Carry-on or Checked?

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Carry-on or Checked?

Carry-on baggage is screened by passing your baggage through the X-ray equipment at the screening checkpoint. If your item is too big to go through the X-ray, it must be checked. 

Similarly, if an item is not permitted past the checkpoint, you may have the option to place it in your checked baggage

Did you know?

It's quicker and easier for us to inspect unlocked bags, but if you prefer to lock your bags, here’s some valuable advice.

What Can I Bring as Carry-On?

Transport Canada allows a maximum of two carry-on bags per person.  The acceptable size for carry-on bags is set by your airline, but may include:

  • small suitcases
  • overnight bags
  • backpacks
  • briefcases
  • laptop bags 
  • camera cases that, in addition to a camera, can also carry items such as spare lenses and film

Image of examples of small suitcase, overnight bag, backpack, briefcase, laptop bag
What else can I bring as carry-on that does not count towards my maximum?

  • small purses no bigger than 25 cm x 30 cm x 14 cm (10 in. x 12 in. x 5.5 in.) 
  • cases containing only cameras (still or video)
  • medication or medical equipment (oxygen tank, doctor’s bag, CPAP machine)
  • coats and outer garments
  • crutches, canes or walkers
  • diplomatic or consular bags
  • strollers and child restraint systems
  • duty-free items purchased after the security check
  • snacks that are not liquids or gels

Your airline may have other restrictions on the number and size of carry-on items. Please contact your airline or visit their website for exact details. 

Check our What Can I Bring? page to make sure your item is allowed on the plane and  to determine if it can be packed in your carry-on or should go in your checked baggage.

Note: Fragile items such as prescription eyewear and sunglasses, dishes, figurines and glassware should be properly packed inside of your carry-on bag so that you can ensure the item does not get broken.


Did you know?

The X-ray machines will not harm food or medication. It is safe to consume food or medication that has been scanned.

There does not appear to be a risk to digital memory cards. Files and image data should not be lost when going through the X-ray machine.

What Can I Bring as Checked Baggage?

Many items that are not permitted in carry-on are allowed to be placed in checked baggage. Check our What Can I Bring? page to confirm that your item can go in checked baggage. Checked baggage undergoes separate screening, and may be searched as part of the screening process. Locked bags can still be physically searched.

For questions about checked baggage restrictions (e.g. weight, dimensions) and charges for excess baggage, contact your airline directly.

Missing Items

An item may have been taken out of your bag because it was not permitted in checked baggage. If there was no “Notification of Checked Baggage Inspection” card in your bag, a CATSA screening officer did not search it. In such cases, you should contact the airline for information.

If you received notification that your checked baggage was searched and have any questions about the process or the outcome, please contact us.

carry on, carry

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