are.)

Until / unless there's a further crackdown on sizes, the Checkpoint Flyer seems as good a personal item as any.

timothy

flitcraft
02-02-2009, 02:03 AM
Strictest flagship airline I have flown on this is Air New Zealand. They even have posted on their website a picture of a slim briefcase as OK and a bulging one as not-OK. They also weigh each and every "main" carry-on.

Singapore Air was also observed by me giving grief to some people in Hong Kong about over-sized personal items. And China Southern in Guangzhou is notorious for flunking people's bags and making them pay a fine. Although there it seems to be in the order of a regularized shakedown.

No problems on US flagship carriers, though.

Tzporah
02-02-2009, 05:35 AM
I took a very overstuffed Swift with me as my personal item on my last flight.

pretzelb
02-03-2009, 01:11 PM
I recently used a stuffed Brain Bag as my personal item on a US flight with large planes. I've done this before but I am probably pushing it. The bag does fit under the seat in front though if I am careful. I don't like my personal item being that large though because I prefer to play it safe. Yet no one has even brought it up yet.

puddin
02-03-2009, 06:14 PM
im about 10 days away from trying to use the super ego as my personal item.

shakir5582
02-03-2009, 09:28 PM
puddin let us know how that goes, brave soul

Seesul
02-06-2009, 01:21 PM
I recently traveled with the Checkpoint Flyer on SWA and had no problem with it as a personal item. It fit under all three seats (I even tried it under the aisle seat, which is quite a bit narrower) with room to spare. On the way to my destination, I even filled it with the contents of my purse. On the way back, I didn't have time to transfer and the convertible cube/backpack saved my neck. I just stuffed everything in that and it there was plenty of space under the seat for it as well. The nice thing about the bag is that you can tuck the carry strap between the front compartment and the computer bag and it will stay out of the way. Great bag.

bagchick
02-10-2009, 10:00 AM
I usually travel air canada. They allow 3 pieces:regular, personal, purse. Their sizes are all specified:
9" x 15.5" x 21.5" - 22 lbs
6" x 13" x 17" - 22 lbs
8" x 10" x 12" - weight not specified.

The Aeronaut is too big by 1/2" to pass as a carry on at all.
The Western Flyer falls clearly into the largest category.
The Brain Bag falls clearly into the largest category.
Nominally the Zepher is .3" too thick to be a personal item and must fall into the largest category.
Sadly because of one dimension the Swift is also in the largest category.

I'd love to be able to carry a larger WF to get it closer to a max carry. No thicker though...because of bulging when fully packed. I could probably get away with a Zephyr as a personal item if I packed it light and smiled sweetly. I'd also like to find a purse...preferably business like and leather that came close to the dimensions allowed. If anyone has any suggestions for me I'd love to hear them.

BJ Nemeth
02-11-2009, 12:55 PM
My main travel bag is the super-awesome Aeronaut (in super-awesome Hunter Green), which is my primary carryon.

I used to use a Super Ego as my "personal item," bulging with a MacBook, an SLR, two lenses, and a fully-loaded Snake Charmer. I was never forced to check it the several times I brought it on U.S. flights. (Admittedly, I was surprised to get away with it, and it was a tight fit under the seat in front of me, sticking out a bit.)

I then switched to a Brain Bag (better for my purposes), and again, had no problems using that as my personal item and keeping it under the seat in front of me.

I now occasionally switch off between a Smart Alec and a Ristretto Messenger (love my new MacBook Air!).

The only time I have ever had to check something is when I am on a small prop plane with the much-tighter restrictions. In those 2 or 3 cases, I was forced to check my Aeronaut, while they let my Brain Bag/Smart Alec/Ristretto through. (I never flew on a small plane with the Super Ego.)

flitcraft
02-12-2009, 08:50 AM
Just flew back from Philadelphia to Seattle on US Air (an A320 plane.) About twenty people had to gate check their carry-ons, since it was a full flight and the Airbus A 320 has stingy overheads. So if you're flying on an Airbus A 320 and you suspect a full flight, be prepared to have to check your main carry-on and live with your "personal item" onboard, at least if you're likely to be in the last groups boarding.

