Air Canada is the largest Canadian airline, with its headquarters located in the borough of Saint-Laurent, Montreal, Quebec. If you’ve never flown Air Canada, and are about to for the first time, you might wonder how strict the airline is about carry-on and personal item size.  

How Strict Is Air Canada With Carry-On & Personal Item Size?

Let me fill you in on some of Air Canada’s current rules and policies and then answer common questions I hear about them.

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This great carry-on bag is for travelers that want to get the best value out of their luggage investment.

This Travel Pro bag could be the last carry-on bag you ever purchase! 

How Strict is Air Canada Airlines With Its Carry-on Luggage Policy?

Want to know how strict Air Canada is regarding its carry-on item policy? Air Canada is considered to be relatively strict in terms of carry-on luggage and personal items brought on board. Air Canada’s rule of thumb is that if you’re traveling only with carry-on luggage, you’ll be able to take one carry-on bag on board as well as a personal item, such as a purse, briefcase, backpack, diaper bag, or laptop bag.

The airline maintains that your carry-on bag must fit in the sizer to ensure it can be easily stored in the overhead compartment. Air Canada recommends carefully measuring your carry-on and personal items before traveling.

Air Canada, like other airlines, establishes and implements its own policies. Note that if your luggage is deemed “oversize,” you could have to pay additional check-in fees at your boarding gate. 

Carry-on luggage items have size restrictions, but usually not weight restrictions, and are typically stowed in the luggage bins overhead of passenger seats. Personal items typically are stowed underneath the seat of each passenger, though they may need to go in the overhead bin, as well. 

Air Canada’s Carry-on Baggage Policy

Including handles and wheels, your carry-on luggage (e.g., bag, backpack, suitcase) on Air Canada flights are not to exceed 

21.5” l x 15.5” w x 9” h (55 x 40 x 23 cm), or 46 total linear inches/118 cm
(l + w + h).

Your carry-on item must also be light enough so you can store the bag in the overhead luggage compartment by yourself (individuals with special needs or disabilities can receive assistance upon request).

Personal items (e.g., laptop, purse, briefcase, etc.) should not exceed

17” l x 13” w x 6” h (43 cm x 33 cm x 15 cm). 

Take some preemptive cautionary steps beforehand and invest in some Air Canada-compliant carry-on luggage so that you can travel in peace and quiet.

How Can I Measure My Carry-on Bag to Make Sure It Fits on an Air Canada Flight?

To help you verify your baggage conforms with Air Canada’s carry-on size restrictions, the carrier recommends taking note of bag sizers at airport locations that feature its required 21.5″ x 15.5″ x 9″ dimensions.

It’s also a good idea to measure your carry-on bag before you leave for the airport to ensure that your entire bag, along with the wheels and handles, falls within Air Canada’s carry-on size requirements.

It’s important to remember that the three dimensional measurements together – length + height + width – cannot add up to more than 46 linear inches/118 linear cm. If you happen to be traveling with a soft-sided or expandable suitcase, you may want to measure your carry-on again after it’s packed, to ensure it still complies. 

My Air Canada-compliant Luggage Recommendations

Need some suggestions for carry-on luggage that I would recommend for flying with Air Canada? I personally recommend the following Air Canada-compliant carry-on luggage bags because of the carrier’s strictness with its luggage policies. 

This is a great carry-on bag for anyone who wants to get long-lasting value out of their travel baggage investment.

This Travel Pro bag is one you’ll definitely fall in love with, and it could end up being the last carry-on bag you’ll ever purchase! 

Air Canada’s Carry-on Luggage Allowance

Air Canada passengers are allowed to bring one carry-on item and one personal item on board its flights. Any items which do not fit into a sizing device or which are considered to be oversized will need to be checked, with possible checked baggage fees assessed accordingly. 

Note that even though there is no weight limit for carry-on baggage, your bag must be light enough that you can store it yourself in the overhead luggage bin. Air Canada asks that you please place your personal item that has been identified with a white tag underneath the seat in front of you.

If you’re traveling with an infant on your lap, you are allowed one additional standard article as an item for your child. Air Canada emphasizes that “all carry-on baggage rules are strictly enforced.” Any and all baggage that does not respect maximum sizes will need to be checked, with additional checked baggage charges being applicable.

Depending on where you’re flying to and from, Air Canada can charge you up to $115.00 CAD / $85 USD for additional bags or for bags deemed oversized or overweight.

Bringing Carry-on Liquid Items Onto Air Canada Flights

You are allowed to bring liquid items onboard Air Canada flights in your carry-on baggage, as long as they pass through security checkpoints. Items in violation of regulations will be confiscated.

Toiletries and items in the form of liquids, gels, and aerosols in containers of 3.4 fl. Oz. (100 ml/100g) or less must be packed neatly in a clear, resealable one-quart (1 liter) plastic bag. Try these Ziploc one-quart baggies.

