New hand luggage allowance procedures announced for South Africa

A new campaign to enforce the rules that regulate hand luggage has been announced by Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). The program is set to commence on February 2, 2015 and does not necessarily change the letter of the law but rather it will make sure that the existing rules are more strictly enforced.

Airports Company South Africa and airlines will roll out a campaign from February 2 at all SA airports to enforce hand luggage regulations.

The campaign will inform and educate passengers and travel agents about the prescribed restrictions and the impact on travellers.

The hand luggage allowance is as follows:

Economy-class passengers are allowed one bag plus one slimline laptop bag. Business/ first-class passengers are allowed two bags plus one slimline laptop bag. Handbags are considered part of a female’s wardrobe and not as hand luggage.

Slimline laptop bags must be of a size and thickness specifically designed to carry a laptop and charger. Bags capable of carrying other items such as documents and clothes are not permitted.

No bag should exceed 56cm x 36cm x 23cm (total dimensions of 115cm) or weigh more than 7kg per bag. Bag weight may vary according to airline specifications.

If hand baggage does not comply, the passenger will be referred back to the check-in counters to check in the baggage as hold baggage. Extra fees may apply, as per each airline’s guidelines.

The enforcement of this programme will be led by airlines operating at Acsa airports and supported by the South African Civil Aviation Authority.

This campaign is similar to what we have seen in the United States, Canada and Europe, with airline and airport employees being directed to pay more close attention to ensuring that the carry-on luggage rules and regulations which are already in place will be more carefully enforced.

Rules updated for musical instruments as carry-on luggage

U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) welcomed a final rule from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) regarding the treatment of musical instruments on commercial airlines.  Reed urged Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to issue the rule earlier this year, when media reports documented an incident in which members of the Rhode Island band Deer Tick were barred from bringing their guitars as carry-on luggage.

Section 403 of the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2012 states that air carriers “shall permit a passenger to carry a violin, guitar, or other musical instrument in the aircraft cabin,” provided “the instrument can be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat” and that “there is space for such stowage at the time the passenger boards the aircraft.”  The law also makes similar allowances for the transport of larger instruments in the airplane cabin when a separate ticket is purchased for the instrument.

The law was enacted in February 2012 and included a requirement that USDOT adopt regulations to carry out this provision within two years.  The law could not become effective until the final rule has was issued, leading Reed to call on Secretary Foxx in July to end the delay and clarify the rules of the road.  There have been numerous reports of musicians experiencing travel disruptions when attempting to board flights with their instruments, as well as accounts of loss, theft, or damage to instruments when the artists have been required to place them in in the baggage hold.

“I’m pleased that, after nearly three years, there is a final rule that makes the FAA Modernization and Reform Act fully implemented and effective.  It will be up to the airline industry, working with musician organizations, to familiarize airline personnel and travelers of their rights and responsibilities.  I’m pleased that Secretary Foxx in developing this rule brought the airlines and musicians together, and that dialogue should continue.  We’ll also need to closely evaluate the airlines’ performance in handling valuable and fragile musical instruments,” said Reed.

In July, after news reports that members of the band Deer Tick were detained and subsequently delayed on their return flight from Nashville to Rhode Island after they were barred from bringing their guitars as carry-on luggage, Reed sought to ensure other air travelers do not face similar problems.  The delayed final rule, issued Tuesday by USDOT, requires that US airlines accept musical instruments as carry-on or checked baggage on commercial passenger flights, provided that certain conditions are met.

“We have a lot of great musicians based here in Rhode Island, and many who travel here for our world renowned music festivals.  When they fly, they should be able to learn ahead of time how an airline will store their instruments during the flight.  If an instrument passes through security and can be stowed safely, it should permitted in the airplane cabin.  This final rule is an important step towards a more uniform policy for musicians traveling with their instruments,” added Reed.

The rule is expected to become effective in March.

Best carry-on bag named by consumer guide

What is the best carry-on bag for most travelers? According to the consumer guide The Wirecutter. It is the Travelpro Platinum Magna 22 Inch Expandable Rollaboard Suiter. Here are some of the details as presented by Brent Rose online at

No matter how much you travel, the right carry-on luggage should last you for years. On the inside it should fit enough clothes for at least a five-day trip with room for a little more, but on the outside it should be small enough that it won’t get you gate-checked. For the majority of flyers (people who fly under 25,000 miles annually), we recommend the $165 Travelpro Platinum Magna 22-inch Expandable Rollaboard Suiter. For those who fly more than that (or less), we have picks for you too.

