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"Personal Item" at the airport.

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    "Personal Item" at the airport.

    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 ?

    Let me know

    The Large Cafe Bag can be used as the personal item as well.


      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.



        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.
        Western Flyer (crimsom) with Absolute strap, Zephyr (black), Medium Cafe Bag (steel/olive), Shop Bags (solar, steel), Large Cafe bag (navy/cayenne), Small café bag (forest), Tristars (steel/solar and indigo/solar),Aeronaut (steel), Side Effects (old skool black cordura, olive parapack), Imagos (steel, cork, wasabi, and aubergine, hemp, steel), Dyneema Western Flyer (Nordic/Steel) and miscellaneous packing cubes, pouches, etc.


          I took a very overstuffed Swift with me as my personal item on my last flight.


            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.
            Owner of : Imago, Aeronaut, Brain Bag, Smart Alec, Synapse, Co-Pilot


              im about 10 days away from trying to use the super ego as my personal item.


                puddin let us know how that goes, brave soul


                  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.


                    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.


                      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.)
                      Aeronaut (Original in Hunter Green), Aeronaut 30 (Forest), Smart Alec (Hunter Green), Pilot (Forest), Co-Pilot (Coyote), Synapse 25 (Black Dyneema), Two Large Shop Bags (Iberian and Steel), Passport Pouch (Iberian), Two Travel Trays (Solar stays in the Aeronaut, Iberian stays home), more than a dozen accessories.


                        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.
                        Western Flyer (crimsom) with Absolute strap, Zephyr (black), Medium Cafe Bag (steel/olive), Shop Bags (solar, steel), Large Cafe bag (navy/cayenne), Small café bag (forest), Tristars (steel/solar and indigo/solar),Aeronaut (steel), Side Effects (old skool black cordura, olive parapack), Imagos (steel, cork, wasabi, and aubergine, hemp, steel), Dyneema Western Flyer (Nordic/Steel) and miscellaneous packing cubes, pouches, etc.



                          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!


                            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


                              PS: I wouldn't hesitate in taking a Zephyr or a Swift as a personal item...