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Considering my ticket has a check-in luggage allowance (like 20kg), Can I carry heavier carry-on luggage if I don't have check-in luggage? Like can I carry 12kg instead of the 7kg standard? I know it may vary by airline or country but wondering is the general opinion about it is.

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  • The instance where I can think of this potentially being relevant is on flights operated with very small turboprop or piston aircraft, sometimes single-engine, of the sort you might encounter on a charter flight out to remote areas. Think seaplanes in Alaska, flights to private airstrips at game reserves in South Africa, etc... It's not uncommon for these flights to provide each passenger with a limited amount of weight they can carry in total, no matter how it's distributed among bags. But these aircraft also have little to no space for carry-on luggage beyond small personal items anyway. Dec 21, 2022 at 19:14

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Not a chance. Carry on and checkin are different allocations and they are not interchangeable.

Usually for carryons, size is an issue for airlines. If everyone brings a lot of carryons, then overhead bins gets full and airlines will force us to gatecheck luggage. So, amount of carryons has to be limited.

Many airlines won't weigh carryons normally. But, if they see a particularly oversized or seemingly overweight bags, they will ask to weigh and checkin those.

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  • Lifting 12kg into an overhead locker isn’t easy, even if the OP managed to get an overweight carryon past check-in the cabin crew might notice
    – Traveller
    Dec 21, 2022 at 8:52
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    @Traveller some airlines do allow 12kg, e.g. KLM travel.stackexchange.com/q/178280/1810 Dec 21, 2022 at 10:23
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    (+1) There is another constraint: Aircraft manufacturers put a cap on the total weight in overhead bins (not each individual bin but the whole row). That said, for a time Easyjet's policy was “as much as you want as long as you can lift it yourself”.
    – Relaxed
    Dec 21, 2022 at 10:35
  • @FranckDernoncourt Indeed, but not as a ‘swap’ for checked baggage allowance
    – Traveller
    Dec 21, 2022 at 10:37
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    Carry-on baggage can fit under the seat (if you brings books and some heavy item, it can be compact enough).
    – EarlGrey
    Dec 21, 2022 at 10:54
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The only consistent thing about carry-on baggage rules is that they are generally very inconsistent. They vary not just between airlines and cabins as you'd expect, but also from flight to flight and passenger to passenger depending on the circumstances.

Some airlines do not enforce weight restrictions at all. Some enforce them routinely - sometimes with that check being done at check-in, other times being done at the gate.

I'm not aware of any airline that lets you "trade" your checked baggage allowance for extra carry-on, however it's certainly possible that by not checking a bag you can avoid going to the check-in counter, which might avoid the need to have your bag weighed and might allow you to carry a heavier bag onto the flight. How successful this is likely to be will vary depending on any number of variables, so I don't know that I'd be relying on it!

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