How We Decided
Over the years, we’ve spent hundreds of hours on research and testing. To determine what the perfect bag should have, we consulted a host of industry experts, including travel writers from other publications and flight attendants who know what to look for. We even took bags to a flight attendant training facility, walked them around mock airplane cabins, and had experienced flight attendants try their hand with them and give us feedback. We then took our own measurements, and did our own load, usability, and ruggedization testing.

What we concluded is that you’re looking for a bag that has a fabric exterior (not a hard shell) which makes it tough yet flexible. You want two, seal-bearing wheels (four wheelers sacrifice storage space for their overall footprint). You want YKK zippers, aluminum telescoping handles, roomy suiter compartments, good warranties, user-replaceable parts, and maybe most importantly, maximum cubic volume while taking up minimum space.

With all that in mind, we came up with three bags as our picks, for three levels of travel frequency and budget.

For Most Travelers
At $165, we think the Travelpro Platinum Magna 22 Inch Expandable Rollaboard Suiter has the best balance of size to capacity, features, and price for those traveling under 25,000 miles per year. It’s relatively light, the wheels are built to last, and it’s big enough to easily fit five days’ worth of clothes. Compared to other bags in this price range, you also get surprisingly high-end components and a warranty that covers anything (even airline damage) for the life of the bag. If you want something reliable and don’t want to spend a ton, this is an excellent choice.

For Frequent Fliers
If you fly more than 25,000 miles every year and you’re willing to invest in a higher quality product, we recommend the Briggs & Riley Baseline U121CXW, a $465 bag that’s made well enough to actually improve your travel experience. Several unique design elements enable the Briggs & Riley to fit more stuff into—say, nearly seven days worth of clothing—because the handle rails are outside the luggage compartment, freeing up internal space.

You can read the complete article online at

Please remember that airlines may change or revise their carry-on luggage size and dimension limits at any time. Lately it seems that many air carriers are becoming much more strict with the way they enforce their luggage regulations as well. For these reasons, savvy travelers will check with their airlines before they start packing, do avoid disappointment, wasted time, and additional expense when they are checking in at the airport.



Air Canada tightens up carry-on bag enforcement

Air_Canada_777The list of airlines enforcing their carry-on bag rules more stringently has been increased once again. You can add Air Canada to the seemingly ever growing list. It’s not that Canada’s largest air carrier has changed its rules about the size of carry on luggage allowed in the cabin, the change is that they have become more serious about enforcing the restrictions that have been in place for years. The reason for the turn-around? Andrew Russell, reporting for Global News, says that some passengers believe it is another cash grab for the airline to profit from.

Here are highlights of his recent report:

Air Canada has started cracking down on passengers with oversized carry-on luggage, beginning with a trial program at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

Extra staff were posted at the airport’s departure areas Tuesday to check travellers’ luggage and ensure their bags will fit safely into the overhead bins.

The trial program comes less than a month after Air Canada announced passengers buying the lowest fare seats would have to pay $25 for their first checked bag on domestic flights and flights headed to the Caribbean and Mexico. The new fees will come into effect on Nov. 2.

Air Canada is following on the heels of WestJet, who announced on Sept. 15 it would charge $25 for the first checked bag.

Rick Erickson, an aviation expert based in Calgary, said the move brings Canada’s airlines in line with its U.S. and European competitors.

“[Air Canada has] made it pretty clear they’re going to watch closely people with their carry-on luggage who might want to circumvent, or say ‘How can I get around not paying the additional $25?” said Erickson.

Transport Canada allow passengers to carry two unchecked items like carry-on luggage, knapsacks, camera bags and some garment bags.

Air Canada states a personal item can measure up to 16 cm by 33 cm by 43 cm, and a standard item like a suitcase can measure up to 23 cm by 40 cm by 55 cm, including wheels and handles.

Some frustrated travellers at Pearson airport were irate with the new baggage fee, calling it a “cash grab.”

You can read the entire story, complete with supporting video, online at

Even if your carry-on luggage meets the size and weight restrictions, that does not guarantee you will be able to stow your small suitcase in an overhead bin close to your seat. Passengers who arrive toward the end of boarding on heavily booked flights may find that all the spaces have been used up. And the days of lightly booked flights with lots of empty seats seem to be mostly things of the distant past. Regardless, if you pack such necessities as identification, medication and communication devices in hand luggage small enough to fit under the seat in front of you, then you will be assured of easy access to your carry-on bag.

