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Created on 05.10.2022

Hold or hand luggage? Making the right decision

Whether jetting off on holiday or going on a business trip, lots of people wonder how much baggage to take and what to put in hand and hold luggage. We’ve got some invaluable advice for packing your suitcases.

Going on an extended stay or need to take quite a lot for just a few days? Then check in an item of hold luggage at the counter. Hand luggage, which is stored in the overhead compartment above the seats, is adequate for a short trip. What’s great is that you don’t have to wait for your luggage on arrival and have peace of mind that your baggage is on the same flight as you. In addition to hold luggage, most airlines allow an item of hand luggage and a handbag or laptop bag in economy class.

Different airlines have different rules on flight luggage

Make sure you check both the number of luggage items that you can take free of charge and the size and weight limits per item for your flight as the rules differ between airlines. For example, Swiss International Air Lines’ maximum size for hand luggage is 55 x 40 x 23 cm. If you have to change to another airline on your trip, their rules obviously then apply. The airline staff will also generally take on board a foldable pushchair or buggy as well as a walking frame or wheelchair.

Which suitcase is best for flights?

There are lots of different types of luggage which all have their pros and cons. Hard shell suitcases are the best option for hold luggage. They’re robust and protect what’s inside – including against damp. In a soft suitcase, for example, you can squash more in as it’s stretchable. They are also usually a bit lighter and often have a front section where you can keep travel documents – they’re ideal as a hand luggage item. A travel bag or rucksack are also great for hand luggage as they can be flexibly stored in the compartment.

What should go in your hand luggage

Valuable items, the boarding pass, passport, medication and important documents should all go in the hand luggage. If you’re only taking hand luggage, then you’ll have to fit all the rest of your items in too. If you’re short of space, think about whether you really need everything or can perhaps do some laundry or buy things when you’re there. If you’re checking in luggage, then pack in your hand luggage things to keep you busy while waiting or on the flight, such as MP3 players, something to read, snacks, chewing gum, ear plugs, thick socks and inflatable neck cushions. It’s also a good idea to take deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste and fresh clothing for a night and a day.

    • Electronic devices, such as notebooks, mobile phones, digital cameras, MP3 players or e-book readers
    • Liquids, such as creams or lotions (max. 100 ml per container) in a clear plastic bag (one bag per person is permitted up to a maximum of 1 litre)
    • Medication including prescriptions
    • Baby food
    • Products from the duty-free shop

    Great tip: find out exactly what the rules are before setting off.

    • Sharp or pointy items, such as knives, scissors or tools
    • Stun devices, weapons and items that can be used as such, and dummy weapons (e.g. toy guns)
    • Oxidizing, radioactive or flammable substances, such as lighters or nail varnish remover
    • Pressurized containers that could explode
    • Sports equipment, such as hiking poles, baseball bats and ice skates

    It’s best to find out exactly what rules apply before setting off.

If the suitcase is too big, it can be expensive

Hand luggage exceeding the size and weight limits must be checked in. If you’re only travelling with hand luggage, it then becomes hold luggage. If you’ve already checked in hold luggage, the hand luggage then becomes excess baggage which incurs additional costs. If you realize in time that your hand luggage doesn’t meet the requirements, then it’s best to book it in as a second item of luggage on the airline’s website. The fees are usually much lower than for an additional booking at the check-in counter or gate.

Travel with peace of mind

You’re buzzing about getting away. But what if your trip has to be cancelled at the last minute or your luggage gets damaged or lost on route? Get protection against unexpected costs by taking out attractively priced PostFinance Travel Insurance and travel with total peace of mind. Calculate the premium now in a few simple steps with no obligation and simply take the policy out online.

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