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Carry On vs Checked Baggage

Post by : Admin on Nov 11,2021

Corporate travelers rarely check their bags. However, sometimes it becomes a necessity even for a seasoned traveler who wants to avoid checking a bag at all costs. We’ll explain some pros and cons between checking bags and storing bags in an overhead bin.

Definition – Checked vs. Carry-On Baggage

Checked Baggage: Checked baggage is suitcases, containers, snow skis, child seats etc. that are delivered to airline or train personnel for transportation in the cargo hold of an aircraft or train. Checked baggage is not accessible to passengers for the duration of their journey.

Carry-On Baggage: Carry-On baggage is a piece of luggage, a briefcase, backpack or purse that can be brought onboard a plane or train and stowed in an overhead storage compartment or under the seat in front of you. The size is limited by airlines based on the size of the plane.

Pros & Cons of Checking a Bag

The Pros: Travel lighter, faster and easier through airport security and within the airport or train station. You won’t have to worry about what to do with your luggage in the restroom or while you dine.

You won’t have to use your strength to lift your baggage into an overhead compartment.

Many planes have a shortage of overhead space when compared to passenger capacity. This can result on your carry-on being store behind your seat simply because the overhead compartment was already full when you boarded. It’s a nightmare retrieving it when you arrive. You’re walking to the back while everyone else is walking to the front.

Obviously, you can pack much in a full-size suitcase. If your bag is under 50 pounds, it flies free on Southwest Airlines. If you paid for luggage, you will be charged extra if it’s over 50 pounds. You can still take much more than a carry-on bag would allow.

Pro-tip: Shoes take up a lot of space. If you travel with many pairs, a checked bag is best for you. Make sure shoes are filled with socks to save space.

The Cons:

Unless you are traveling on Southwest Airlines, have a First-Class ticket or have

significant status with the airline, you can expect to pay for checking a bag.

Checked bags get lost! This can cause you to be without clothes and personal effects for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. You should know that only 3% of all checked bags end up in “lost” status. But, if you land in that 3%, it will not be a fun experience.

Pro-tip: Use your American Express credit card with their baggage protection program and go buy all new stuff immediately using your Amex card. The charges for replacement items will be removed from your bill!

You will spend additional time standing in line to check your bag when you begin your journey and even more time waiting for your bag to arrive on the conveyor           belt.

Pros & Cons of a Carry-On

The Pros: You can move much faster. No stopping at a kiosk to print a luggage tag. No waiting in line to hand your bag to an airline agent to check it. No waiting for it to arrive on the conveyor belt. This alone could save you 30 minutes or more. No chance of it getting lost. Lighter load overall due to space limitations of your carry-on.

The Cons: Fighting for overhead space. People can be rude and load their luggage in sideways, taking up too much space.

If your bag is too heavy for you to handle, you could need assistance getting it in and out of the overhead bin. If you have back issues, you are short or just not very strong, this can be a problem.

You can’t bring as many clothes, shoes and toiletries as you might like to have. You may have to decide what you must leave behind. You also can’t acquire too much on your trip that won’t fit in your bag for the trip home.


If you are traveling to a tradeshow and have a pop-up booth with you and must check it, you might as well check your luggage as well. Anytime you have items like skis, surfboards or golf clubs that must be checked you should just check everything except your backpack or briefcase. You must stand in the baggage lines anyway so enjoy the freedom – for a fee.