Osprey Ozone 22-inch carry-on bag size warning

osprey ozone luggageWe recently read a review of Osprey Ozone luggage that we think requires a warning. The review said that the 22-inch version of the bag met the size requirements as an airline carry-on bag, but after we did a bit of research we discovered that might not be correct.

The article we saw was online at, and here is what it said…

What we liked: Despite its minimalist construction, the bag has ample places to keep your gear organized, with four external zip pockets (two of them full length) and three large internal zip pockets.

Not so much: While the 22-inch bag meets the 9-by-14-by-22-inch restrictions for carry-on luggage, overstuffing it may cause you to exceed the requirements, so remember to pack light if you’re not checking it.

You can read the entire review online at

Because airlines have recently been cracking down on carry-on bags, we looked at the review for the Osprey Ozone on Amazon, and here is what we found.

People who bought the luggage said that the size as given by the manufacturer is wrong. The item is not 22-inches long. Rather, they say, the measurement is 22-1/2 inches. Granted one half an inch may seem minor, but with airlines enforcing their rules much more stringently now than they did a few weeks ago, it is very possible that someone with one of these bags might find that it does not fit into the luggage size measuring device of a particular airline. If that were to happen, the passenger would be forced to go through the extra time and expense of checking the bag or else not having it with them.

This is especially true if the bag had been over-stuffed so extra contents expanded its size even further.

We advise that consumers do not trust the published dimensions of any suitcase they may be considering buying. Before you shop, read the fine print of what the maximum size is for carry-on luggage for the airline on which you will be traveling. Then, take out a tape measure and physically see whether your bag meets those requirements. Taking a few minutes to be cautious before you leave for the airport could save you a significant amount of both time and money.

Osprey Ozone 22-inch Wheeled Luggage

Why carry-on bags are better than big suitcases

It is better to travel with only a carry-on bag rather than a large, checked suitcase. So says Rick Seaney, the CEO of FareCompare, although one of his employees did not agree.  In an article published by ABC news, Mr. Seaney also discusses whether it is better to use a bag with wheels or a non-wheeled one. Here are highlights…

Why Take a Carry-on
A quick refresher on reasons to use a carry-on no matter where or when you fly.
Save on bag fees: Most airlines let you use a carry-on for free. The exceptions are Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit, and in the case of Spirit it’s actually cheaper to check a bag.
Saves time: I love heading straight out the door after a flight; I’m first in line for a taxi plus I’m not part of the depressing scene at the baggage carousel where gaggles of exhausted passengers wait for luggage. And wait and wait.

Which Carry-on is Best
I use a wheelie; mine’s a structured, fabric bag (they also come hard-sided) with two wheels on the bottom, retractable handle up top. Depending on where I’m going, I use a small-ish one or a slightly bigger bag because airline size guidelines vary but standard carry-on dimensions for domestic flights are typically 22″ long x 14″ wide x 9″ tall. Note: Measure a bag before purchasing (and include the wheels in measurements) to be sure it meets guidelines which you can find on airline websites under ‘baggage’. If you fly internationally, check those sizes too.

Others prefer to go wheel-less with backpacks or a soft, unstructured fabric or nylon carry-alls that usually come with a shoulder strap. These can range from an L.L. Bean medium duffle ($44.95) to a Brooks Brothers ‘Crocodile Weekender’ ($15,000). The convert employee I mentioned earlier uses what she describes as a “ratty old nylon gym bag” and says it no longer smells like socks.

Wheels are better: The pro-wheels arguments.
• Cheap: As noted, you’ll save the $50 checked-bag fee on most airlines. • Painless: It can save you from aches and pains in your back and/or arms. • Roomy: The fairly sizable footprint of these bags means you can pack more and clothes emerge with fewer wrinkles. • Maneuverability: Great on most surfaces, especially bags with spinner-type wheels that can help make sprints through the airport a little easier.

No wheels are better: The no-wheels arguments.
• Even Cheaper: Airlines that do charge for carriers usually allow a small bag onboard for free if it can fit under the seat. The squash-ability factor of some no-wheels bags can come in handy here. • Staying Power: Bin space fills up fast and airlines are increasingly vigilant about over-sized carry-ons; if you go over the limit (or the gate agent thinks you have) your bag may be taken from you and placed in cargo. This is less likely to happen with a smaller no-wheel bag. • Restroom-Friendly: Some find no-wheels bags are actually easier to maneuver, especially into tight spaces like a bathroom stall.

