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Canadian Airlines: Checked Luggage and Carry-On Baggage Rules

It’s always important to check the baggage allowances across popular Canadian airlines before booking your next flight. Here is our complete guide to baggage rules for Canada’s biggest airlines.

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Packing for a trip can be a challenge! What do you bring? What’s the weather going to be? Any special events to dress up for? What’s allowed in your carry-on? It’s always a good idea to know the baggage and carry-on luggage rules and regulations before your flight. Use this guide to stay up-to-date with the latest baggage rules for checked and carry-on luggage for Canadian airlines, including Air Canada, Air Transat, Flair, Porter, Sunwing, Swoop, and WestJet.

Several suitcases on a baggage claim conveyor belt. Checked Luggage and Carry-on Baggage Rules | Skyscanner Canada
Checked Luggage and Carry-on Baggage Rules | Skyscanner Canada

Carry-On or Checked Baggage?

There is no right or wrong way to travel. Whether you opt for a checked bag or carry-on only is totally up to you. It’s all about your own travel style – baggage rules permitting!

Some people prefer to travel with a carry-on only because they worry about lost baggage or don’t want to wait for baggage claim at after their flight. Others prefer to check a bag so they have more space for items and souvenirs. When you check luggage, it also saves you the hassle of carrying it through the airport.

Typically, carry-on bags are typically included in the airfare, whereas checked bags incur extra costs. But this can vary by destination, airline, aircraft, airline class, and airline fare. So it’s always important to check with the airline before booking your flight.

Carry-on Allowances on Canadian Airlines

These are the standard carry-on baggage rules for Canadian airlines. While many airlines include this allowance with an economy-class ticket, others may charge additional bag fees. Maximum dimensions typically include bag wheels and handles.

AirlineAllowanceMax. DimensionsMax. Weight
Air Canada1 cabin bag
+1 personal article
55 x 40 x 23 cm
33 x 43 x 15 cm

Air Transat 1 cabin bag
+1 personal article
23 x 40 x 51 cm
16 x 33 x 43 cm
22 lbs/10 kg

Flair 1 cabin bag*
+1 personal article*
22 x 40 x 55 cm
16 x 33 x 43 cm
22 lbs/10 kg
15.5 lbs/7 kg
Porter 1 cabin bag*
+1 personal article
40 x 23 x 55 cm
43 x 16 x 33 cm
20 lbs/9 kg
20 lbs/9 kg
Sunwing1 cabin bag
+1 personal article
23 x 40 x 51 cm
11 lbs/5 kg
Swoop1 cabin bag
+1 personal article
53 x 23 x 38 cm
41 x 15 x 33 cm

WestJet1 cabin bag
+1 personal article
53 x 38 x 23 cm
41 x 15 x 33 cm

*Additional fees apply.

Canadian airlines have strict baggage rules when it comes to checked luggage and carry-on bags. For safety reasons, carry-on bags need to be able to fit under the seat in front of you or above your head in the overhead cabin. If a bag is too large, it may be checked at the plane door. Carry-on bags may also be gate checked in instances when the aircraft is not large enough for all passengers to bring bags.

If your items exceed the maximum weights or sizes, call the airline as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Carry-On Packing Tips

You likely already know what you are not allowed to bring in your carry-on, but there are some items that must be placed in your carry-on, such as laptop computers. Additionally, you should bring important items such as house keys, medication, jewellery, and cash, on board with you.

If airline staff requests that you check your carry-on at the plane door, make sure to remove your laptop computer and other personal items so you can bring them on board.

Three suitcases of varying sizes. Checked Luggage and Carry-on Baggage Rules | Skyscanner Canada
Checked Luggage and Carry-on Baggage Rules | Skyscanner Canada

Baggage Allowances on Canadian Airlines

Like carry-on baggage, the cost and allowance for checked luggage can vary based on a number of factors, including destination, country of origin, airline class, and flight duration. Most airlines measure checked bags based on linear dimensions, which can be calculated by adding length, width, and height together.

AirlineFirst Bag AllowanceDimensionsWeight
Air CanadaFree
(Economy basic fare, long-haul)
158 cm50 lbs/
23 kg
Air Transat $25-$75
Eco Budget fare
158 cm50 lbs/
23 kg
Flair$31.50-$34.50 online
$42-$46 at check in
(Economy basic fare)
158 cm50 lbs/
23 kg
Porter$32.50-$37.38 online
$39.50-$45.43 at check in
$49.50-$56.96 at the gate
(Economy basic fare)
158 cm50 lbs/
23 kg
SunwingFree
(Economy basic fare)
158 cm50 lbs
23 kg
Swoop$35.00-$40.25 initial booking
$50.00-$57.50 at check in
$80.00-$92.00 at the gate
(Economy basic fare)
157 cm50 lbs/
23 kg
WestJetFirst bag $30
(Economy basic fare)
157 cm50 lbs/
23 kg

Checking in with a Bag

If you plan to check a bag, it is important to arrive at the airport early enough to get the bag on the plane. Baggage check often closes 30 minutes prior to take off, which means you need to plan enough time to get to the service counter. This is especially true at busy times of the year like major holidays and spring breaks.

If you pay for a checked bag online ahead of time, it will save you time at the service counter.

Checked Luggage Packing Tips

  • Check the weight of your luggage prior to leaving the house or upon arrival at the airport.
  • Place your heaviest suitcase on the conveyor belt at the service desk in case it is too heavy and you need to move items to other suitcases.
  • Remove all old airline tags from your luggage.
  • Do not wrap straps or cords around your luggage.
  • Always include an identification tag on the inside and outside of the bag with relevant contact information. If your cell phone is going to be off for your trip, then don’t write your cell phone number as the contact information.
  • Learn how to pack like a pro with these five packing tips.

Travelling with Sports Equipment

Canadian airlines allow sports equipment like bicycles, snowboards or bowling balls on planes, as long as they are bagged properly. There are detailed baggage rules for different types of sports equipment. This includes weights, dimensions, and other instructions, such as partially deflating bicycle tires.

There are often extra fees (or “handling charges”) associated with sports equipment. It may be a good idea to compare the price of flying with your equipment versus renting equipment once you land.

Always check with the airline to see the regulations about sports equipment. You can often register items ahead of time.

Travelling with Music Equipment

Musical equipment articles typically count as one checked bag towards your luggage allowance. If you want to bring it on the plane with you, it must meet the carry-on size and weight requirements. If it is a large instrument, you can purchase an extra seat to accommodate it (most often a discounted fare). There are music equipment limitations on each flight, so make sure to arrange it with your airline ahead of time if you need to purchase an extra seat.

Two adults with a baby in a stroller, standing with a suitcase in front of a moving sidewalk in an airport. Checked Luggage and Carry-on Baggage Rules | Skyscanner Canada
Checked Luggage and Carry-on Baggage Rules | Skyscanner Canada

Travelling with Strollers and Car Seats

Most airlines accept strollers and car seats without charging additional fees, but make sure to check your airline’s baggage rules to be certain. Small, collapsible strollers can often be checked at the plane door, while larger strollers need to be checked at the service desk. Car seats can be checked at the service door or brought on board if it is an approved child restraint device and you have purchased a seat for your child.

If you’re looking for gadgets that will make travelling with children easier, check out our list of travel gear for kids.

A suitcase being picked up from an airport conveyor belt. Checked Luggage and Carry-on Baggage Rules | Skyscanner Canada
Checked Luggage and Carry-on Baggage Rules | Skyscanner Canada

For more information, read our guides to Air Canada Baggage Rules 2019, Air Transat Baggage Rules 2019, and WestJet Baggage Policy 2019.


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