Picking the best travel backpack for air travel is a very important aspect, that will help you avoid headaches and have a much more comfortable trip. So, before you buy anything, make sure you check the airline’s baggage policy. This way you will know about the characteristics that your backpack should have and the applicable restrictions, avoiding problems when you have to board the plane.
In general terms, this policy establishes the rules of weight and dimensions of the luggage allowed to be carried in the cabin and the aircraft hold. Its flexibility or exceptions depend on the type of flight ticket you purchased, the aircraft size, the objects to be transported, and other aspects.
That’s why we have laid out this post, where you are going to find key points and aspects that will serve as a guide to finding the ideal backpack for your trip. Let’s begin!
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How to pick the travel backpack that you are going to take with you on the plane?
The first step to picking the best backpack for the airplane is knowing the three types of most common baggage for flights: Personal accessories, hand backpack or cabin luggage, and a suitcase.
The second step is learning to differentiate the types of baggage allowed in the cabin and the hold of the plane. We will explain the main measurements, characteristics, and functions of each type of luggage below.
Types of luggage: what are they, and what are they for?
Knowing the type of backpack or luggage you need for your trip will help you save time and money. So, if you are looking for the most beautiful suitcase online, stop for a moment and first check the luggage that is included in your airfare. Here we are going to tell you what they are and what they are for.
1. Accessory or personal item to carry on the plane
It is a small backpack that travelers can carry in the plane’s cabin, under the front seat. It meant for you to store a laptop, a wallet with important documents, medicines, and even a small diaper bag with baby care products.
Measurement of the bag to carry personal items
In the following comparative chart, you will find the dimensions established within the baggage policy for transporting personal items of Iberia Group, Avianca, Ryanair, and Lufthansa.
|Airline||Type of Luggage||Measurements|
|Iberia||Personal accessory||40 x 30 x 15 cm|
|Avianca||Personal accessory||25 x 35 x 45 cm|
|Ryanair||Small backpack||40 x 25 x 20 cm|
|Lufthansa||Personal oject||40 x 30 x 10 cm|
2. Hand backpack or cabin luggage
The hand backpack or cabin luggage is the luggage that can be carried in the overhead compartments of the plane. Its weight has to be between 10 and 14 kg, and it is used to transport coats, electronic equipment, baby accessories, medicines, or any object allowed in the aircraft cabin.
Measurement of the hand backpack or cabin luggage
The dimensions of this type of baggage vary depending on the type of flight. This means flights in first class; an executive or business class; premium economy class; and Tourist or economy class. In the following table, you can find some examples of tourist and business classes.
|Airline||Type of Luggage||Measurements|
|Iberia||Cabin Luggage||56 x 40 x 25cm (Height, Width, Depth) 10 kg tourist class 14 kg business class|
|Avianca||Hand backpack||55 x 35 x 25cm (Height, Width, Depth) including wheels and handles 10 kg tourist class 14 kg business class|
|Ryanair||Cabin Luggage||55cm x 40cm x 20cm / 10kg (Height, Width, Depth)|
|Lufthansa||Hand backpack||55 × 40 × 23cm / 8kg (Height, Width, Depth)|
3. Suitcase or hold luggage
They are all those suitcases that exceed the dimensions allowed in cabin luggage. They have greater storage capacity and range from 23 kg to 32 kg. To carry this type of luggage, you have to pay an extra price, depending on the weight that needs to be transported.
Measurement of the suitcase or hold luggage
Usually, the weight of a suitcase or hold luggage goes from 23 kg to 32 kg. Nonetheless, there are some exceptions, considering that there are airlines that allow the transport of hand luggage in the hold without additional fees.
|Airline||Type of Luggage||Measurements|
|Iberia||Checked baggage||158cm (height + width + length) 23kg (maximum 32kg)|
|Avianca||Baggage||158cm (length + width + height) 23 kg economy class 32 kg business class|
|Ryanair||Checked bag||20 Kg + 3 additional kg Up to 3 pieces with this measure|
|Lufthansa||Hand luggage||Up to 23 kg and 158 cm (height × width × depth)|
Guide to finding the ideal backpack for your flight
Now that you know the different types of luggage and the regulation established by airlines such as Iberia, Avianca, Ryanair, and Lufthansa for the transport of luggage, you will have cleared some of your doubts about the weight and size of the backpack you are going to choose for your trip.
