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If you’re planning to travel with just a carry-on, you’ll need to be up to speed with airline carry-on policies. Specifically, the various rules and regulations each carrier has for what you can and cannot “carry on” to the plane. Each airline’s rules are different, so don’t just assume that what works for one will work for all airlines.
If you are going to be flying Air Canada, they have very specific guidelines for carry-on sizes, liquids, and other unique items that you may want to bring on board.
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Air Canada’s carry-on policy. This includes carry-on size and weight limits, personal items, liquids, pets, prohibited items, and other rules and restrictions you should know before boarding your flight.
Air Canada Carry-On Size & Weight Limits
Air Canada allows one carry-on bag and one personal item onboard at no charge. They refer to the carry-on bag as a ”standard article” and the personal item as a “personal article”.
Air Canada Airlines Carry-On Size (Dimensions)
Air Canada’s size requirements for a carry-on are 21.5″ x 15.5″ x 9″ (55cm x 40cm x 23cm).
If you aren’t sure what size your carry-on is, Air Canada provides size check templates located at their ticket counters and gates. But by the time you get to either of these locations, it’s too late if the bag is too big, so better to always know your bag size in advance.
Automated carry-on baggage sizers
Air Canada recently introduced automated carry-on baggage sizers pre-security in the Montreal (YUL), Toronto (YYZ), and Vancouver (YVR) airports.
These new, touchless machines are easier and faster to use than metal sizers. If you are at one of these airports, make sure that your carry-on bag complies with the sizing outlined above to avoid having to check your carry-on bag at the gate.
Air Canada Carry-On Weight Limit
As a rule, Air Canada doesn’t impose weight restrictions on a carry-on bag. The only rule they have is that it must be light enough that you can store it in the overhead bin unassisted.
Air Canada Airlines Personal Item Size
In addition to a carry-on bag, Air Canada allows each passenger to bring one personal item onboard. Personal items include purses, briefcases, cameras, food containers, or laptops (case included).
Your personal item must be stored under the seat in front of you.
Recommended Carry-On Bag for Air Canada
If you are looking for a great carry-on bag when flying Air Canada, I recommend the Travelpro Maxlite 5 Expandable Spinner. I have used this carry-on for years. It’s durable, reasonably priced, and holds everything I need for shorter trips. Plus the spinner wheels make it very easy to get through the airport quickly.
4-wheel spinners rotate 360°.
- H: 21 in. W: 14 in. D: 9 in.
- Weight: 5.4 lbs.
This carry-on bag has been sizer bin tested to accommodate overhead bin space on most major US airlines. Fully expanded Carry-On may not meet airline restrictions.
Carry-On Rules for Small Regional Aircraft
If you are lucky enough to be flying on an Air Canada Connection flight (ugh..) with fifty seats or less (such as a CRJ 200), you can bring a personal item on board, but not a carry-on bag the aircraft due to the limited overhead space. Personal items must be able to fit under the seat in front of the passenger.
All carry-on bags within Air Canada’s size restrictions will be gate checked, free of charge, during the boarding process and returned upon deplaning. Depending on the time of year, this will give you the opportunity to hang out with 50 of your newest friends in either a steaming hot or freezing cold jet bridge. Fun!
Despite this “official rule” there are some bags you can carry on a regional jet. Check out this article on the best carry-on luggage for regional jets.
Related Content: Air Canada Flight Deals
Air Canada Flight Deals
Air Canada Baggage Fees (Checked Baggage)
If you have to check a bag on Air Canada, there are some size and weight rules to be aware of.
All checked bags must adhere to a maximum weight of 50 pounds (23 kg) in economy class or 70 pounds (32 kg) in business class, with maximum linear dimensions of 62 linear inches (158 cm).
Premium Economy, Premium Rogue, and business class each have 2 bags included.
Use the Air Canada checked baggage calculator to determine your free checked baggage allowance, and any additional fees should you exceed it.
Air Canada Carry-On Liquids Policy
The rules for carry-on liquids are set by the CATSA (Canadian Air Transport Security Authority), not by the airline. Air Canada doesn’t have their own specific Liquids Policy, they just enforce the rules and policies of the TSA.
However, here are some tips Air Canada specifically provides regarding liquids and liquid size limits:
- If you travel with liquids or gels in containers over 100mL/100g (3.4oz) in your carry-on baggage you will have these items confiscated at the security checkpoint.
- If you have a connecting flight you’re advised not to purchase liquids or gels in containers over 100 mL / 100 g (3.4 oz) within the secure area at the airport or on board the aircraft if you don’t have:
- Access to your checked baggage between connecting flights and
- Room in your checked baggage to pack your duty-free purchases before rechecking your bags for your next flight.
- You cannot consume your own alcoholic beverages on board.
It’s also important to note that the rules for bringing a “liquid” in your carry-on bag differ from those that govern what you can bring in your checked luggage. Liquids in a carry-on bag must be 3.4 ounces or smaller and fit in a 1 quart-sized container. Anything larger must be placed in your checked luggage.
