When Only One Carry-on Bag is Allowed

Advice for Airline Passengers

When all an airline permits you to bring aboard is one carry-on bag, make it the most useful one you can buy. Since some airlines no longer permit passengers to bring both a purse and a carry-on bag or a computer bag and a piece of luggage, you may need to re-think both what you pack and what you carry it in.

Given that security lines are long and presenting an organized bag will hasten you through, consider choosing luggage that a) conforms to carry-on size guidelines, 2) has multiple compartments, and 3) has wheels. These are bags that I recommend when you are allowed to bring only one luggage item onboard.

  • 01 of 06

    Briggs & Riley Wheeled Carry-on

    ••• © Briggs & Riley.

    Built to the maximum size allowed onboard most airlines, this carry-on is stylish, secure, and lightweight — as two wheels weigh less than four. It closes with both a zipper and buckles to ensure that you won't have to watch your honeymoon lingerie circling the baggage carousel for the world to see.

  • 02 of 06

    Samsonite Hard-Sided 20" Carry-On Suitcase

    ••• © Zappos.
    Want to feel really secure? Pack your gear inside a hard-sided suitcase and let it be your carry-on bag. This one by Samsonite weighs only six pounds (its made of impact-resistant ABS plastic) and has four wheels, allowing 360-degree rolling.
  • 03 of 06
    ••• Zappos.
    Two wheels are good; four wheels are better. And that's what you get in this soft-sided Kipling carry-on bag that measures 20 x 13.5 x 10. It's available in colorful (blue, pink) shades as well as conservative ones. Has both a carrying handle and a telescoping one.
  • 04 of 06

    Eagle Creek 22" Wheeled Carry-On

    ••• Zappos.
    Made of soft but abrasion-resistant fabric, this Eagle Creek model has two padded pouches on the front, which are very handy to have. Use the top, for instance, to hold your travel documents. On the bottom, put your reading material and digital tablet so you have easy access when you board.
    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06
    ••• © Zappos.
    I love four-wheeled spinner suitcases, and this one not only rolls like a dream, but it's an expandable widebody model. The main compartment includes a mesh pocket for smaller items and a removable garment suiter to prevent shirts and blouses from wrinkling.
  • 06 of 06
    ••• © Zappos.
    Don't have that much to tote, but appreciate a good-looking bag that you can wheel? This easy-on-the-eyes bag by Knomo has Chanel-like nylon quilting, two convenient outside pockets in the front (one zips), two wheels, and a retractable handle. There's also a sleeve in the back so that you can easily slip this bag onto the handle of a bigger one. It's also available in a 19" size.