We already told you about the measurements and the regulatory weight, now let’s discuss the material and the capacity that a backpack or cabin and hold luggage should have.
What type of material is the best for a travel backpack?
The material is also very important to consider when you choose the backpack that goes in the cabin or under the front seat. Some of the bests are the following:
Materials for cabin backpacks:
- Nylon: waterproof, light, resistant, and flexible.
- Polyester: light, flexible, and soft.
Materials for holding suitcases
- ABS: It is rigid, and resists impacts and scratches.
- Polypropylene: It is the hardest and most abrasion resistant.
- Polycarbonate: It is hard and resistant, but it is a little lighter and more flexible.
What capacity is needed in a backpack to travel on a plane?
The capacity or volume of a backpack means the available or usable internal space. Its measurement is given in liters and not in kilos since in this case, the weight is not considered. This capacity can be affected by a bad choice of design or a choice of materials that end up taking away space from the backpack.
Anyway, the maximum capacity of an airplane backpack is approximately 40 liters.
The best backpack for your trip in 2023
The perfect backpack for this 2023 meets the requirements of the airlines in terms of weight, capacity, and size, but also one that meets your expectations, such as comfort, light and easy movement, and style!
Tips to pick the best backpack for your trip
- Remember to check the relation to cost – quality.
- Backpack connection: Do you identify with the backpack you are buying?
- Weight, size, and capacity DO matter: Check the travel policy of each airline.
- How many days are you going to travel? This defines the type of luggage you will need.
- How comfortable is the backpack for your body? It will spend many hours by your side.
What to pack in your backpack for a plane trip?
To know what you need to pack, you must consider the weather, the destination you are visiting, the season of the year, and other aspects that will guide you to choose the most appropriate clothing and items.
Some of the most common items are clothing, shoes, coats, grooming and personal care items, organizers, cameras, electronic equipment, travel documents, cash, and others.
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We recommend you review the policy:
- Restricted items: These refer to those items that can put the life, health, and integrity of people at risk, as well as the safety of the aircraft.
- Liquids: you are allowed to carry liquids in containers that do not exceed 100 ml and 1 liter in total, adding all the products (gel, deodorant, aerosol, alcohol, hand sanitizer, etc.)
- Special baggage: Medical equipment, weapons, sports equipment, and musical instruments, are some examples of this category, which can be transported fulfilling certain conditions and characteristics.
Keep in mind that the restrictions may vary depending on the destination where you are or even between airlines if you choose a flight with several connections.
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Tips to prepare your backpack
Always think about taking what you need. Prepare your backpack or hand luggage with anticipation, so you will have the possibility to check if it is worth taking everything you are packing, or if there is something you do not need.
Make the most of the internal space and exterior pockets. Many travelers use the rule of rolling clothes to expand storage capacity and use the lightest garments to fill gaps.
Repackage liquids and creams in standard-size containers. Remember each bottle must have a capacity of 100 ml and everything cannot exceed 1 liter. So, you can make sure you take the products you need for your care, without restrictions.
Check the weight of the travel backpack. Remember that if your baggage exceeds the weight allowed in the cabin, you must pass it as check-in baggage in the hold.
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Frequent questions about backpacks for travelers
The airlines define them as a type of baggage allowed to carry a laptop, a wallet with travel documents, and cash. Also, a diaper bag with baby care products, and other examples.
It is the baggage that goes in the upper compartment of the plane. Usually, its weight is a maximum of 10 kg. However, this information depends on each airline within its baggage policy.
This is check-in baggage larger than the characteristics allowed in the aircraft cabin. They are between 23 kg and 32 kg.
You can pack clothes, shoes, toiletries and personal care, electronic equipment, medicines, jewelry, cash, photographs, documents, and fragile items as long as they are not considered dangerous objects.
Here are some of the items that you cannot carry in your luggage: explosives, pyrotechnic material, aerosols or irritating substances, pipettes or scuba tanks, electroshock weapons, electronic cigarettes, lighters, rechargeable batteries, scooters, etc.