Rules for luggage continue to change for both domestic and international flights depending on current safety concerns. Baggage requirements for international airline travel are usually stricter than those for domestic flights, with countries and airlines often enforcing rules of their own.
International flights always allow carry-on luggage, but each airline has its own restrictions as to quantity, size and weight. Some carry-on policies restrict bag weights to 11 lbs. or less, while domestic flights rarely have a weight limit. Size also often depends on the carrier and the room available on the plane. Airlines can change their policy per trip and at the last moment. To be safe, purchase a smaller bag for international flights than the one you use for domestic flights.
Most airlines allow two checked bags weighing between 50 and 70 pounds – depending on the airline – when flying to or from the United States. In other countries, airlines use a weight system that might add the weight of your carry-on to your checked baggage. The weight system is very restrictive compared, sometimes allowing luggage no heavier than 22 lbs. Always check your International plane tickets to see which method is in effect.
Most sharp objects that could have a dual use as a weapon are not allowed in carry-on luggage, except for metal scissors with blades no longer than 4 inches and personal safety razors. Sporting equipment such as bats, golf clubs and ski poles must be in checked luggage only. Common lighters without fuel (non-refillable) are allowed in carry-ons, but not in checked baggage. Any item containing gel, such as gel shoe inserts, are prohibited. Containers with 3.4 oz. or less of non-flammable liquid, gel, or aerosol paint are permitted. Tools like screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers are allowed in carry-on luggage if they are less than 7 inches long.
Luggage Size and Individual Airlines
Some international airlines have different size, pound and piece restrictions based on fare class and travel zones. Overall, the average weight and size for checked bags is 50 pounds and 62 inches. Average maximum size for carry-on luggage is 45 inches. Luggage is always measured by adding length, width and height, including handles and wheels.
Check with your airline for its most current restrictions and policies and TSA guidelines for banned or prohibited items. Also, check with your airline for any additional restrictions for individual nations.
Do not lock your baggage unless you have purchased the locks from airports or travel stores that use the "universal master key," so that TSA security personnel can open your bags.
If unsure if an item is acceptable in a carry-on, put it in your checked luggage to avoid possibly having to throw the thing away at security checkpoints.