Airlines once incentivised people to bring a cabin bag on board a flight. Not having to put on so many hold bags saved time, the reduced weight saved money, and having passengers do it themselves seemed logical.

This was so successful that airlines found they were running out of overhead space. Cue an about face and airlines began charging to bring bags into the cabin, usually wrapped up in a “Priority Boarding plus Cabin Baggage” type deal.

Do You Really Need To Bring A Cabin Bag?

Have you ever watched people from your seat during boarding? It’s pretty eye opening seeing just how many people bring a huge amount of their belongings with them into the cabin. It’s not uncommon to see people pulling along the largest bag they can get away with, for starters. These often also have the ubiquitous signature of the economy class passenger wrapped around it, the travel pillow.

Also, there will be come kind of handbag or small shoulder bag for placing under the seat in front. Do you really need to bring a cabin bag on board? How much of this stuff do you need on the flight? I’d wager virtually none of it is relevant for the flight, even on long transpacific services or flights from Europe to Australia.

Pack Light, Be Happy

If you are bringing a checked bag anyway, why bother having cabin baggage at all? When I fly long haul, I pack everything into the big bag that goes into the cargo hold. It makes sense, because I am not going to need things like shoes, extra clothes and all the rest of it on an eight hour flight.

Instead, I bring a messenger bag on board, slung over my shoulder. Inside are the essentials, such as my house keys, wallet, a phone charger, my Passport, and any medication I might need.

When flying down to Australia, I also include a toothbrush, razor and travel sized toothpaste, mouthwash, shaving cream, deodorant and moisturiser. I need these at the stopover point when I have a shower in the lounge. Most of the time I will also include a change of underwear and socks, plus a different t-shirt. All of this fits into a messenger bag very easily.

Having just a small bag slung over your shoulder is a game changer at the airport. There is nothing to pull along after you, the shoulder bag weighs virtually nothing, it’s simple to get through security screening, and there’s always room for it on the aircraft. Why would you bother bringing a big wheely bag packed to the brim, when you can just avoid it?

Overall Thoughts

Bring a cabin bag on board the flight if you must. However, now you know that you can pretty much make your trip a far easier experience by not doing that.

For me, I flip flop between bringing one and not bringing one. That is down to the duration of the trip itself, or whether or not I am bringing a hold bag. Either way, packing light is the way forward. I found over the years that I would often not use various things I brought with me, so now I no longer pack them.

What say you? Are you a carry on bag type or a checked bag type? Do you have any advice? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Elizabeth French on Unsplash.