Help needed with carry on baggage allowances

Aug 8th, 2012, 08:38 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 219
Help needed with carry on baggage allowances

I need new carry on luggage and am trying to decide on the size. I will be traveling next spring on Air France (economy) from Los Angeles (LAX) to Barcelona (BCN), with a change of planes in Paris (CDG). The Air France website says I can carry on one 21-inch bag and an "accessory" on international flights. My questions:

1. How big is an "accessory?" I'm looking at a tote that's about 20"x5"x14" - is it too big?

2. I understand that on intra-Europe flights (e.g. Easy Jet or Vueling) I can only carry on 1 bag and no accessory. Does Air France have the same rule? That is, do I have to check one bag on the connecting flight from CDG to BCN? I can't find the answer on Air France's site.

3. If I do have to check one bag at CDG, am I better off just checking my luggage all the way through from LAX since I only have 1 hour, 20 minutes to make the connecting flight?
Vonse is online now  
Aug 9th, 2012, 03:17 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,858
1. probably ok
2. AF allows 2 bags - one carryon and one accessory
3. You will not make your connection. You can't check bags through from LAX to BCN if you are changing to EasyJet or Vueling CDG to BCN. You will need to wait for baggage claim, then get to the checkin before the cutoff time which is something like 45min or hr. That doesn't mean get to the back of the checkin line, it means be fully checked in by that time.

You will not make it, and airlines like EasyJet can be ruthless. Be prepared to buy a new ticket to BCN at last minute walk up prices, assuming there are even seats available.
J62 is online now  
Aug 9th, 2012, 04:35 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,506
I'll disagree with J62 - the 20"x5"x14" will probably NOT be allowed as your "accessory" or "personal" item as it's only a few inches smaller than a normal carry-on. Regardless of what people on this forum tell you the people who have the final say will be the gate agent and /or flight attendant for your flight. From my experience Air France tends to be somewhat strict and you could be asked to "gate check" one of your bags if the Agent decides it's too big. The point being if the Gate Agent or FA makes you check the bag telling them that contributors on the Fodors travel forum told you it would be OK won't matter one bit - you'll still have to check the second bag. I'd go with something a bit smaller. Air France describes the personal item as a "purse, computer, brief case, or SMALL tote.
RoamsAround is offline  
Aug 9th, 2012, 07:22 AM
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Posts: 219
Thanks J62 and RoamsAround for your replies.

Re #1, the luggage salesman told me as long as it can fit under the seat I'd be ok; I just wasn't sure of this in view of the "accessory" description.

Re 2 and 3, I purchased the flights from LAX to BCN on a single ticket through Air France. It involves a change of planes at CDG. Both legs of the flight are on AF so I assumed I would only have to check it once at LAX. As I understand from your responses even if I can take both bags in the cabin at LAX, the gatekeepers at CDG may still tell me my tote is too big to be a personal item and require that I check a bag.
Vonse is online now  
Aug 9th, 2012, 08:01 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4,238
Before you actually buy a new bag, look on to get an idea of realistic pricing.

I just purchased a new Samsonite lightweight hardsider. I found a price at ebags, then checked the internet, and found a website that had the same bag for $50 less.

Delivery takes less than a week.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Aug 9th, 2012, 08:32 AM
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20" x 5" x 14" won't fit completely under the seat in front of you.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 9th, 2012, 08:53 AM
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rkkwan: I was afraid of that! Do you think 7.3"x17"x13" will fit under the seat and also come within accessory guidelines?
Vonse is online now  
Aug 9th, 2012, 11:38 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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This is what Air France says is acceptable.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Aug 9th, 2012, 11:56 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 219
Thanks Rasta for both replies. I have and will continue to check the internet for prices. We have a store in my area that is pretty good at meeting and even beating those prices, plus if I take it home and find I just can't manage with such a small bag it's easy to return. I'm prone to over-packing and I can't imagine going with anything smaller than a 21" carry on. I'll go with that and the 17" tote, and hope it gets me all the way to BCN. If worse comes to worse I'll check the 21" at the gate at CDG.
Vonse is online now  
Aug 9th, 2012, 02:16 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,501
That is a very large 'personal item' on any airline, plus how could a 21" plus a 17" not exceed 12 kilo?

Take a normal sized personal item, and you won't have a problem.
janisj is online now  
Aug 9th, 2012, 05:13 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
For women, bring the largest 'handbag' you can find. Something that looks like a handbag. For everybody, a large camera bag, large laptop bag or a mid-sized backpack also okay. Anything larger, you risk having to check your other larger piece.
rkkwan is offline  

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