I'm about to travel from ORD to DXB using emirates economy class. According to the website I am only allowed one carry-on bag weighing 15 lbs.

My first question is, do they actually weigh carry-on bags? I know on domestic flights I can take one carry-on and one personal bag which ends up being my laptop bag. Edit: From everyone's replies and doing a google search, yes they do weigh the carry-on.

However, with them explicitly stipulating I can only have one bag I'm not sure what to do. My carry-on itself weighs 10lbs! If i just add my laptop and camera im already over the limit.

Should I just try to fit as much as I can in backpack? Ideally I would want a carry-on for a jacket and camera and other things and then backpack for easy access to laptop/phone, etc.

On a side note: For checked baggage, is being over by 0.4kg going to cost me?

Edit: My main concern is, can I have a laptop backpack with just the laptop and a carry-on bag within weight limits with me?

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  • The rules are there to be followed. If you can't meet the requirement be prepared to pay any extra costs imposed. But if your carry on weighs ten lbs, maybe it is time to get a new lighter carry on, as airlines will get stricter and stricter about these things.
    – user13044
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 9:17
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    @Tom I'm not trying to break the rules, rather I'm trying to clarify exactly what the rules are and how they are implemented.
    – MAC
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 1:04
  • Ergh, you've changed the question which sorta invalidates my answer. I'll update it though, as I think I know what you're after.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 1:50

1 Answer 1


It quite often depends on the airline. From tomorrow, for example, Jetstar is going to be strictly limiting carry-on to 7kg (~15.5lbs). AirNZ sometimes does, sometimes doesn't. Emirates may well only weigh if your bag looks heavy, big, or if they have time.

Basically, yes, you'll need to put more in your checked luggage. Your carry-on is supposed to be just what you need for the flight. Do you really need your phone, camera etc. on the flight? 15lb of stuff?

(I'm not judging you, mine has been over 25lb in the past, and a friend and I once split an entire stereo system between our carry-on bags. I'm merely trying to encourage you to decide if you really need it, and explain why the airlines feel you don't need more than 15lb of stuff for a flight. Light jacket, medications, book or laptop/tablet is usually enough for most people.)

Some people, especially with airlines often charging for checked luggage, now try to take everything in their carry-on, so it's increasingly likely that the airline will weigh your bag.

A quick google search indicates others have had their carry-on weighed, so there's no reason to expect yours not to be.

EDIT: after you changed the question to be specifically about taking a laptop bag and a backpack, it depends on which class you're in for the flight.

As per the Emirates website FAQ:

Economy Class passengers are permitted one (1) piece of carry-on baggage, either a handbag or laptop bag, subject to the following size and weight limitation (7kg)

So no, you can't take two bags including your laptop bag, unless you're in business or first, where it's:

First Class and Business Class passengers are permitted two (2) pieces of carry-on baggage: one (1) briefcase plus either one (1) handbag or one (1) garment bag, all subject to the following size and weight limitations

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    The problem is with most framed carry-on bags though, they take upwards of 7lbs. That leaves very little for laptop/books/other things you might need during the flight.
    – MAC
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 5:04
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    Going slightly off-topic, but: checking your phone, camera or laptop is not advisable, since checked bags get lost, broken and broken into. Always carry valuables on board, even you're not going to use them in flight. Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 5:30
  • @MAC indeed, but that's the tradeoff. I have a travel laptop (2.5lbs) which makes it easier, but certainly if I was travelling with my 6lb laptop it'd be tricky. jpatokal, yeah, agreed, that's why I've refined my carry-on, my next Jetstar flight is still going to be tight tho. When a disagreement has happened I point out it's valuables and heart medicine, and I've always been let through (only happened twice though).
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 5:32

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