Important Facts on One Hand Luggage Policy for UPSC Prelims

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is in charge of security at airports, has demanded stricter implementation of the “one hand bag” policy.

About the policy

According to circulars issued by Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), no passenger should be permitted to carry more than one hand baggage. The bag can weigh between 7kg to 12kg depending on the airline and whether it is economy class or business class.


  • If a passenger is travelling with baby, child’s food, basket, feeding bottle, is allowed.
  • For those dependent, a collapsible wheelchair or pair of crutches or braces are allowed.
  • Certain personal items like ladies purse, umbrella, walking stick, camera or binoculars, reading material such as books, overcoat are exempted.
  • Some airlines also allow items like duty-free shopping bags for free of cost.

Need for strict implementation

  • The policy is openly flouted and it is observed that on an average a passenger carries 2-3 hand bags, including small trolley to the screening point.
  • This led to increased delays, congestion in PESC [pre-embarkation security check] point.
  • It raises security concerns along with creating inconvenience to the passengers.
  • To avoid such issues, there should be strict implementation of the policy by the airlines.


  • Airlines are worried, as the onus is on them to inform passengers and to display “one hand bag rule’ on their tickets / boarding passes very conspicuously.
  • Airlines may be made responsible and forced to depute staff to guide passengers, check their hand bag status before allowing them for pre-embarkation security checks.
  • This may lead to a lot of arguments between the passengers and the airline staff.

Global scenario

Baggage rules are nationally and internationally common though some exceptions may be brought in by local government. Similarly, baggage eligibility in terms of weight and number of pieces are determined by respective airlines that are driven by commercial considerations.