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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 what works for one will work for all airlines.
If you are going to be flying Alaska Airlines, 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 Alaska Airlines’ carry-on policy. This includes their carry-on size and weight limits, liquid policy, personal items, pets, prohibited items, and other rules and restrictions you should know before boarding your flight.
Alaska Airlines Carry-On Size & Weight Limit
Alaska Airlines allows one carry-on bag and one personal item onboard at no charge. At least one of the items should be stowed under the seat in front of you, and you’ll also need to be able to lift your own bag into the overhead bin.
Alaska Airlines Carry-On Size (Dimensions)
Alaska’s size requirements for a carry-on are 22″ x 14″ x 9″.
If you’re not sure what size your carry-on is, Alaska typically provides “size check templates” located at their ticketing counters and departure gates. But if you wait until you get to either of these locations and have an issue, it’s too late.
Alaska Airlines Carry-On Weight Limit
Alaska does not impose weight restrictions on carry-on bags. However, when checking a bag, the weight limit is 50 pounds per bag.
Recommended Carry-On Bag
If you are looking for a great carry-on bag when flying Alaska Airlines, 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.
This carry-on bag has been sizer bin tested to accommodate overhead bin space on most major US airlines.
- H: 21 in. W: 14 in. D: 9 in.
Note: If fully expanded it may not meet overhead bin size limits, so be careful to not overpack.
Alaska Airlines Personal Item Size & Restrictions
Personal items include a purse, briefcase, laptop, backpack, shopping bag, or a similar-sized item.
These items may be brought onboard without counting toward your carry-on limit.
- Coats, hats, umbrellas (compact size that easily fits into an overhead bin, under the seat or in a suitcase)
- A pillow for personal use
- Food for immediate consumption
- A reasonable amount of reading material
- FAA-approved child/infant restraint seats to be occupied by a child, and strollers (based on space availability; space guaranteed only with the purchase of a ticket for the infant). Visit Alaska’s Batteries and Electronics page if the stroller has a battery or power bank.
- Service Animals, including properly documented emotional support animals
- Mobility/Medical assistive devices such as wheelchairs, canes, crutches, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, approved portable oxygen concentrators (POC), breast pumps, etc.
- Prescription medications and any medical devices needed to administer them (for example syringes, auto-injections) if they comply with applicable safety, security, and hazardous materials rules.
Carry-On Rules for Small Regional Aircraft
If you are flying one of Alaska Airlines’ region partners, Horizon or SkyWest, you can bring a personal item on board, but not a carry-on bag due to limited overhead space. Personal items must be able to fit under the seat in front of the passenger.
All carry-on bags within Alaska’s size restrictions will be gate checked, free of charge, during the boarding process and returned upon deplaning. These items will be specially tagged and returned to the cart for retrieval at a designated area on the ramp or jet bridge as you get off of your flight. Just find the red and white stop sign and your bags will be there within 5 minutes of deplaning.
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.
Alaska Airlines Liquids Policy
The rules for carry-on liquids are set by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), not by the airline. Alaska Airlines doesn’t have its own specific Liquids Policy, they just enforce the rules and policies of the TSA.
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.
The TSA 3-1-1 Rule
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, perfume, mouthwash, deodorant, and lotion.
Any liquid that does not meet the TSA 3-1-1 rule will either have to be checked with your luggage or will be thrown away at the security checkpoint.
Here is a little video to help illustrate this:
The TSA 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.
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 TSA 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 TSA website advising what food can be brought with you on your Alaska 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.
Alaska Airlines Carry-On Pet Policy
Alaska Airlines may not charge for your carry-on bag, but they will charge for your carry-on pet.
If you are 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. The maximum dimensions for a hard-sided carrier are 17” x 11” x 7.5” and the dimensions for a soft-sided carrier are 17” x 11” x 9.5”
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.
Alaska Airlines Carry-On Pet Fees
Here is a chart showing the pet fees Alaska charges each way. Double them for a round-trip flight.
|Pet Fee Each Way
|Any Alaska Airlines Flight
TSA-Approved Pet Carrier for Alaska
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 Items on Alaska Airlines
There are certain items that are considered dangerous and classified as hazardous materials. 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 Federal Aviation Administration.
Here is a list of items that are considered dangerous goods and are strictly prohibited on Alaska Airlines flights:
- Firearms and ammunition
- Self-defense sprays, such as mace and pepper spray
- Explosives, including fireworks and flares
- Flammable liquids, including gasoline, lighter fluid, and kerosene
- Poisonous, infectious, or radioactive substances
- Knives and sharp objects (pocket knives, cutting instruments, razors, ice picks, carpet knives, metal scissors, box cutters, or similar items)
- Any alcoholic beverage with more than 70 percent alcohol
- Camping equipment containing flammable liquids or gasses
- 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
The following items are not considered “dangerous goods” and are allowed when packaged properly, in accordance with TSA regulations:
- Hiking or trekking poles
- Hair dryer/Straightener
- Hair spray
- Sunscreen/bug spray
- Food as a carry-on
- Fishing hooks
- Fragile glass items
It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list and that the TSA’s rules and regulations are subject to change. Additional prohibited or restricted goods and materials can be found in the following resources:
Summary: Alaska Airlines Carry-On Size & Fees
Alaska doesn’t charge a fee for carry-on baggage that meets their size requirements. If your bag is too large and does not meet Alaska’s carry-on restrictions, you may be charged a fee to gate-check it.
Here is a link to Alaska’s Carry-On page to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.
More related articles….
- 5 Tips to Travel with Just One Bag
- How to Use Packing Cubes to Travel with Just A Carry-On
- The Best Carry-On Bags for Regional and Small Jets
- 5 Essential Things to Stay Organized While on The Road
- Alaska Airlines Flight Delay and Cancellation Compensation
Tim is a business road warrior and avid leisure traveler who has flown over two million miles in the air and spent well over a thousand nights in hotels. He enjoys sharing tips, tricks, and hacks to help readers get the most out of their travel experience and learn how to “travel like a pro”!