Air Canada Changes Their Carry-On Policy To “You Can Lift It, You Can Take It”


Air Canada has become the latest carrier which changed the carry on policy, lifting weight restrictions on bags that can be taken on board the aircraft.

Customers on board Air Canada flights are now permitted 1 standard article and 1 personal item that is no longer limited by weight however the passenger must be able to handle the item alone without help.

The carry on articles are still limited by size/measurements though the mostly unrealistic weight restriction has been lifted effective immediately.

You can access Air Canada’s Carry On Baggage Rules on their website (see here).

The weight restrictions placed on carry on baggage are often unrealistic. For example some airlines outline 8 KG as the permissible weight for carry on bags which by any means is almost impossible to keep. Most carry on bags already weight between 3.5-5 KG empty so with average packing for a few days worth of clothing and travel necessities it’s almost impossible to be under 12kg.

Here is a list of items that Air Canada considers as personal item (determined by measurements):

  • Backpack, briefcase
  • Laptop computer
  • Cat or small dog in its carrier
  • Airport shopping and duty-free purchases
  • Sport racquet (e.g. tennis, squash, badminton)
  • Camera bag
  • Garment bag (size and weight restrictions apply)
  • Diplomatic or consular bag
  • Musical instrument

Other airlines such as British Airways have had this rule of “no weight limit” for quite some time and it’s reasonable to levy they responsibility of handling the suitcase on the passenger alone and nobody else. Not the cabin crew and not on other passengers.

Whenever I’m being asked to lift somebodies carry-on in the overhead I decline to do so in 9 out of 10 cases. There are multiple reasons for not lifting other peoples carry on baggage.

For one, if it’s too heavy it might be a bad idea to lift it up. It happened to me about a year ago when I just picked up my own bag in an unfortunate way from a x-ray machine in Malaysia. I was barely able to walk and had to go to a chiropractor the following day.

The other reason is I don’t want to reward people who take their carry-on baggage on the plane just because they can even though they can’t handle it. If you can’t handle your own bag then check-it in and if necessary pay for it.


This is a fair regulation Air Canada has implemented here. As mentioned it’s hard to have a carry-on anywhere under 10KG if you travel for a couple of days. Sometimes I weigh my carry-on at an empty check-in counter or a random scale and more often than not it’s about 17KG not including the personal item.

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  • Mike

    What if the person bringing the bag is 4’11″… she can lift her bag, but she can’t reach the damn overhead safely regardless of the weight… would you help her then? As is the case with my wife. She latin american, so natually shorter…. 9 out of 10, I would be with her, but sometimes she has to travel home alone… I will always help someone in need…

    • evelyn

      Well said. I am 5′ 1″ and I travel alone on couple of trips per year. Unless the person who is going to occupy the aisle seat later does not mind that I stand on the seat to reach the overhead bin, then someone will have to help me.

      • Bill___A

        There are plenty of people to help you, myself included.

  • simplyfantabulous

    Nothing wrong with more free stuff at any time, but 12 kilos isn’t enough a couple day trip?

    • Bill___A

      Some airlines regulate it to 8 kilos and it should be a size thing, not a weight thing. Size regulates weight to an extent.

  • J Verde

    “Whenever I’m being asked to lift somebodies carry-on in the overhead I decline to do so in 9 out of 10 cases.”

    Whenever *I’m* being asked to lift somebodies carry-on in the overhead, 9 out of 10 times it’s an elderly passenger, with the 10th being a woman who’s too short to reach the overhead. Not only have I never declined to help – I offer to help without being asked.

    We must travel in very different worlds, Sebastian.

    • Bill___A

      I’ve helped…..

      • Grateful in London

        I am really grateful for guys like you, Bill_A. I was in London recently, shuttling btwn a friend’s place and a hotel in the city due to work, and thought it a good idea to take the Tube and couldn’t believe the lack of escalators at most stations! I know this is an older system and traveling using only the stations with escalators i impossible! Thankfully there were guys like you OFFERING to help, as I hate asking for help as guys like Sebastian make you feel like an ass for having bothered. On the other hand, I always try to do things myself but sometimes one just CAN NOT do it all.

    • Rich Blackmon

      I wish there was a like button. No kidding. I don’t think I’ve EVER been asked by some perfectly able bodied person to lift there 60kg roller board into the compartment. It’s almost always some tiny elderly lady with a normal 12 kg bag or short person. You must just be a jerk by nature or truly are traveling in some other world.

      • I was once asked to help one lady to stove her bag on United flight. Turned out that she was United board member at the time.

  • It’s good for more airlines are going to adopt this policy. Not only convenient in the passengers’ perspective but to save more room for cargo and shorter turn times.

  • Bill___A

    This is a good development, as it has long been difficult to deal with an unreasonable stipulation on carry on weights. However, this needs to be applied across alliances. What good is it if I book an Air Canada flight to Frankfurt and come back on their code share with Lufthansa? Air Canada will let me bring my carry on, and Lufthansa has a limit that’s unreasonably low. Would one pack a collapsible bag so one can be checked (there are things in my carry on I will not check). I think there should be rules for code shares, such as any code shared flights should have equal or more generous rules than the airline owning the “code”. Furthermore, airline alliances should be transparent. If you are on SkyTeam, OneWorld or Star Alliance, you should have the same accommodations across the board. One airline should not be allowed to treat their own flyers better than equivalent customers from another airline. We all need to be on the same playing field.

    • My carry on weighs exactly 15 kilos and the outsourced MH agents in London are pretty much the only ones that really like to weigh it and check it in every time. I guess that they mainly deal with budget airlines where this is a revenue source.

  • Holiday_Hero

    Isn’t there a limit on how much weight the Overhead bins can be loaded with?

    • I guess that there is a total compartment limit.

      • Holiday_Hero

        I always thought that the airlines carry on limit was based on the volumetric and physical weight limit of the bins. But seeing new limitless policy’s, it must be rather high. I couldn’t find it when I looked