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?
Check our What Can I Bring? page to make sure your item is allowed on the plane and if it can be packed in your carry-on or should go in your checked baggage.
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
- laptop bags
What else can I bring as carry-on?
- 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.
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.
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.
For questions about checked baggage restrictions (e.g. weight, dimensions) and charges for excess baggage, contact your airline directly.
Your checked baggage may be searched. Although you are allowed to lock your baggage on flights departing Canadian airports, please note the following:
- Screening officers are not allowed to break a lock. They will generally work with the airline to find you so you can witness the search. If unable to locate you, an airline representative may decide to break the lock to allow screening to proceed.
- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has worked with several companies to develop locks that can be opened by security officers using universal "master" keys. Unlike in the U. S., the screening officers at Canadian airports do not have a key for these locks. If your checked baggage needs to be checked, the screening officers will follow the process noted above for other locks.
- A “Notification of Checked Baggage Inspection” will be placed in passengers' checked baggage once a search is completed to let you know your bag has been opened.
An item may have been taken out of your bag because it was not permitted in your checked baggage. If there was no “Notification of Checked Baggage Inspection” form in your baggage, a CATSA screening officer did not search it. In such cases, you should contact the airline for information.
If you have received a notification of checked baggage and believe that belongings may have been taken or misplaced during the process, please file a claim.