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Duty-Free Travel Information
The European Union, Iceland, Norway, Japan, Singapore, Australia and other countries have implemented new regulations regarding liquids in carry on bags. As a result, there are potential implications for passengers who purchase liquid duty-free items (e.g. perfume and liquor) while traveling to and from international destinations. Because many duty-free shops in other countries are located before the security checkpoint, all liquid duty-free items purchased in those airports will be placed in special sealed tamper-evident bags in order to be permitted through those countries' security checkpoints. The tamper-evident bag is not currently accepted through U.S. checkpoints. To avoid the risk of having to abandon your liquid duty free items in the U.S. and abroad, please follow the guidelines below. Please note: these security measures only apply to liquid, gel, and aerosol duty free items. For passengers traveling to an international destination from the United States: Duty-free purchases of liquids of any size from shops in the US are permitted if you have a nonstop flight to an international destination. If you have a connecting flight in Europe, Japan or another international destination, US duty-free liquid purchases in containers larger than three ounces will not be permitted through security checkpoints because they will not be in the an approved tamper-evident bag.
Note: If you purchase a liquid duty-free item in the US you will not be able to get a tamper evident bag for it before going through international checkpoints. For passengers returning to the United States from an international destination: On nonstop flights bound for the US, duty free liquids purchased at an international airport will only be permitted it they are delivered to the aircraft for passenger pickup, bought on the plane or purchased after the security checkpoint. If you are flying to the US and have a connecting flight, duty-free liquids that meet US requirements will NOT be permitted through US security checkpoints. If you have a connecting flight, liquid duty free purchases must be placed in your checked baggage. Since you will be required to reclaim your checked bags prior to passing through customs inspection, you can place duty-free liquids into your bags and recheck them for your connection. This information will help you as you go from place to place around the world. Some countries will not allow any sort of sprays, fruits, nuts, or liquors so be aware of the laws of the land to which you are going to so you will be able to bring your purchase into that country. When traveling to an international destination with a connection, buy your duty-free liquid items on the last leg of your trip. In Europe, Japan and other countries that use the tamper-evident bag, passengers should not open the bag before the security checkpoint or else the duty free contents may be seized. When returning from an international destination on a connecting flight in the US, use your time in customs to place any duty-free liquid items in your checked bags. Here are a few guidelines for carry-on luggage dimensions. Please keep in mind that you should verify with the specific airline you are using for carry-on sizes and rules. U.S. - Most U.S. domestic, non commuter airlines dimensions are 22"x14"x9". Many allow a second smaller item as well such as a tote, cosmetic bag, briefcase, etc. International dimensions are 18"x14"x9". This is a recommended carry-on size and will very from airline to airline.
General Luggage Policies
Note that when maximum size measurements are shown as a total number of inches (e.g. 45") this is the total of the length, width and height of the piece. There are standard sets of dimensions that go to make up these totals (for example, 22 x 14 x 9 is the standard for 45") and if you have a bag that is an unusual shape but still within the total number of inches, you may find it being rejected. Many luggage stores sell suitcases described as 'carry-on', but these suitcases are sometimes larger than the size most airlines will accept. The safe maximum size is 45", in the form of a 22" x 14" x 9" bag. Some airlines allow up to as much as 55", but most do not. Not only do luggage stores and manufacturers not always tell you if their bag is legally sized or not, but they also frequently miss-measure their bag. Their measurements generally are for the inside of the main compartment, and assume that any external pockets are of zero thickness, rather than stuffed full of things (which can easily add another inch or more) and ignore any external framing such as wheels and carry handle (which can also add another couple of inches). If you should be very unlucky and find yourself forced to try and squeeze your carry-on into an unforgiving luggage template by the gate, even one extra inch - if your bag is already at the maximum - will be enough to mean it doesn't fit and you have to check the bag. So you get on board with your large but legal sized carry on item. However, what happens if there is no space remaining in any of the overhead bins, and you're forced to place it under the seat in front of you? Although your carry on item might be within the size guidelines issued by the airline, that does not guarantee it will fit under the seat in front of you! It seems that the space under the seat in front of you is getting smaller and smaller, particularly with some airlines (most notably on international flights) adding bulky electronic boxes under each seat to control the at-seat video entertainment systems, and with more closely spaced seats that are, themselves, thinner than before. Even if there isn't a blocking box, due to the design of the seat frame and supports, you'll find there might be the least amount of space under the aisle seat, a bit more space under the wing seat, and most space underneath the center seat. At last - something good to say about getting stuck in a middle seat! Even if, in theory, your bag could fit under the seat in front, you might find the geometry of the space and angles is such that you can't manage to fit the bag into the space. For many reasons - your own convenience, and courtesy to fellow passengers, you should focus more on bringing the smallest carry-on you truly need rather than the largest carry-on you think you need! All airlines place limits on the number, the size, and the weight of what you can carry on to a flight with you. Generally US domestic airlines are fairly liberal with these limits, and rarely choose to enforce them.
In a June 04 survey of Travel Insider Newsletter readers, 80% of readers who admitted exceeding the official carry-on allowances said they did so with no problems. Of course, 'no problems' is a relative term, and if you're honestly abiding by the airline requirements and unable to fit your own smaller carry-on into an overhead bin due to the presence of massive outsized bags filling up all the space, you might have a different perspective on this! 94.5% of Travel Insider readers say they do not exceed carry-on limits. Personal Items such as a Briefcase, Camera, Handbag/Purse, Laptop (in carry bag), and other items not exceeding 36" in total dimension, Reading Matter, Small book-bag style backpack, and an Umbrella. In addition to generally allowing you to carry on one bag plus one personal item, many airlines may also allow you to carry on other items such as coats, hats and other 'outer clothing' items, 'assistive devices' such as crutches/canes and wheelchairs, diaper bags and approved child safety seats. Unlike checked luggage, where you can pay extra to carry heavier or bigger or more items, with carry on, there are no extra charges. If the airline enforces its carry-on rules, then your only option is to have the disallowed items checked. International flights often have much stricter carry-on policies, particularly with regard to the weight of carry-on bags. Although most domestic airlines have no limit on carry-on bag weight, internationally, you will find that some airlines set such ridiculously low carry-on weight limits (sometimes as little as 11 lbs) that the weight of an empty carry-on bag is more than the total weight you're allowed to take with you! You need to be aware of these rules, or else the next time you see someone desperately unpacking and repacking their luggage on the floor by the check in counter, that person might be you! International airlines may have smaller size limits on your carry on bags, too. If you want a bag that is always accepted on both domestic and international flights, you'll need to choose a size or two smaller than the maximum allowable domestic sizes. If your flight is on a really small plane, you might find that your luggage allowances for both checked and carry-on items are substantially reduced.
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