Also, on a flight to Dallas recently, a guy tried to take a large duffle bag and a ginormous "personal item" on board. The flight attendant politely told him that he would have to check one of them, since it was obvious that neither would fit under a seat. He argued and moaned about it for quite a while and by the time that he had resigned himself to having to check his duffle bag, the overheads were all full and he had to check *both* bags. So it goes...

If you want to push the envelope on the personal item, I recommend booking the middle seat in a three seat row. The space beneath the seat is widest in the middle seat. Yeah, I know those seats are the most uncomfortable, but it depends on whether you want the most seat comfort (an oxymoron in coach anyway) or want to bring the biggest "personal item" you can. Me, I tend to pack lighter and go with a smaller personal item so I can fit it under my preferred aisle seat. YMMV though.

peregrina
02-13-2009, 09:01 AM
I also fly Air Canada and although you are right that the Aeronaut is a bit off the limit for the largest bag, there's absolutely no problem bringing it on board. If, and that's a big if, they decide to measure carry on bags, they'd have you fit it in one of those metal containers by the gates. Since the Aeronaut is a soft bag, it fits in there no problem. I've taken a picture of that last time I flew and I'll post it here as soon as I have a chance.

But to be honest, in over 12 years flying Air Canada and in my husband's 37 years working for the company, I've never seen them weight or measure carry on bags at the gate...

Having said that, most airlines are getting a bit more strict with carry on bags so it's responsible to at least keep the weight limit... I confess that my carry-on bags have always been above 22lb but with the aeronaut, I was able to finally stay just below it!

peregrina
02-13-2009, 09:13 AM
In my last trip, I had the Aeronaut, a large briefcase-like Kipling bag as a personal item, and on the way back I added my Medium Cafe bag as a purse.

My husband always brings a napsack as a personal item

peregrina
02-13-2009, 09:15 AM
PS: I wouldn't hesitate in taking a Zephyr or a Swift as a personal item...

ozone
02-16-2009, 08:22 AM
peregina, bag chick:

I also fly Air Canada (not much choice where I am) and I've used the Aeronaut as my carry on item for the last 5 years. I've never had it weighed or been forced to check it in. I've never had a problem with flying on US carriers either, but Lufthansa can be very particular: one on international flight out, they did check the weights of all bags.

I used to carry my Brain Bag as my personal item, but as others, I suspect it really is too large. I've since switched to the ID messenger bag as my personal item. I now use a MacBook Air for travel - one of the best computer purchases I've ever made.

maverick
02-16-2009, 02:37 PM
hi ozone,

i've flown the small regional jets with air canada between toronto and washinton, dc with the aeronaut also without issue.

but i flew continental once on a tiny jet (1 seat on one side of the isle, 2 on the other side, perhaps 12 or 14 rows) between newark, nj and washington, dc, and they had me do a plane side checkin for my aeronaut.

-m


peregina, bag chick:

I also fly Air Canada (not much choice where I am) and I've used the Aeronaut as my carry on item for the last 5 years. I've never had it weighed or been forced to check it in.

keb
02-17-2009, 07:11 PM
has anyone flown with western flyer and empire builder as their bags?

rabergnc
02-18-2009, 08:02 AM
I travel with the Western Flyer and ID (same ball park size as the Empire Builder). Never had a problem on jet aircraft. When I have had to fly on the small turboprops (every seat is a window and an aisle seat), the Western Flyer was checked plane-side. No way both bags would fit under a seat on the small planes.

keb
02-18-2009, 08:59 AM
thanks. i figure the western flyer holds the clothes and the EB the electronics and absolutes, either goes under the seat if necessary on the larger planes, and the WF gets checked plane-side on the smaller planes, just like you say. sounds like a plan....

