So You Have a Carry-On Sized Bag: Check or Carry On?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Let’s say you’re flying with luggage that will fit in the overhead bin. There’s always the option to check it instead of carrying it on, but there are concerns with doing either.
Travelers tend to have a tried and true philosophy on which they prefer, and it’s normally based on their experience: having luggage damaged or stolen when it’s checked, the ease at which they can travel when they have a small suitcase to drag, etc.
We decided to turn to the trusted TPG Lounge of almost 37,000 members to ask what they would do in this scenario. Here’s what they said:
Some TPG Lounge members are adamant about carrying on their luggage as long as it’ll fit in the overhead. It tends to be quicker than waiting for it at baggage claim, and it can ease travelers’ minds that their luggage won’t get lost, stolen or damaged. Plus, it ensures that your luggage will stick with you through it all — including connections. The downside is that you’ll have to keep it with you at all times and find space for it in the overhead.
“Never ever check. Status makes this easier as I’m first to board.” – Gloria L.
“I never check a bag. One, it can cause problems if I happen to catch an earlier first or if I’m delayed and change routes. Also I prefer to slide my laptop bag on it and wheel it through the airport than carry the laptop bag. Plus no waiting at baggage claim.” – Jay M.
“I travel often but the only time I check a bag is when I go home to visit my family bc I usually bring my dog with me and he already counts towards my “bag” to bring in. Plus it allows me to bring bottles of wine or tequila from Mexico. Other than that, carry on all the time!” – Marisol B.
Travel can often be stressful, so it can be a luxury to say goodbye to your carry-on sized bag before going through security. The reason why people typically don’t choose this option is to avoid checked luggage fees, luggage damage or stolen items.
“We usually check our luggage. Rarely carry on. I don’t like wrestling with my suitcase(s) while navigating trams and lounges. I have a nice bag I carry that has room for a change of clothes and my basic toiletries and meds so it’s never been an issue.” – Kristi C.
“Always check. Ain’t nobody got time to fight for overhead space.” – Kevin W.
“I fly a lot of international so there is a lot of scrutiny of carry on bags. Because of how long it takes to usually clear immigration and customs my bags are usually there waiting right after that, so it doesn’t impact time at all and save a lot of hassle.” – Ivan B.
“I don’t typically travel with more than my carry on, even when going internationally for several weeks, and I always check it. Nothing drives me more bonkers than the ridiculous amount of time it takes to board and deplane due to carry on luggage, so I make sure I’m not part of that problem.” – Michael S.
Even though having one of those things happen to your belongings is never fun, there are ways to combat them.
There are several cards that will waive your baggage fees with airlines. And many cards will cover lost luggage or even incidental costs for baggage delays. Plus, most independent travel insurance covers theft, so long as there is a police report.
These travelers are open to checking or carrying on their bags. It all depends on the flight leg, whether the flight is short or long, who they’re traveling with, or whether they’re in a rush or not.
“When I travel to Europe, I carry on on the way over and check my bag on the way back. I put a backpack in my roller carryon and use it as a carry on on the way back. Wine must be checked, after all!” – Traci S.
“Without kids: carry on. With kids: check. (Too much of a pain dragging luggage and kids.)” – Eu T.
“I do both? Lol. I bring a carry on size and bring it with me going to my destination. But on the way back, the bag is always heavier due to all the stuff i buy, so i check it in and only keep my absolutes on my person (e.g. anything i would be really salty to lose).” – Lisa L.
“I keep it with me if I’m heading out — but often check it when I’m coming home. I travel for work a lot, so I’m usually in a hurry when I get to a destination, not so much when I’m home. (My carry-on is designed to fit under the seat, which helps a lot.)” – Kelly H.
“I usually carry on, however if they’re checking bags at the gate for free due to limited overhead space I always do so. Luckily haven’t ever had a problem, as i don’t mind waiting at the carousel afterwards and oftentimes already have a checked bag anyways to wait for.” – Sherilyn G.
“I prefer hands free for getting food at the airport and not having to cram the suitcase in the bathroom stall with me but since I’ve been taking shorter trips lately where a carry on is all I need, I have not been checking it.” – Beck B.
Featured image by DuKai photographer / Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees