Carry-on Bag

Past weekend I had a meeting in Ottawa. I arrived at the airport with my “carry-on” bag only to discover it was half an inch too deep to fit in the frame and the woman tagging acceptable carry-on baggage would not allow me to carry that bag on! It had to be checked at a cost of $30.

I had my travel pharmacy in that bag, no lock (I was going to carry this bag on, right?), as well as my iPad. So I had to unpack the stuff and put it in my small back-pack, which was relatively empty.

Monday I went online to check specifications:
Air Canada – 21.5 x 15.5 x 9
West Jet – 21 x 15 x 9
Delta / United – 22 x 14 x 9
Porter – 22 x 16 x 9
You get the picture! Buy a bag that meets Air Canada specs – won’t fit the others.

I went shopping for a suitably sized bag – one that met the minimum of all the specifications – no such bag.

I decided the way to do this was to make a bag: 21 x 14 x 8 (no wheels and fabric handles).

I’ve made lots of tote bags and even a weekend bag (too big to be a carry-on), so this would be relatively straight forward. I chose some fabric from my stash for the outside as well as the inside, cut out sides, ends, top and bottom, and strips for binding and assembled the bag complete with a zippered compartment on one side.

I made one error – I wanted the zipper across the top and down the sides – the zipper should have wrapped into the bottom! The bag, is finished, but it doesn’t open flat into two halves!


The size is good: 20.5 x 13.5 x 8 – smaller than any of the specs and it holds more than my other carry-on bags, and weighs nothing! But it’s hard to pack!

A trial packing allowed me to put in 4 turtlenecks, underwear for a week, a pair of jeans, a pair of Sketchers, a pair of sandals, 5 pairs of wool socks, 3 light wool sweaters, a night gown! More than enough for a week somewhere (with the travel pharmacy and iPad in my back-pack and I’m set).

The only problem is wheels – I still have my Air Canada wheeled trolley – the question is whether I’ll be able to take it as carry-on!

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