L.L. Bean Medium Duffel Bag
(click image for details)

To read the complete article online, please go to:

Even veteran travelers find new carry-on luggage rules confusing

George Hobica, the founder of is a veteran traveler, but even he ran into trouble regarding his carry-on luggage and almost missed his plane as a result. Here is a report by Ric Romero on ABC7 with the story…

Just before boarding a recent American Airlines flight, Hobica was told he couldn’t take his carry-on luggage on board, even though he had carried the same bag on the same airline many times before.

“I was rejected. I was sent back to the check-in line because one dimension was 1 inch over the limit,” Hobica said.

With rules varying among different airlines, experts recommend checking with companies on their carry-on bag restrictions before flying. Most allow travelers to bring on free carry-on bags, but mistaking the size can be a hit to the wallet.

For Hobica, he nearly missed his flight because he had to return to the ticket counter.

Mark Stern of Savinar Luggage in Canoga Park, a company that’s been selling luggage for nearly 100 years, said the different carry-on rules can be downright mind-boggling for travelers.

“The airlines are making it very confusing,” Stern said. “Then you get the situation where a customer comes in our store and they say ‘I had no problem carrying my bag on the way up. It was the same exact plane on the way back and then they stopped me.'”

On American Airlines, U.S. Airways, Delta Airlines and United Airlines, the carry-on bag dimensions can’t exceed 45 inches – that’s the total of the length, width and height.

On Southwest Airlines and JetBlue, bags are restricted to 50 inches. Alaska Air is even more generous, allowing bags up to 51 inches.

But a 50-inch carry-on bag could cost an extra $150 each way on even a relatively short flight if two full size suitcases have already been checked in.

To see the complete article online, please go to:

The problem is not that the rules for luggage size have changed, but rather than airlines are becoming more strict about enforcing the rules that have been in place for quite some time.

At the time of this publication, Southwest Airlines has one of the most liberal policies regarding hand luggage. They allow two carry-on bags free per person, and there size limits are larger than most of their competitors.


Carry-on luggage rules – Airlines becoming more strict

Just because you were able to sneak your slightly-oversize carry-on bag onto the plane and jam it into the overhead bin on your last flight, that does not mean they will let you get away with it next time around.

Airlines are getting fed up with passengers taking advantage of their desire to keep customers happy and wasting time as they struggle to shove luggage that is larger than overhead bins can easily accommodate. So says Bill Gephardt  in an article recently published by the Examiner. Here are some highlights:

“I have noticed a lot of oversized carry-ons,” said traveler Brian Kehoe.

He is not the only one who has noticed what people are trying to cram into overhead bins lately.

“I saw somebody try to get their child seat on,” said another traveler, Martin Palmer. “This thing was massive. It didn’t even come close (to fitting).”

Then there’s the frustration of waiting behind a fellow traveler while they squeeze an impossibly large pack into a bin.

“They had to lift it up this high, and really shove it, and then they had to bring it down,” said traveler Lynn Hart. “There wasn’t enough space. It was just bad.”

Several airlines are taking a harder line with carry-on abusers. United Airlines installed new bag-sizing boxes at most airports, including Salt Lake International Airport. If a passenger’s carry-on doesn’t fit, they could end up paying to have it checked.

“I’ve noticed a lot lately, when traveling a little bit more this summer, a lot of people are getting rejected and having (bags) loaded from the gate,” Palmer said.

Delta Airlines also added sizing boxes. A ticketing agent said they’ve stepped up their watch for oversized bags.

Frontier Airlines started charging passengers $25 to $50 for the privilege of storing stuff overhead. The airlines insist it’s all about avoiding delays and ensuring all passengers have space left for them.

Not all passengers buy that, and some think the airline is just trying to make more money.

One of Deborah Taylor’s carry-ons got rejected. Although she packed it with pottery she bought in Europe, it got sent to “under the plane.”

“Everyone tries to save money and carry luggage on,” she said. “We’re all kind of doing it, so we don’t have to pay to keep your luggage under the plane.”

The airlines have different limits on what they allow.

A bag measuring 22 x 14 x 9 inches deep can be carried onto a Delta, American, or United flight. Others carriers allow a few more inches.

So, it might pay to check an airline’s website for baggage limits and measure carry-on bags before heading to the airport.

To read the complete article online, please go to

Tips for preventing lost luggage, and finding it when it goes missing

This traveler once suffered a lost checked bag in India and had to endure three days in Calcutta with only the contents of my carry-on bag.  A valuable lesson on what to pack where. If you are going to check a bag, here are some tips on preventing is from getting lost, and getting it back should it not be readily found.

