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In a trip I bought some items that cannot fit into my suitcase. My ticket allows for 1 more luggage.

Can I just buy a plastic garbage bag, fill it with clothes and check it in as luggage?

It is easier, faster and cheaper than buying a new suitcase.

I want to understand if there is any legal, safety or other restriction that prohibits using simple bags as luggage. Edit: More specifically I am thinking of checking-in multiple plastic bags, one inside the other, that are a very durable, yet not solid, "package" of clothes. Nothing fragile. The durability and "resistance to mechanical stress" of this package would be comparable with most bags. However I do understand that it would look like a "cheap" thing. (Because it is.) My intention is to avoid buying a suitcase to carry my laundry back home.

The plastic bags I have are the ones used to throw rubbish. It might sound silly bit they are durable and cost effective.

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    Given the amount of damage that occurs to suitcases, I wouldn't trust my things to a plastic rubbish bag. – Arthur's Pass Jan 4 at 2:13
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    I checked a flimsy cardboard box once (with a suitcase inside; the zipper broke just before departure and my hotel quickly scrounged up one of the boxes their toilet paper comes in for me) and the airline checked it after I signed a damage waiver. It made the trip, but came out with good sized holes from where the wheels of other bags bashed into it. A garbage bag is very likely to be damaged if you get them to accept it. – Zach Lipton Jan 4 at 5:16
  • I've had domestic US airlines bag things like a car seat. The clear plastic bag is heavy duty, much more so than a trash/garbage bag. – mkennedy Jan 4 at 17:08
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It will depend on exactly what you mean by a 'plastic bag', the airline involved, and potentially the specific check-in agent, but the general answer is NO, they will NOT accept it.

Airlines will generally not accept "luggage" that they do not consider to be suitable to survive the trip without damage - and a plastic bag would normally fit within that criteria. At a minimum they would make you sign a waiver releasing them of liability if the bag or it's contents were lost or damaged, but in general they would more likely simply say no.

As an alternative, airlines will generally accept boxes (presuming they are made from suitably strong cardboard and are properly sealed), or nylon canvas bags (sometimes known as "Red-White-Blue" bags) such as these which can often be purchased very cheaply.

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  • Thank you for your answer. I edited my answer to clarify what I mean by plastic bag. Initially I tried to keep it short and avoid details. – Spyros K Jan 11 at 12:42
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Most airlines will not accept it, because of the high chances of it getting damaged - at your destiantion, you would probably find an empty ripped bag (if anything), and your stuff will be gone.
As you can file a claim for the lost content with the airline, and they would have to pay for it, they deny instable packaging right from the beginning.

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