Does A Purse Count As A Carry-On Bag?

With stricter airline carry-on allowances and the rising costs of checked baggage, many travelers want to maximize their carry-on luggage. A common question is whether or not a purse counts as a carry-on bag or if it is considered a personal item.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Most airlines allow one carry-on bag plus a small personal item like a purse, backpack, or laptop bag. So yes, you can bring a purse in addition to your carry-on luggage.

In this article, we’ll explain carry-on allowances in detail, when a purse does or does not count as a carry-on, purse size restrictions, and tips for optimizing your carry-on and personal items.

Carry-On Allowance Policies

Standard carry-on size restrictions

When it comes to carry-on bags, size matters. Most airlines have specific guidelines for the dimensions of carry-on bags to ensure they can be stored safely in the overhead compartments. While the exact measurements may vary from one airline to another, the standard carry-on size limit is usually around 22 inches long, 14 inches wide, and 9 inches tall.

It’s important to note that these measurements typically include the wheels and handles of the bag.

If you’re uncertain about the size of your carry-on bag, it’s always a good idea to check with the airline before your trip. Many airlines have templates at their check-in counters or gates to help passengers determine if their bags meet the requirements.

Personal items vs. carry-on bags

Aside from your main carry-on bag, most airlines also allow passengers to bring a personal item on board. Personal items typically include purses, briefcases, laptop bags, small backpacks, or camera bags.

These items should fit under the seat in front of you and should not exceed the dimensions specified by the airline.

So, to answer the question, no, a purse does not count as a carry-on bag. It falls under the category of a personal item. However, it’s important to note that some airlines have restrictions on the number of items you can bring on board.

For example, you may be allowed one carry-on bag and one personal item, but not two carry-on bags.

Airline-specific carry-on policies

While there are general guidelines for carry-on bags, each airline may have its own specific policies and restrictions. Some airlines may allow slightly larger carry-on bags, while others may have more stringent size limits.

It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the carry-on policies of the airline you’re flying with to avoid any surprises or extra fees at the airport.

You can usually find the carry-on policies on the airline’s website or by contacting their customer service. Additionally, many airlines have mobile apps that provide information about carry-on restrictions and other important travel details.

For more information on specific airline carry-on policies, you can visit their official websites. Here are a few examples:

When Does a Purse Count as a Carry-On?

Many travelers find themselves wondering if their purse counts as a carry-on bag when flying. The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including purse size, style, and airline regulations.

Purse size restrictions

Most airlines have specific size restrictions for carry-on items, and purses are no exception. Generally, a purse is considered a personal item if it can fit under the seat in front of you. However, if your purse is too large to fit in the designated space, it may be considered a carry-on.

It’s important to check with your airline before your trip to ensure you are aware of their specific size restrictions for personal items and carry-ons. This will help you avoid any surprises at the airport and ensure a smooth travel experience.

Backpack purses vs. traditional purses

Backpack purses have gained popularity in recent years due to their convenience and versatility. These purses often have multiple compartments and can hold more items than traditional purses. When it comes to determining whether a backpack purse counts as a personal item or carry-on, it’s essential to consider its size and the amount of space it takes up.

While some airlines may allow larger backpack purses as personal items, others may classify them as carry-ons. It’s always a good idea to double-check with your airline to ensure you are following their guidelines.

Factors that determine if a purse is a personal item or carry-on

Aside from size, there are other factors that can determine whether a purse is considered a personal item or carry-on. These factors include the airline’s specific regulations, the number of other items you are carrying, and the available space in the overhead compartments.

For example, if you are already carrying a large carry-on suitcase, the airline may consider your purse as an additional carry-on item. On the other hand, if your purse is small and can easily fit under the seat in front of you, it will likely be classified as a personal item.

It’s worth noting that different airlines may have different policies regarding purses and carry-ons. Some airlines may be more lenient, while others may have stricter rules. To avoid any confusion or potential fees, it’s always best to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations of the airline you are flying with.

For more information and to stay up to date with the latest airline policies, you can visit www.airline.com or check the official website of the airline you are traveling with.

Tips for Maximizing Your Carry-On and Personal Items

Choosing the optimal purse size

When it comes to deciding if a purse counts as a carry-on bag, the answer is not always black and white. However, there are a few guidelines you can follow to ensure you make the most of your personal item allowance. Firstly, consider the size of your purse.

Opt for a compact design that can easily fit under the seat in front of you or on top of your carry-on luggage. This way, you can have your essentials close at hand during the flight without sacrificing valuable overhead bin space.

It’s important to note that each airline may have different size restrictions for personal items, so be sure to check with your specific carrier before your trip. Additionally, keep in mind that some airlines may consider larger purses as a separate carry-on bag, so choosing a smaller purse can help you avoid any confusion or extra fees.

Picking lightweight carry-on luggage

Maximizing your carry-on space starts with selecting the right luggage. Opt for lightweight options that won’t eat up your weight allowance or strain your back as you navigate through the airport. Look for materials like durable nylon or polycarbonate that strike a balance between durability and weight.

Consider investing in carry-on luggage with multiple compartments and expandable features. This will allow you to pack efficiently and separate items for easy access during your journey. Remember, every inch of space counts, so make sure to utilize the pockets, dividers, and straps in your luggage to maximize organization.

Using packing cubes and organizers

Packing cubes and organizers are a game-changer when it comes to maximizing your carry-on space. These handy accessories help you compress your clothes, making them more compact and freeing up valuable real estate in your luggage.

Plus, they help keep your items organized and prevent them from shifting during travel.

Consider using packing cubes of different sizes to divide your clothing into categories, such as tops, bottoms, and undergarments. This will make it easier to locate specific items without having to unpack your entire bag.

Additionally, use organizers for your toiletries, electronics, and other small items to keep them secure and easily accessible.

Following TSA liquids rules

One of the most common challenges when packing a carry-on is navigating the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) liquids rules. To ensure a smooth security screening process, it’s important to familiarize yourself with these guidelines.

The TSA requires that liquids in carry-on bags be in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less and placed in a clear, quart-sized bag. Make sure to pack your liquids in a way that complies with these rules to avoid having to discard any items at the security checkpoint.

Remember, the TSA liquids rules apply to both your carry-on bag and your personal item, so be mindful of the sizes of any liquids you plan to bring in your purse. Opt for travel-sized toiletries or consider transferring your essentials into smaller, travel-friendly containers.

By following these tips, you can make the most of your carry-on and personal item allowance, ensuring a smooth and efficient travel experience.


While each airline has specific rules regarding carry-on bags, most allow one standard carry-on plus a small personal item like a purse. Pay attention to purse size restrictions to ensure your bag qualifies as a personal item rather than a carry-on.

With careful planning and packing, you can maximize your carry-on and personal items allowance for a stress-free airport experience.

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