Is a Backpack a Personal Item? How Would a Rucksack Fare?

Each airline has its restrictions for hand luggage, checked baggage, and personal goods permitted in the cabin. So, in response to the question, "Is a backpack a Personal Item?" We'd want to say yes, but each instance and airline differs. In brief, many airlines now consider bags as personal goods that can be transported free of charge. While airline personal item size regulations vary, most airlines consider a small backpack, purse, briefcase, or laptop bag to be a personal item. The airline, however, would not reveal all of the type of luggage it considers to be personal luggage.These should constantly be adjusted to fit the seat in front of you. Many airlines limit travellers to one personal item and one piece of hand luggage. As a result, while purchasing airline tickets, you should examine and confirm this with the ticket agent.

What Is The Definition Of Personal Items?

The initial distinction between a personal item and one that is not checked luggage is made by definition. Briefly, if your backpack is tiny enough, it will be deemed a personal item by the airline. Depending on the size of the bag and the airline you fly with, a backpack might be considered a personal item. Each carrier has personal item size restrictions that your bags must adhere to. Personal items must also fit beneath the seat in front of you or on the upper cabin.


Careful packing planning will influence whether or not your vacation goes smoothly.

A backpack can also be used as your primary bag. So, if you don't want to only bring a backapck, you can check it in as a personal item as long as it meets the airline's requirements.

What Is The Ideal Size For A Personal Item/Personal backpack?

Each time you fly, you will have a different policy for luggage and personal goods depending on the airline you select to fly with and the route.

Many airlines will accept a rucksack as a personal item, and if they do, the bag can still be your carry-on as long as it meets the airline's size requirements. The usual dimensions for domestic hand luggage are 22 x 14 x 9 in (56 x 36 x 23 cm). Some airlines will have a limit of 20 x 12 x 5.75 in (51 x 31 x 15 cm). For further information, please see some of the airline restrictions listed below.

American Airlines

On ordinary flights, American Airlines considers bags less than 18 x 14 x 8 in (46 x 36 x 20 cm) to be personal goods. Diaper bags (1 bag per kid), soft-sided breast milk coolers, child safety seats, strollers, and medical or mobility devices are not considered personal goods or carry-on luggage. Overhead bin items are defined as any luggage that is less than 22 x 14 x 9 in (56 x 36 x 23 cm) (including handles and wheels) and must fit in the gate stacker.

Size For A Personal Item

American Airlines’ carrier. Photo on Unsplash


According to Delta’s policy, you are allowed to carry a handbag, briefcase, camera bag, or diaper bag. They also add that you can carry other bags of comparable size to the ones listed above. As a result, you can travel with a backpack the size of a purse or baby bag as your item with Delta.

Each Delta Air Lines customer is permitted one piece of luggage and one personal item: 22 x 14 x 9 in (56 x 36 x 23 cm) dimensions for hand luggage. For personal items, they must fit beneath the seat in front of you.


Southwest requires your belongings to be less than 18.5 x 13.5 x 8.5 in (47 x 35 x 22 cm) to be considered personal items. Carry-on items must be 24 x 16 x 10 in ( 61 x 41 x 25 cm) in size. Wallets, briefcases, cameras, food containers, laptop computers, and rucksacks must not be larger than 16 x 13.5 x 8 in (41 x 34 x 20 cm)

Southwest permits one personal bag and one piece of carry-on luggage per passenger. Dimension limit for hand luggage is  24  x 16  x 10 ins (61 x 41 x 25  cm)  and 16.25  x 13.5  x 8 ins (41 x 34 x 20 cm) for personal items.

United Airlines

rucksacks that are less than 17 x 10 x 9 in (43 x 25 x 22 cm) in size are considered personal goods by United Airlines.  If you need to bring a second bag for the overhead bin, be advised that upgrading to economy class will cost you $60 round-trip. Hand luggage in economy class and higher cannot be larger than 9 x 14 x 22 in (23 x 36 x 56 cm), including handles and wheels.

Most passengers can bring one piece of hand luggage and one personal item. The basic economy class ticket, on the other hand, is only permitted as a personal item. The dimension limit is 22 x 14 x 9 in (23 x 36 x 56 cm) for hand luggage and 17 x 10 x 9 in (43 x 25 x 23 cm)  for personal items.


JetBlue specifies that bags with dimensions less than 17 x 13 x 8 in (43 x 33 x 20 cm)  are considered personal property.

Each traveller is permitted one personal item. Carry-on luggage is included in the Blue, Blue Plus, Blue Extra, and Mint tickets. Carry-on luggage is no longer included in Blue Basic tickets (with some exceptions).

Dimension limit is 22  x 14  x 9 in (56 x 36 x 23 cm)  for hand luggage and 17 x 13  x 8 in (43. x 33 x 20 cm) for personal items.

How To Best Prepare Backpack As A Personal Item When Flying?

The rucksack must be less than 18 x 14 x 8 in (46 x 36 x 20 cm) in size in general, although each airline is different. Most people would store their belongings and important papers in a purse when travelling to keep them close and safe.

Wallet: When travelling, wallets are considered personal things, so keep this in mind when packing. You should pack one since it can neatly keep all of your critical paperwork, which is essential for a vacation. Make backup copies of your passport or identity, credit cards, and other crucial cards you can need, such as auto or health insurance cards, proof of immunizations, on your iPhone or leave a duplicate for a trusted friend or family member to return home in case of an emergency.

Briefcase: Business travellers frequently take a briefcase to bring business materials, but make sure to check the airline's size requirements as not all will fit.


Pack all the essentials for a safe trip.

Laptop bag: Bags meant to protect computers while travelling can frequently accommodate other critical goods.

rucksacks: Probably the most common personal item, a rucksack can generally hold anything that won't fit in your carry-on, giving you additional packing room. Personal things such as lip balm, hand cream, hand sanitiser, eye drops, comb, face wipes, toothbrush and adhesive, toiletries, cosmetics, and any other required goods should be prepared. Keep it in a separate pocket or at the top of your main compartment for easy access. Don't forget about any prescriptions. You should always keep them on hand in case your flight is delayed or cancelled.

Is Backpack Considered A Personal Item?

The answer is unequivocally correct; a rucksack is always considered a personal item.

Because it is compact and worn on your back, a rucksack is a useful and necessary personal item. When carried in conjunction with a suitcase or duffel bag, a tiny rucksack is unobtrusive and difficult for border inspectors to detect.

Because airline size varies so significantly, finding a bag that is both handy and compatible for all flights can be tough. Choose a bag that is low-profile and will fit under the seat in front of you. Also, as long as you don't breach the rules excessively, you should be fine.

Personal things should be stored beneath the seat in front of you or above your bags in the cabin throughout the trip. Pack as light as possible to avoid having the airline ask you to leave your items at the airport.

FAQs about personal item

1. Can I Bring My Backpack On The Airline Instead Of Hand Luggage?

This is determined by the airline. Hand luggage and personal goods are permitted on several carriers (unspecified, but often include a backpack or small handbag). Please keep in mind that unless you are in a Business or emergency exit row, your personal things must fit in the seat in front of you.

Many airlines allow only one carry-on luggage with no personal goods. So, basically, verify the regulations for your airline. Most airlines let you bring one carry-on and one piece of luggage. As a result, you can use your baggage as a rucksack and vice versa. When purchasing tickets, however, you should examine the terms and limitations.

2. Can I Bring Two Rucksacks on The Airline As Hand Luggage?

It is dependent on the airline you are flying with. They normally anticipate personal stuff to be something that will fit in your seat and your luggage to be in the overhead bin. You can securely carry both if you can persuade them that one of the bags will fit in your seat.

3. How Do You Pick The Finest Bag For Your Personal Belongings?

When packing a rucksack for personal goods, consider if it can fit beneath the airline seat during the flight and whether you will carry any electrical gadgets or laptops.

CabinZero’s bumbag. Image from CabinZero

Choose a laptop backpack that can contain chargers, cables, and other hardware if your goods will be your main piece of luggage for your laptop or suitcase when you carry it as well as safeguard your laptop.

If you don't carry a laptop regularly or will bring your laptop with you when you travel, waist packs are a good option for carrying all the required paperwork and little stuff. Choose one that is tiny and light enough to be worn all day wherever you go. If you're still undecided about which model to go with, go no further than CabinZero's selection of rucksacks in a range of sizes.

4. What Is The Maximum Size Of A Backpack That Can Be Considered A Personal Item?

Refer to the detailed information provided here to understand the luggage limits of several popular airlines nowadays. Although several airlines have differing luggage limitations, you should always check the official website before purchasing a ticket.

  • Alaska Airlines:  22 x 14 x 9 inch (56 x 36 x 22 cm)
  • Allegiant Air:  7 x 15 x 16 inch (18 x 38 x 41 cm)
  • American Airlines:  18 x 14 x 8 inch (46 x 36 x 20 cm)
  • Delta Air Lines:  22 x 14 x 9 inch (56 x 36 x 22 cm)
  • Frontier Airlines:  18 x 14 x 8 inch (46 x 36 x 20 cm)
  • Hawaiian Airlines:  22 x 14 x 9 inch (56 x 36 x 22 cm)
  • JetBlue Airways:  17 x 13 x 8 inch (43,2 x 33 x 20,32 cm)
  • Southwest Airlines:  18,5 x 13,5 x 8,5 inch (47 x 34 x 22 cm)
  • Spirit Airlines:  18 x 14 x 8 inch (46 x 36 x 20 cm)
  • United Airlines:  9 x 10 x 17 inch (22 x 25 x 43 cm)

In summary, backpacks can be used as personal items, but they must fit in the plane's cabin. In addition, when airlines publish size limitations, your rucksack must be less than those limits. Otherwise, you will be charged additional costs or have things abandoned at the airport.

Vy Nguyen

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