Nothing changes. You can still carry 1 Handbag and one purse/laptop bag on your flight!

There has been much confusion created by a new circular put out in circulation today, where a higher-up of India’s paramilitary service, which largely provides security at major airports in India, has reminded airport security regulator Bureau of Civil Aviation Security about the one-hand-baggage rule.

The missive, produced below, reminds the aviation security regulator that people are travelling with many handbags nowadays, and they seem to think this is the reason that baggage security takes time and people crowd the security area. Not investing in important technology such as Automatic Tray Retrieval System where instead of human segregation, AI and rule-based segregation of trays is not the reason, in their view.


Anyhow, the missive was written to all stakeholders clearly states that people travel with more than one bag, and they want the airlines to take responsibility for reminding customers and ensuring that customers don’t fly with many handbags as it takes the security staff more time to clear them.

But it in no way takes away your rights as they presently exist. At the moment, the following are allowed for you to carry onboard a plane:

  • One piece of hand baggage is 115 cm in dimensions (length x breadth x height).
    • Government rules don’t specify the weight allowance, but airline rules usually prescribe 7 kg weight of a handbag
  • This is exclusive of the following items:
    • Lady’s Handbag
    • An Overcoat or wrap
    • A rug or Blanket
    • A Camera or a pair of binoculars
    • A reasonable amount of reading material for the flight (open, not in a bag)
    • Umbrella or walking stick
    • Infant’s feed if an infant is being carried on the flight
    • A gift item purchased from a duty-free shop.
  • A Laptop computer is allowed to be taken as a separate item with one hand baggage onboard a civil flight.

Here are the government circulars (also referred to in the missive above), which specify these allowances.

You have to remember that you can’t be having tons and tons of different handbags going forward, at least till the buzz of this reminder dies down. 1 Hand Bag + 1 Personal Effect is fine, though.


If you are travelling on a domestic flight, please expect some pushback from airlines going forward. However, you can still carry one bag plus a personal effect on the plane. Otherwise, you can always come back and download the circulars and show them to the airlines or security apparatus if you get resistance from them.

What do you think of the new guidance from the Government of India for your handbags?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Thank you for the informaation AJAY, much obliged.

    May I ask you whether you are replying to the question of hand luggage as an authority on the matter?

    Best regards.

  2. Hey Ajay,

    The last time I flew, it was from Indore to Bangalore. One thing that was observed was the huge amount of cabin baggage and the size of that baggage was also very big and yet there were no checks related to the hand baggage performed by the airline staff because it seemed that a lot of luggage were exceeding the 7kg limit and also the dimensions.

    Perhaps time for the airline to start checking hand luggage? The crew instructed the passengers to keep their backpacks under the seats but during take-off it was observed that a lot of passengers were keeping the backpacks on their lap which was a gross safety violation and yet the crew did not enforce the safety policy properly.

    Being efficient and on time is important, but never at the cost of safety.

    I appreciate flying with the airline, but customer satisfaction should never come at the expense of safety norms as this would impact any evacuation procedures.

    Perhaps this is something that should be kept in mind. And also it’s a good time to start checking the weight and size of cabin baggage taken on board the aircraft as well to avoid such incidents in the future.

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