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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 Korean Air, here are the Korean Air Carry-On rules you need to be aware of regarding size, weight, fees, liquids, etc.
Korean Air Carry-On Size and Weight Restrictions
As a general rule, Korean Air allows one carry-on bag (“Cabin Bag”) and one personal item (“Hand Bag”) onboard at no charge. However, if you are flying First/Prestige Class, they will allow you to bring 2 cabin bags and a personal item.
Korean Air Carry-On Size Limits
Korean Air’s size requirements for a carry-on are 55 x 40 x 20cm.
If you are not sure what size your carry-on is, Korean Air has 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.
Korean Air carry-on size limits are displayed when you check-in
Korean Air Personal Item Size
Personal items include a purse, briefcase, laptop, backpack, shopping bag, or a similar-sized item
Additional items that can be carried on include:
- A jacket and/or umbrella
- Food or drink purchased after clearing the security checkpoint
- Duty-free merchandise
- Special items like strollers, child restraint seats, or assistive devices such as wheelchairs or crutches
Korean Air Carry-On Weight Limit
Korean Air requires carry-on bags to weigh less than 10 kg (22 lbs.) if you are traveling in the Economy cabin, and 18 kg (40 lbs.) if you are traveling in the First/Prestige Class cabin.
However, they don’t weigh your carry-on items prior to boarding, so you’re generally not going to have a problem if it’s too heavy. The weight issue applies to check baggage more than carry-on bags since they weigh your checked bags when you check in for your flight.
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Korean Air Carry-On Liquid Policy
The rules for carry-on liquids are set by the TSA in the US and the EASA and European Commission in Europe. Korean Air doesn’t have its own specific Liquids Policy, they just enforce the rules and policies of the Authorities.
- Containers with liquids and gel-like substances may hold up to 100 ml (maximum capacity must be printed on the container).
- All containers must be carried in a plastic bag (transparent, resealable, max. capacity of 1 liter). One bag per person.
- The bag must be presented separately at security. Take your liquids out of your carry-on baggage at the security screening point and present them separately. In exceptional cases, liquids may be opened in the course of security checks and removed from their outer packaging.
- Liquid duty-free goods purchased at an international airport or on board an aircraft outside the EU must be transported in a tamper-proof, certified bag on connecting flights via an EU airport. The proof of purchase must be inside the bag and the bag must be sealed by the retailer.
- Medicines and special food (e.g. baby food) can be carried outside the plastic bag and must also be presented at security.
Below is a table that provides some examples of Non-solid Food and Personal Items that are considered “liquids”:
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 and are enclosed in a sealed, one quart-size bag. 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:
Exceptions to this rule are certain medications and baby food/child nourishment.
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 Korean Air 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.
Korean Air Pet Policy
Korean Air will allow Dogs, cats, and pet birds at least 8 weeks old in the cabin. The pet must remain in its kennel (container) for the entire flight duration. The total weight of the pet + carrier has to be 7kg or less and it must fit to store under the seat.
Here is the Korean Air Pet policy if you want to double-check.
Prohibited Items and Dangerous Goods
There are certain items that are considered dangerous and classified as 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 Federal Aviation Administration.
The list includes items such as aerosols, fireworks, matches, Pepper spray, etc.…
Items considered “dangerous goods” are prohibited under Korean Air’s carry-on policy and include the following:
- Firearms and ammunition
- Stunning devices, mace, tear gas, and pepper spray
- Poisonous, infectious, or radioactive substances
- Sharp or pointed objects (knives, swords, cutting instruments, razors, ice skates, carpet knives, metal scissors, box cutters, or similar items)
- Camping equipment containing flammable liquids or gasses
- Flammable liquids, including gasoline and kerosene
- Self-Balancing devices such as hoverboards, including electric skateboards, balance boards, and gravity boards
- 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 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 FAA website and the TSA website.
One more way to find them is with the Korean Air summary of restricted items.
Korean Air Carry-On Size and Fees
Korean Air does not charge a fee for carry-on baggage that meets their size requirements. If your bag is too large and does not meet Korean Air’s carry-on restrictions, you may be charged a fee to gate check it.
Here is a link to Korean Air’s Carry-On page to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.