Meryddian
02-20-2009, 12:32 PM
I have had no problem taking my Ego on as a 'personal' bag. Seems like if I don't have a purse hanging off me, they assume it's my purse, or something. Usually I check my rollaway, but recently coming back from DC, the airline actually let me take my *large* (hiking/camping size) backpack plus my Ego to the gate, as I was too close to gate time for them to want to check the bag.

AirTran has weird restrictions about checking bags. Unlike major carriers like American, United or Southwest, if you're running too close to your flight, they won't let you check your bag. I asked, "What about checking it and just sending it along on the next flight?" and was told flat-out "NO, we don't do that."

Beatriz
02-20-2009, 01:27 PM
Maverick--

Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll be doing more flying on US regional jets but not ones quite as small as you described and was worried the Aeronaut would be too big. Sounds like I'll probably be good to go, as long as I don't overstuff it (unlikely as I *hate* carrying heavy bags).

Thanks for enabling me :D

MsMoon
11-05-2009, 07:02 PM
Has anyone tried carrying an Aeronaut AND a Western Flyer? I love my Aeronaut, and I currently use my large Cafe Bag as a personal item, but for some trips, I need a bag that can hold my computer, various papers/official documents, as well as some personal in-flight items. I almost exclusively use the backpack straps on my Aeronaut, or I would be considering the Synapse or SmartAlec. Additionally, I like the two compartments of the Western Flyer.

maverick
11-05-2009, 11:13 PM
Has anyone tried carrying an Aeronaut AND a Western Flyer? I love my Aeronaut, and I currently use my large Cafe Bag as a personal item, but for some trips, I need a bag that can hold my computer, various papers/official documents, as well as some personal in-flight items. I almost exclusively use the backpack straps on my Aeronaut, or I would be considering the Synapse or SmartAlec. Additionally, I like the two compartments of the Western Flyer.

hi msmoon,

a western flyer isn't really in the realm of "personal item," though depending on who you encounter at the gate, you may be able to bring both onboard without an issue.

you can actually carry both the aeronaut and the western flyer, each with a shoulder strap.

if you need a bag to hold your laptop, various papers/official documents, and some personal inflight items (how much bulk do you think this would consist of?), you could put these items into a messenger style bag or briefcase. if you chose a briefcase like the zephyr or empire builder, or a messenger style bag like the superego or ego, or id, you would carry the aeronaut and the additional item each on one shoulder.

BPritchard
11-06-2009, 05:58 AM
Has anyone tried carrying an Aeronaut AND a Western Flyer? I love my Aeronaut, and I currently use my large Cafe Bag as a personal item, but for some trips, I need a bag that can hold my computer, various papers/official documents, as well as some personal in-flight items. I almost exclusively use the backpack straps on my Aeronaut, or I would be considering the Synapse or SmartAlec. Additionally, I like the two compartments of the Western Flyer.

I'll be using the Swift bag as my personal carry-on. It will contain my 6T brain cell containing my netbook, my headphones, and other items. Plenty of room.

The 6T brain cell is used in my Ego. The Ego will become my carry-on to hold camera equipment, electronics, and clothes in case of lost luggage.

MsMoon
11-06-2009, 09:11 AM
hi msmoon,

you can actually carry both the aeronaut and the western flyer, each with a shoulder strap.

if you need a bag to hold your laptop, various papers/official documents, and some personal inflight items (how much bulk do you think this would consist of?), you could put these items into a messenger style bag or briefcase. if you chose a briefcase like the zephyr or empire builder, or a messenger style bag like the superego or ego, or id, you would carry the aeronaut and the additional item each on one shoulder.

I currently use my Large Cafe Bag, sans laptop, as my personal item (so 11 liters max of stuff?). Any bag I get would have to be able to be worn crosswise across my body under the Aeronaut in backpack mode. Thanks for the advice!

MsMoon
11-06-2009, 09:11 AM
The 6T brain cell is used in my Ego. The Ego will become my carry-on to hold camera equipment, electronics, and clothes in case of lost luggage.

Yeah, I may have to take another look at the Ego.