Duty-free liquids, aerosols, and gels of more than 3.4 oz. /  100 ml are allowed to be brought on board Air Canada flights, as long as they are contained in a duty-free issued Secure Tamper-Evident Bag (STEB).

How Strict Is Air Canada With Your Carry-on Size?

You shouldn’t have any problems at all, as long as your item(s) fit in the overhead bin above you or underneath the seat in front of you.

To make your flight as worry-free as possible I’d suggest complying with Air Canada’s policies. If you need a new carry-on bag that will fit Air Canada’s (and other carriers’) guidelines, get this bag and don’t have to worry about it ever again.

How Strict Is Air Canada With Your Carry-on Baggage Weight?

Most airlines, including Air Canada are not concerned with carry-on/personal item weight. You should only be concerned with spaces in the cabin where carry-on items should be able to be stowed comfortably. Meeting the size dimensions of your carry-on bags I mentioned above should cover all your bases.

Should I Risk Flying on Air Canada With an Oversized Carry-on?

Most frequent flyers will likely ask you, “Why take the risk?” And I would have to agree with them. But know that if your bag is only slightly larger than Air Canada’s specified size dimensions, you’ll likely be OK. Worst-case scenario if your carry-on is too large, is that you will have to check your bag at the gate, but then you can be charged as much as $115 CAD ($85 USD) or possibly more for checking an oversized bag.

PRO TIP – You have a better chance of getting away with a slightly larger piece of luggage if your carry-on is soft-sided. That‘s why I have highlighted and pointed you toward soft-sided bags like this one here. They are a little easier to squeeze into tight spots, including into the overhead bins on a plane!

Air Canada Checked Baggage Fees

Depending on where you’re flying to/from, there is a sliding scale of Air Canada checked baggage fees, starting with two free checked bags for Latitude fares, and starting at $30 CAD ($22 USD) for the first checked bag and $50 CAD ($37 USD) for the second checked bag. Additional checked bag fees start at $100 CAD ($74 USD).  

I travel with a bag that is slightly larger than many airline regulations and I have never been asked to check it. I can’t guarantee that you won’t be asked to.

Your best bet is to travel with baggage that is within Air Canada’s size regulations, and then you will never have to worry about it!

Where Can I Find a Quality Travel Bag That’s Within Air Canada’s Carry-on Luggage Limits?

I recommend this great carry-on bag that is an incredible value for the cost.

And this Travel Pro bag is an excellent choice for even the pickiest travelers. 

How Strict Is Air Canada With Its “One Personal Item” Policy?

How strict is Air Canada regarding its “one personal item” policy? Air Canada is considered to be quite strict in regard to baggage sizes and weights for its passengers (even according to the airline’s own website!). One small personal item is allowed per passenger (e.g., purse, handbag, briefcase, laptop bag, backpack, and medically necessary items). Technically speaking, Air Canada expects personal items to be 17” l x 13” w x 6” h (43 cm x 33 cm x 15 cm) or less in size, but as long as your personal item can easily be carried and stored underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead luggage bin, Air Canada representatives probably won’t ask you about it.

Air Canada’s Personal Item Policy

What about Air Canada’s official personal item policy? Your personal item ( e.g., purse, shoulder bag, backpack, diaper bag, etc.) must fit under the seat in front of you, and dimensions should not exceed 17” l x 13” w x 6” h (43 cm x 33 cm x 15 cm). Read more about personal items on Air Canada flights here

Carrying Additional Items Onto Air Canada Flights

In addition to your carry-on bag and personal item onboard Air Canada flights, you are also allowed to bring small items, such as a jacket/sweatshirt, blanket, umbrella, book, duty-free items, a reasonably sized stuffed animal, food/drink purchased past the security checkpoint, crutches, strollers, camera, etc. These won’t count as personal items, unless they’re larger things that take up space overhead or underneath a seat, like purses, shoulder bags, backpacks, briefcases, large camera cases, etc.

Is the First Checked Bag Free on Air Canada Flights?

Air Canada has a sliding scale for its checked bag charges, depending upon where you’re flying from and to. Unless you’re flying Air Canada’s Latitude fare, pricing for your first checked bag starts at $30 CAD ($22 USD) , and $50 CAD ($37 USD) for your second checked bag. Additional checked bag fees start at $100 CAD ($74 USD). 

Read more about Air Canada’s checked bag policy here.

So, How Strict is Air Canada About Carry-on and Personal Items?

Air Canada passengers can take one carry-on bag and one personal item on board their flights. Both of these items should be able to fit in an overhead luggage bin, or one of them should be able to fit underneath the seat in front of you. Invest in carry-on baggage that complies with Air Canada’s 21.5” x 15.5” x 9” size requirements, like this one.

You’ll also get to bring on board a smaller personal item, 17” x 13” x 6” or smaller. In case you choose to take a risk by bringing a larger bag onto an Air Canada flight, be sure to at least use a soft-sided bag so you’ll be able to better navigate it into a tight space. If your carry-on or personal item is deemed “oversized,” you could be charged a bag check-in fee at your boarding gate.

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