Items Considered a “Liquid” When Flying Air Canada
Below is a table that provides some examples of Non-solid Food and Personal Items that are considered “liquids”:
|Beverages||Jelly||Spray Paint||Hair Gel|
|Shampoo||Pudding||Deodorant Spray||Shower Gel|
|Conditioner||Yogurt||Insect Repellent||Hand Sanitizer|
|Toothpaste||Gelatin||Cooking Spray||Gel Deodorant|
|Mouthwash||Peanut Butter||Spray Lubricant|
|Liquid soap||Cheese Spread||Hairspray|
|Contact Lens Solution||Maple Syrup||Shaving Cream|
The CATSA Liquids Rule
Any liquid that does not meet the CATSA Liquids rule will either have to be checked with your luggage or will be thrown away at the security checkpoint.
The CATSA Liquids rule states that each passenger may carry liquids, gels, and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters. Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels, and aerosols. Common travel items that must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, and lotion.
Exceptions to this rule are certain medications and baby food/child nourishment.
CATSA also sets the rules for what type of food you can bring on the plane. There are two different scenarios pertaining to food:
- The food you bring with you from home, and
- The food you buy at the airport after you have gone through security.
When bringing food with you from home, an important thing to note is the classification of liquid vs. solid foods.
An important thing to note is the classification of liquid vs. solid foods. The general rule is “If you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it, or pour it, then it’s considered a liquid or gel”. This means your food may be considered a liquid and will fall under the 3-1-1 liquids rule, which mandates that any liquid, gel, cream, aerosol, or paste in a carry-on must be 3.4 ounces or less, and fit in one quart-size resealable bag (only one such bag is allowed per passenger).
Here’s a link to the CATSA website advising what food can be brought with you on your Air Canada flight. This applies to food you are bringing from home through security. Once you get through security, you can bring just about any food on the plane that you buy at the airport.
Air Canada Carry-On Pet Policy
Air Canada may not charge for your carry-on bag, but they will charge for your carry-on pet.
If you’re going to bring a pet on board with you, it must be able to fit in a small, ventilated pet carrier that fits under the seat in front of you.
Pets in cabin kennels will count as your one carry-on item. In addition to the kennel, you can bring one personal item onboard the aircraft. The following fees apply to/from the following destinations.
Air Canada Airlines Pet Carry-On Fees
Here is a chart showing the pet fees Air Canada charges each way. Double them for a round-trip flight.
|To/From Destination||Pet Fee Each Way|
CATSA Approved Pet Carrier for Air Canada
If you do plan on bringing your pet with you, make sure you follow CATSA’s pet policy and have an approved Pet Carrier that conforms to Air Canada’s pet policy.
I have traveled with 2 dogs over the last 10 years, one was a 20 lb. Shih Tzu-Bichon (in the picture above) and another is a 12lb. Chihuahua mix. We used the Sherpa pet carrier when bringing them on a flight with us and it worked great!
Features mesh panels so your pet can breathe easily, a non-slip shoulder strap, locking zippers, and a rear storage pocket for treats and other goodies.
Approved for use on most major airlines and the small and medium sizes are included in Sherpa's exclusive Guaranteed on Board program.
Prohibited and Restricted Items
There are certain items that are considered dangerous and classified as a hazardous material. Dangerous goods are prohibited from both your carry-on and checked bag on all flights. These rules are not specific to any airline and are mandated by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.
Items considered “dangerous goods” are prohibited under Air Canada’s carry-on policy and include the following:
- Firearms and ammunition
- Mace and pepper spray
- Poisonous, infectious, or radioactive substances
- Sharp objects (knives, cutting instruments, razors, ice picks, carpet knives, metal scissors, box cutters, or similar items)
- Any beverage with more than 70 percent alcohol
- Camping equipment containing flammable liquids or gasses
- Flammable liquids, including gasoline and kerosene
- Hoverboards, including electric skateboards, balance boards, gravity boards, and self-balancing devices
- Medical or liquid oxygen
- Torch lighters, lighter fluid, strike-anywhere matches, and fire starters
- Wet-cell batteries
- Motor oil, hydraulic fluids, brake fluid, and transmission fluid
The following items are not considered “dangerous goods” and are allowed when packaged properly, in accordance with FAA regulations
- Hiking or trekking poles
- Hair dryer/Straightener
- Hair spray
- Sunscreen/bug spray
- Food as a carry-on
- Fishing hooks
- Fragile glass items
A complete list can be found on the CATSA website, the FAA website, and the TSA website.
Air Canada Carry-On Size Limits and Fees
Air Canada does not charge a fee for carry-on baggage that meets their size requirements. If your bag is too large and does not meet Air Canada’s carry-on restrictions, you may be charged a fee to gate-check it.
Here is a link to Air Canada’s Carry-On page to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.