1- Check in early
Baggage handlers may not feel the same sense of urgency as the bag owner for getting late bags on a flight. Having the check-in processes completed and baggage in the pipeline at least 45 minutes before the flight departure time is recommended.

2- Check the destination tags
Travelers should take responsibility to double-check that the correct destination tags get placed on their luggage. The airport codes used on the tags are also shown on the ticket. Old tags and stickers are to be removed before bags are checked to avoid confusion.

3- Enclosing an itinerary indicates luggage destination
Airlines officials will sometimes open a bag to try to identify the owner. There should be a clearly visible itinerary inside the bag indicating its final destination.

4- Make luggage easily identifiable
Luggage that stands out in the crowd are more likely to get where they need to be and less likely to be accidentally taken off the carousel by someone that owns a similar looking bag. Marking a bag can be as easy as adding a tassel, decal, unique strap or colorful tape.

5- Avoid short layovers
When travelers change planes, so does their luggage. Less time between flights means less time for baggage handlers to sort and reroute luggage. A delayed first leg will make that transfer even less likely. Layovers of less than hour should be avoided and longer with international flights. Changing airlines during a layover increases the problem so stick with one carrier.

6- Ship luggage instead of checking
Shipping luggage UPS, FedEx or U.S. Postal service is something to consider. Loss rates are much lower with these services and considering the fees airlines charge for checked bags (especially overweight or oversized), shipping may even save money. Ship at least five days ahead and make arrangements for storage at the bags final destination.

7- Add Okoban tracker tags to all luggage items
When luggage does get lost, Okoban tracker tags greatly increase the likelihood that they will be returned in a timely manner.

“Lost” luggage does not actually vanish; “lost” luggage is virtually always found by someone. Lost luggage usually occurs when the finders, usually airline personnel, have no easy way to identify and contact the owner quickly. Okoban® tracker tags from connect finders with owners quickly, securely and privately, anywhere in the world.

Finding the best carry-on bag can be a challenge

When Seth Kugel, Frugal Travel writer for the New York Times went out shopping for a new carry-on bag, he decided to share the results of his search with his readers. Here are highlights of his findings:reiwb

 My pricing sweet spot was at about $150. You can find plenty of bags for under $100, but most are blatantly shabby. That may be fine for infrequent travelers or those whose luggage travels exclusively by taxi and elevator, not city streets and stairways. Above $200, things begin to get unnecessarily stylish for my needs, or the needs of any traveler who wants to blend in at hostels or on buses (though I could hardly tear myself away from the Tumi section at Macy’s).

 Instead of wading into different standards for domestic and international carriers, I wanted something that worked everywhere, which means a maximum length of 21 inches and a linear total of 45 inches (that is, length plus width plus depth).

A sturdy handle was a top priority. I lift up the whole suitcase with it even when it’s telescoped all the way out. You’re not supposed to do that, but I’m not going to stop.

 The lighter the better. I travel with books and electronic equipment, and need every last ounce.

 The appeal of spinner wheels is lost on me. I get that they make the bag easier to maneuver on airport floors, but I can’t see them bouncing along rutted sidewalks very smoothly, at least in their low-end versions. If I ever enter a figure-skating-with-luggage competition, I’ll give in, but for now, it’s old-fashioned bulky two-wheeled rollers.

 I liked the idea of hard-shell carry-ons, and if I traveled on (real) business, I’d probably get one: the two shallow compartments look perfect for ironed shirts and fine shoes, but not the bulky items I sometimes carry: hiking shoes and a telephoto lens that needs to be wrapped in layers of T-shirts. (I lost the case, O.K.?)

Between soft-sided regular suitcases and wheeled duffels, I thought I’d definitely want the standard look. But aesthetically, I was torn: the suitcases in my range — lower-end models from dependable brands like Samsonite and TravelPro — were squatter and uglier than the one I was replacing. And the duffels looked better than I thought they would. I was torn …

 … But with the duffels, I definitely didn’t want to give up space for hidden backstraps. That’s a younger traveler’s game.

And the winner: REI Wheely Beast 21-inch wheeled duffel, $149.

I wasn’t going to go for the duffel, I really wasn’t. But it had everything I wanted and still managed to look good, and in just the shape I wanted. It has a big, deep main pocket — no divisions, although there are two small interior pockets and one huge mesh one under the top flap (my new underwear drawer!). There’s an exterior one, too, for easy access, and a pocket underneath that is perfect for papers or tablets (but not big enough for a laptop, fine with me since I carry a small bike messenger bag for that).

To read the complete article, please go to: