A hotly-debated topic among air travelers often has certain advantages and disadvantages to every argument. For first-time travelers or people who just need a refresher, there are certain restrictions to items you can include in your carry-on (things you can take along with you on the aircraft) and those you can “check-in” (things that enter the cargo hold of your aircraft, underneath the floor of the cabin).
Reasons to Carry Your Bags into the Cabin
The airline is responsible for your bags, so they won’t get lost. Perhaps the worst problem of travelers is losing their luggage. In case this happens, the carrier will compensate you in the least possible way like delivering your bag to your hotel or home hours or days after you have lost your luggage.
Once you reach your destination, you can zoom right across the airport into your car, taxi or shuttle for rent, without having to wait for your luggage to appear on the baggage carousel.
If ever your flight has been delayed or cancelled, and you missed the connecting flight, your bags are with you, which makes you more flexible. There may be some other flight you can be rerouted to, or one flying to a nearby airport. Keep in mind that when you check-in your bags, they will remain on the scheduled flight (as a general rule), even if the flight has been delayed for hours and you are re-booked on another flight. The airline will just send your bag on the original flight, requiring you to stay at your destination or go back to the airport when the flight arrives (such a disappointment!).
One more advantage is the fact that you can always keep an eye on your personal belongings, thus, eliminating the probability that your camera failed to function after being entered into the cargo hold by a man who formerly worked at a construction site, lugging concrete bag, or even worse – it disappeared on the way to your arrival airport.
Reasons to Check-in Your Bags
You can take along more stuff with you. Airlines limit the items you can carry aboard the aircraft. So, you have to know how to pack wisely (take note: don’t bring the kitchen sink). If you will only be away for a few days, it is best to carry your bags on-board the flight. However, if you plan to take along many gifts and goodies, it would be best to check-in your bags. Refer to checked bagged limits.
You no longer need to fight with other 150 people over the elusive overhead bin space (the area on top of your seat that looks an inch smaller than your bag). Most people who travel on business take shorter trips so they do not need to check-in luggage plus, they have the advantage of boarding ahead of the other passengers. There is a chance that overhead bins are occupied by the time you board the plane, and probably, the only available space is above 47E at the back, far from your seat in 10A (which means you have to wait for all passengers to get off the destination airport to retrieve your bag at the baggage claim counter).