KarlJ
11-06-2009, 12:24 PM
MsMoon, a lot comes down to the specific airlines you'll travel on. Many airlines don't actually cite a fixed dimensional size for the "personal item", they just say it must fit in the overhead bins or under the seat. Originally, the context of "personal item" was merely to take away a traveler's ability to say "I'm carrying these on board... oh, and this one too... and of course my coat, hat, and bag."

But some airlines do in fact give a size; both Air Canada, and American have sizes somewhat smaller than the max carry-on size of 22x14x9. Delta and United are somewhat more vague and merely say equal to or smaller than the carry-on. Using that logic, you could take two Aeronauts aboard; one as your carry on, one as your "personal item."

But each airline is different, so you should check yours.

Airline Carry-On Baggage Chart (http://rickseaney.com/airline-carry-on-baggage-chart/)

BPritchard
11-07-2009, 05:55 PM
I'm using 22″ L x 14″ W x 9″ as a sweet spot for carry-on luggage.

My EGO will my carry-on. The dimensions are less than above. Which should work for the small regional planes. I'm in the process of mocking up how I will take all my "stuff" in the EGO for our trip to Seattle this spring. Plus I also use the Swift as a personal carry-on.

I don't fly that much. Just an annual trip my wife and I take.

ex machina
11-10-2009, 08:50 AM
This has been a very informative thread, thank you all for sharing. I happened upon it while researching the Empire Builder as a personal item. A useful site I came across is seatguru.com (http://www.seatguru.com) which allows you to choose the airline, and then click a baggage tab up top (http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/JetBlue_Airways/baggage.php). The explicit details include carry-on policies and the differences in policies between aircraft models within the same airline.

I think the Empire Builder would be fine, so long as they use a 'does it fit in the box' test. If they do it by tape measuring the bag, it could fail. BUT, that said, I have never seen a bag measured that way, and as the expediency of the 'does it fit' method is vastly superior to the seamstress tape method, I expect that it will remain that way. Also, I have seen that some airports use a belt feed through a sized opening method, and if your bag does not fit through without anyone helping it, off it goes to check luggage. If it's the luggage equivalent of fitting under the highway overpass, can't they let you sneak in by letting the air out of your tires. Some kind of cinch strapping could prove most efficacious in matters such as bulging packing. ;)

An item I would like to know is this: can the Empire Builder fit inside the Tristar? I also think the Packing Cube Backpack (http://www.tombihn.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=001&Product_Code=TB0924) and the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag (http://www.tombihn.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=001&Product_Code=TB0921) could prove most fortuitous in extreme situations regarding carry-on. A little forethought in packing could make it quite easy to pull such a cube which at once would make the bag's active volume smaller and allow the cube and its contents to be a personal bag, perhaps averting a need to check a bag by effectively splitting it in two.

I am a user of packing cubes (I was initiated into the user club before I was aware of the Tom Bihn products) and I will say they are very good for quickly reconfiguring your bags at the airport. I have the ones made by eBags and they are nice. Not as nice as what I see Tom offers but they remain nice and they have a carry handle so in a pinch it can be an easily carried personal item. Tom set the new standard by making them transformers that become backpacks and shoulder bags! Genius!

I also would like to know if the Synapse in Steel Dyneema (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/100/TB0110) can be folded into itself like the shop bag (http://www.tombihn.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=001&Product_Code=TB0608&Product_Count=&Category_Code=)? Now that has my curiosity really piqued. What a neat idea, a small ball in your bag becomes effectively another piece of luggage you can take back filled with goodies from your trip. I had the good fortune many years ago to purchase what is labeled as a Samsonite Foldable Fold-Away Bag. It has been very useful on several occasions. In fact, I think if Tom made a Tom Bihn version of the concept, it would sell like hot cakes at a Sunday Church Brunch! Oh I am smiling now just thinking of what Tom might do with it. Off the cuff I'd guess it would be made in Dyneema, fabric of superheros. But the details, the extras, oh my, just the idea of it. A Tom Bihn interpretation of the concept. Now that is a bag I would have to have. :cool: