Hand luggage allowance refers to the rules that regulate passengers' carry-on baggage. These rules can vary from one airline to another, but there are some common features. Most of these policies limit the number of items that a passenger may bring inside the airplane and the size of those items. The handbag allowance usually applies to everyone, but there are some instances where certain passengers are subject to different terms.
The hand luggage allowance generally gives a person the right to bring one carry-on item inside the aircraft. Although this is normally a small suitcase or some other type of bag, it does not have to be. The carry-on item could be any number of things, such as a box or a small musical instrument. There are, however, generally restrictions as to how big the item can be.
These restrictions usually set maximum limits for height, width, and weight. Some jurisdictions' standards are set by a national authority. In the U.S., for example, the acceptable dimensions for hand luggage are set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Such rules are enforced in a number of ways. Many airlines have a specially designed metal container shaped like a suitcase. Passengers can place their hand luggage into it, and if it fits, they know that their possession meet the dimension requirements. Upon checking in, passengers may also be required to place their hand luggage on a scale to ensure that it meets the weight requirements. Many airlines also have staff conduct visual inspections as passengers are entering the aircraft.
In addition to the single piece of carry-on luggage, a passenger is also usually permitted to have a personal item. There are a wide range of possessions that fall into this category, such as laptop cases, brief cases, or diaper bags. The hand luggage allowance generally applies to all passengers equally, with the exception that women are often allowed to have purses in addition to the other items.
Other exceptions to the hand luggage allowance generally fall into two categories. The first is for business-class or first-class travelers. These individuals pay more for their tickets and are sometimes granted the privilege of having more or larger luggage than is outlined by the general rules.
Second, some laws prohibit airlines from considering medically necessary materials to be hand luggage or to subject them to size restrictions. Consider, for example, that a passenger needs a device to facilitate breathing. She would be allowed to bring it onto the aircraft in addition to her one personal item and her carry-on.