A Luggage Refresher Course – Know Before You Go

After so many months at home, it’s only natural that we would forget a few finer points of the outside world. Now that we’re coming out of our quarantine shells, we’re also relearning how to behave at restaurants, movie theaters, and in gatherings larger than six close friends. If we’re honest, awkward moments and slips of the tongue are bound to happen. But with a little bit of patience and some helpful reminders now and then, we’ll be back on our best behavior in no time. 

As we ship up and ship out for some much needed travel, many of us could benefit from a quick refresher about luggage guidelines and best practices. From carry-on luggage to checked luggage, liquid restrictions to hazardous materials, here are a few simple reminders about how to pack to avoid incidents. 

By planning and learning before you go, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance at a relaxing, rewarding trip!

Carry-On Luggage

For short trips, travelers generally prefer carry-on luggage. The convenience and affordability of carrying your bag onto the plane with you make this option an attractive one. Even so, there are a few things to consider before hitting the security checkpoint on your way out of town.


For most airlines, carry-on luggage dimensions are as follows:

  • Height: ≤ 22 inches (56 cm)
  • Width: ≤ 9 inches (22 cm)
  • Length: ≤ 14 inches (35 cm)


Most small, solid food items will be permitted in carry-on luggage. Any gel or liquid substances will be subject to additional regulations, but your energy bar, bag of nuts, or trail mix should be fine.


The TSA’s 3-1-1 liquid rule is an easy and helpful way to plan ahead. The rule applies to liquids, aerosols, creams, and pastes—none of which should exceed 3.4 oz or 100 ml per container. All liquids must fit into a 1 qt, translucent plastic zip-top bag, and only one bag is allowed per traveler (hence the 3-1-1 rule). 

The 3-1-1 rule stands for:

  • 3.4 oz (or less) per container
  • 1 qt bag
  • 1 bag per traveler

A brief list of liquid items includes:

  • Toothpaste
  • Gel deodorants
  • Shampoos
  • Lotions
  • Bottled water
  • Peanut butter
  • Jams

The following essential liquids may be carried on in larger quantities:

  • Prescription/over-the-counter medication
  • Baby formula
  • Breast milk
  • Hand sanitizer (up to 12 oz per passenger)

If you plan to carry-on essential liquids in greater quantities, make sure to point them out to security officers in case alternative screening is required. In any case, you’ll want to make sure to remove your 3-1-1 approved 1 qt bag and place it in its own tray at the security checkpoint. 

Checked Baggage

Each airline has its own guidelines when it comes to checked baggage, so make sure you search for weight and size limits by your specific airline. Here are a few general (but by no means entirely inclusive) restrictions for checked baggage.


Weight restrictions vary by airline. Some airlines offer to carry baggage over this weight limit for an additional fee, while others may not be willing to accommodate an overweight bag. Most airlines permit baggage weighing less than or equal to 50 lbs. while Allegiant has a 40 lb. limit. 


Here, you’ll also want to check guidelines with your specific airline. When upright, bags standing taller than 23 inches will likely need to be checked rather than carried. Baggage larger than 32 inches in height may require additional fees depending on your airline.

Hazardous Materials 

With proper notification, your airline may permit the transportation of certain items in your checked baggage that aren’t fit for carry-on luggage. These items are permitted on a case-by-case basis, so it’s important to check the TSA website for specific information.

A brief list of prohibited items in checked baggage includes:

  • Alcoholic beverages over 140 proof
  • Electronic cigarette/cigar lighters
  • Bear spray/mace
  • Butane
  • Chlorine
  • CO2 cartridges
  • Cooking spray
  • Explosives
  • Fertilizer
  • And more

If you’re unsure whether your cargo is safe enough for checked baggage, speak directly to your airline ahead of time to avoid any embarrassing or dangerous incidents. 

Bon Voyage

Nobody likes to be stopped by security on the way to their terminal. Surprise fees are even less welcome. For the best travel experience possible, make sure you know the pertinent rules and regulations before packing. By focusing on rules and regulations now, you’ll be free to enjoy the experience later! 

South Bend Airport couldn’t be more thrilled to have you back. We’re excited to help you on your way so that you can take the trip you clearly deserve. Welcome back to the skies! 

Now flying wherever you’re heading this summer! 

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that flying is a true privilege. At South Bend International Airport, it’s our privilege to get you where you want to go safe and sound. For a refresher on TSA regulations, luggage restrictions, ID requirements, and more, visit flysbn.com to get caught up before you fly! Welcome back to the world! We’ve been missing you.

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