Difference Between Carry On and Checked Bag

While travelling through the plane, one of the most important things to keep in mind is the luggage, its size and weight. There are two luggage options one get on the aeroplane, carry on bag and checked baggage.

Both have different functions and limitations. One can choose the perfect one based on their luggage needs.

Carry On Bag vs Checked Bag

The main difference between a carry on and a checked bag is that a carry on bag is always smaller than a checked bag. Carry on bag stays with the traveller on the plane but checked bags are not allowed inside the plane. It travels in the cargo of the plane. Important documents for travel and money should be in the carry on bag.

Carry On Bag vs Checked Bag

A passenger carries some amount of luggage with them on a flight. This luggage is called carry on luggage. This type of luggage consists of important, required documents, gadgets, money and other valuable stuff.

Anything that a passenger wants to access during the flight can be taken in this carry on luggage, but this luggage has weight limitations.

A checked bag or luggage is the main luggage of a passenger that travels separately in the cargo of the plane. Passengers are not able to get access to this luggage while they are on the flight.

After the flight, the passengers get their luggage back in the process of luggage claim.

Comparison Table Between Carry On and Checked Bag

Parameters of ComparisonCarry On BagChecked Bag
Definition A carry on bag is the luggage that travellers are permitted to take inside an airplane with them.A checked bag is not allowed with the passenger, it is transported in the cargo area of the plane.
Things carriedImportant things should be carried in carry on luggage, travel documents such as passport, money, valuable jewellery, medications and electronics.A checked bag should carry everything that is needed once you reach the destination.
SizeCarry on luggage should be smaller.Comparatively checked bags are supposed to be bigger.
ClothesClothes should not be carried in a carry bag.Clothes should be carried in the checked bag.
PlaceCarry on bag stays with you in the cabin of the airplane.The cargo hold of a plane is the place for checked bags.

What is Carry On Bag?

Just like the name suggests, it is the kind of bag that is allowed to be carried on the flight along with the travelers. This does not need any cargo section for this, and a passenger can access this during the flight.

These carry on bags are considered to be small. This must carry all the valuable elements that one might need while undertaking a journey, such as a passport and other important documents, gadgets and obviously, money.

This carry on luggage is kept in overhead or under seating lockers. Checked bags are often lost and damaged, but this is not the case with carry on bags.

It also saves time as the process of baggage claim is eliminated completely from the journey. But it is not an option if the passenger has a lot of heavy luggage.

What is Checked Bag?

The checked bag is the luggage that is carried by the passenger to a flight, and it is transported in the cargo of the plane. This type of baggage is limited by different airlines depending on the size, weight, and the number of luggage carried by the travellers.

The limitations of the baggage also count on the class of tickets and also on the fare paid by the passengers. The baggage that exceeds the limits is called excess baggage. The policies also vary according to the airlines.

During the flight, the passenger can not access his or her checked bag as they are not at the same place. The passengers get their checked luggage after they land.

In the process of baggage claim, one gets one’s luggage back. This process is very time-consuming.

Main Differences Between Carry On and Checked Bag

  1. A carry on bag is the luggage that travellers can carry with them inside an airplane, whereas a checked bag is not allowed with the passengers inside the aeroplane, it is supposed to travel in the cargo panel of the plane.
  2. A carry on luggage is expected to be smaller than a checked bag. A checked bag can be big, carrying all the needed items of the passenger.
  3. Clothes are not meant to be carried in a carry bag. Clothes are supposed to be carried in the checked bag.
  4. On the one hand, a carry on bag travels with the traveller in the cabin of the airplane, but on the other hand, checked bags are meant to be on the cargo hold of a plane.
  5. If you checked the luggage, then you have to spend time in the baggage claim, but one can save the hassle with a carry on bag.
  6. Carry on the bag is accessible to the passenger throughout the flight as they travel with it, but the checked bag is not accessible to the passenger during the flight.
Difference Between Carry On and Checked Bag


Most people choose to carry on luggage while travelling on a plane as it is much more convenient than checking bags.

A carry on bag stays with the passenger throughout the journey, so the passenger does not have to bear the painful, time-consuming process called baggage claim.

The essential items and gadgets for travelling are kept in this carry on luggage. But a carry on bag is not an option always. One needs to check in the bag if it is heavy in weight. A checked bag is often advised to be avoided unless it is inevitable.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4117650
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jems.12106
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