I am allowed to bring 1 carry-on luggage up to 7 kg and 1 personal item up to 5 kg. My carry-on luggage (backpack) will weight around 8 kg, which seems to violate the limit. Can I take 1 plastic bag (within size limits of personal item) and take some stuff from backpack to the plastic bag, so that now my 8 kg will be distributed as 6 kg carry-on and 2 kg personal item?

If content matters, assume that the plastic bag contains a laptop.

  • 1
    Does the airline define "personal item" on its website? If it doesn't, and the bag can be carried by you and is within the "personal item" weight limit, then it should be OK. Anecdotally, in a lot of flying for many years, I've never seen a "personal item" challenged. Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 21:28
  • 2
    I suggest you carry a slightly better class of bag, like a foldable nylon emergency backpack. You can close those around the laptop and its wires. And remember that you may have to gate-check your backpack on full flights, The thin nylon bag will allow you to take out more items at need.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 1:58
  • @DavidSupportsMonica Indeed, I once boarded with a plastic bag in addition to a full-sized carry-on and a small backpack that was close to the limit for a personal item. One of the flight attendants seemed to give me a second look but didn't say anything. The likelihood of any given outcome will depend on the size of the plastic bag, of course. This one was pretty small.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 13:04

1 Answer 1


Can I use plastic bag as a personal item

Yes (unless the airline specifically forbids it). Plastic bags are pretty normal on flights: for example a lot of duty free stuff gets carried that way.

Weighing practices vary from airline to airline. I do fly a lot but my carry on was only put on an actual scale a few times, and then mostly by LH group (Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss). A normal looking backpack is unlikely to draw attention.

If you actually need to weigh it AND they deem it to heavy, it's ok to pull out an item and carry it as "personal item", wear it, or just shove in your pocket.

Some of that dance is just silly: One of the few times I got weighed was in Hong Kong (hot!) flying to Boston (cold!). I had my jacket in my bag and the check in agent gave me a stern lecture about being about 1kg over. So I offered to pull out my coat and just put it on. She shut up and let it go.

Here is the ultimate workaround :-) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hviF2sr4aq0

  • I had a similar experience with Norwegian Air Shuttle. My outbound flight had been freezing, and they hadn't weighed the carry-ons, so I packed several layers in mine with the intention of putting them on after boarding. At check-in for the return flight, however, they were weighing carry-ons. Mine was a couple of kg overweight. So I took out my layers and put them on. It was still a bit overweight, maybe 500 grams, and the agent wanted me to pay. I started to open the bag with the intention of taking out a few items and putting them in my pockets, but she stopped me and waved me through.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 13:10

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