If You Want To Bring Extra Bags On A Plane, Can You Just Attach Them All Together (So They Count As One)?

Most passengers on U.S. airlines can bring one carry-on bag and one personal item on board, and there are size (dimension) limits for each of those. The carry-on needs to fit in the overhead bin, and personal item underneath your seat.

That’s two separate restrictions: number of pieces and size. But as long as the bag will fit in the sizer, if you link them all together are several different bags really one? What is a “bag” or “item” anyway? And when does one bag become two or three?

Such metaphysical questions are ultimately up to the gate agent to decipher, and there’s very little philosophy training provided as part of their onboarding.

If All The Carry-On Bags Are Attached, It Counts As One
byu/Finbar-Bryan inunitedairlines

Here’s the thing. It has to fit inside the bag sizer. The passenger shown here can’t possibly have been subjected to the sizer. A gate agent simply didn’t enforce carry-on rules.

Most bags are larger than their manufacturers claim and that puts passengers in a tough position at the gate shoving and squeezing bags in to try to make them fit into the sizers. Sometimes the bags even get stuck! Though I suppose if the bags are really multiple pieces, you can unclip them when you’re trying to get them to fit.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary – either too bored, too much time on your hands or had a gummy and contemplating the world. No need to bring up scenarios like this.

  2. Trump learned when hanging out with wayward women that they come with a lot of baggage , including never-ending demands for money .

  3. The Donald should know when hanging out with the wrong type of wayward women , that they come with a lot of baggage , including demands for money , and never-ending trouble .

    Moral : not too bright .

  4. Inquiring minds want to know, like passenger luggage linked together, if you are a conjoined twin, will you need to purchase one airline ticket or two? Does it matter if one twin sits on the lap of the other twin (using a seat belt extender)? On American Airlines, while seated in first-class, will you be offered one predeparture beverage or two? If one of you are an American Airlines Concierge Key elite, can you both board at the same time?

  5. OMG!!!!!!!! Can people just STOP bring Trump and/or Biden into EVERY. SINGLE. CONVERSATION!!!!!

  6. The answer is NO! You are entitled to one carry on and one personal item and the carry on must fit freely and smoothly in the sizer, you cannot shove it in. If it’s too big, it gets checked. If you have more than those two items, you are also subject to additional checked bag fees due to having too many items. Technically, if your carry on does not fit in the sizer, you are also subject to a fee but most airlines forego that charge in order to get the flight out on time. Rules are rules and people need to learn the rules and nobody is exempt from the rules, regardless of of class of service or status. If the FAA is monitoring the gate, the airline is subject to a 74k fine and the agent is also fined personally. So, if you want me to break the rules for you, be prepared to Zelle me 100k on the spot to cover the fines imposed by the Feds! For those curious about exempt items, go to the carriers website and research the carry on bag policy prior to your flight.

  7. Carry a lightweight nylon duffel bag that can fit everything if needed. This reminds me of the Henry David Thoreau quote: “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify!”

  8. I answer to the question posed by this post I can only quote Mark Twain (or was it Voltaire?) who once observed that common sense wasn’t very common.

  9. I just bought one of those travel vests with all the pockets. Because on my last flight, I had my phone and wallet in one of those cross-body bags designed to lay flat against your chest and wasn’t planning on removing it. But the boarding gate agents refused to let me down the jetway until I took it off and put it in my under-seat carry-on. (It fit with plenty of room to spare – neither were particularly full.) This defeated the purpose of wanting to keep my phone and wallet on my person – as a woman, we generally keep those things in our purses, not our pockets – and just gummed up the boarding process.

    Flying has become so random. Waiting for JSX to come to my town – there’s a small airport a 5 minute drive from where we are that they’d probably use…

  10. If, as Bag Lady says, there is a strict limit of one carry on and one checked bag with no exceptions allowed per the FAA, can someone please explain why I see airline employees with 3 and sometimes 4 or even more bags?

    I understand that they are working, and need to keep stuff on hand for the duration of their duty period, and getting those bags to the next flight they need to be on can be a struggle, however, since they are normally the last people off the plane, why not simply have them delivered to the jet bridge?

    Or, despite the “strict FAA limits” that Bag Lady references, maybe, just maybe, all animals are equal, some are just more equal than others.

  11. You can put two bags together to make one. I just moved to Portugal and we bought a bunch of the storage bags on Amazon. Filled them most of the way full then plastic wrapped them together by twos. It came out slightly larger than what the measurement should of been but we were under in the weight. When we got to the gate all they did was wiegh them. So we ended up bringing 2 carry ons and 18 bags in actuality. We flew in business and we were allowed two each so there were three of us and we anly had to pay for 3 bags over.

  12. As an airline EE I can tell you that Flight crews in route to duty are exempt as you wouldn’t want your flight canceled or delayed because their luggage was misplaced. FAA rules are rules and you wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve been cussed out and threatened by all types of passengers who claim exemption from the size and quanitty rules. The FAA sends unidentfied auditors on flights to monitor airport and flight crews and yes we can be fined over 20k individually for not following the regs.

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