Thirteen pounds?!?

Thirteen pounds.

That’s the weight limit for your carry-on bag when you fly Virgin Atlantic.

Forget trying to smoosh everything into your compact carry-on bag, the weight restriction turns “traveling light” into a whole new ballgame.

We’ll be heading to Europe later this year and flying Premium Economy to London Heathrow, and our challenge will be in meeting this weight criteria.

Normally, I can pack light even in my sleep. But this will require me to be pretty consciencious; even for an old hack like me who has no trouble traveling with just one carry-on bag, that 13 pound restriction is a challenge I’ve never had to face.

Trust me, every single item I pack will be chosen carefully both for need and weight. Some things are already completely written out, like a spare pair of shoes.

What a challenge!

Can we do it? Stay tuned!


  1. Sounds like wearing the heaviest articles of clothing – and lots of layering – may be the solution 😉

  2. Is this really going to be that hard ? I routinely travel with a a bag that weighs in under 5kg, or 10+ pounds. Throw in a laptop ( or in today’s world, a lightweight netbook like the MSI Wind or eeePC ), and we are looking at 13-14 pounds. Since you are usually allowed to carry the laptop separately as a “personal bag”, there’s no problem at all.

  3. Chris — Actually there’s a slight rub with the weight requirement: London Heathrow is very strict about travelers only being allowed to carry ONE bag through security. That means one bag or one laptop bag or one purse or one camerabag… not “one carry-on and one personal bag.” I’ve spoken to a few folks who have been ordered by security at Heathrow to put their second bag in their first bag… or else the bigger of the two gets checked in.

    The main thing here is that Virgin allows people to carry a “regular size carry-on” with unusually odd weight requirements. A quick scan of threads at the Virgin Club forum at FlyerTalk will show you that some have been caught unawares.

    The trick here is that the bag itself needs to be as light as possible. I have a couple of candidates in mind and they weigh in at around 2 pounds empty. But for many travelers who are used to rolling uprights, most of those typically weigh around 7 pounds empty, so you can see how they will easily exceed the weight limit.

    Feel free to share your packing specs, Chris! Sounds like you’re a packing pro!

  4. Lani, if you haven’t already you might look at the Campmor Outdoor Products Essential Carryon. It’s a “convertable” bag with shoulder straps, 13x21x9, and weighs in at 1.75 pounds. It’s actually fairly well made and durable (although no MEI Voyageur or Executive Overnighter (both 3.4 pounds), but EXCELLENT quality), and it costs $30!

    Just a suggestion….

  5. Hey Skip — Hey, I think I might actually have one of those bags in my closet from way back!!

    If I recall it’s actually manufactured by Outdoor Products, and sold by Campmor (not a Campmor label). I’ll go check out your link, though, and see if it’s been updated any since. Hard to believe the price is still that low. Thanks much!

  6. Lani-yes, the price is pretty amazing. I’ve used mine for 4 or 5 trips, and it’s actually held up really well. (the zippers, shoulder straps, etc) I’ve got the two MEI bags I mentioned and they’re incredbly well built, 1000D codura, etc. But for the price the Campmor bag has been a really great deal. And with the newer weight restrictions they’re starting to put in, saving 2 pounds in the bag’s weight can be really helpful! I think we’re all going to see all the airlines dropping the weight they’ll let us carry on, so we have to look for every pound we can save!!


  7. Oh yes, the weight restriction on carryon bags on Virgin Atlantic…

    How I wish someone had told me about that BEFORE we got to Heathrow! See, Virgin didn’t impose that restriction on us at SFO when we went to London, and we didn’t know about it until we were at the counter, checking in for our flight home.

    We are blessed with children who love to read. And we found a terrific series of books in London, called Horrible Histories. We bought a lot of them. A LOT. (I’m proud to say that books were our major souvenir purchase!)

    Now, we know full well about baggage limitations, so all our checked bags were just under the weight limits. And all the books went into the carryon bags.

    I’ll bet you know what happened next!

    We had to repack. In front of everyone waiting behind us at the Virgin counter at Heathrow. One of the most memorable moments in my travel experience.

    It was really fortunate that we had packed a couple of empty duffle bags (we always do), so we threw stuff into those–and with having five travelers, being able to check an extra bag or two was easy–and it all worked out. (Although, I had to ponder exactly “why” this made so much difference because didn’t all the weight have to go onto the same plane, regardless of how many bags it was in or how much weight we were willing to take on the plane with us?)


    The thing that sort of frosted me was that once we passed through Security at Heathrow, we were turned loose in the duty-free shopping mall, which is extensive! You can buy lots of stuff there, and somehow, weight isn’t an issue any more because you carry whatever you buy onto the plane with you!

    Now how does that make sense?

  8. Does anyone know where you can buy the Campmor Outdoor Products Essential Carry On bag in Europe? Campmor wnot sell to the UK

  9. John — I did a quick Google Shopping search for “Outdoor Products Essential Carryon” and came up with a handful of online vendors. One of them was an outfit called Outdoor Pros, and their shipping policy page specifically mentioned that you can contact them for information about international orders. I suspect they may be limited to which countries they could ship to, and they probably need to discuss things like tariffs and customs.

    There were other vendors in the search results, and that was just restricting the search to Google-listed vendors. If you do a regular Google search you may find more vendors. If you check the shipping policy for each site, I bet some of them will ship overseas to the UK.

  10. Lani – thanks for the info re Campmor Outdoor Products Essential Carry on bag.
    You might be interested in a readable review by Toby Archer on a wheeled suitcase with hide away rucksack straps “UKGear – Optimus 40 from Berghaus” Berghaus are long standing respected outdoor equipment suppliers in the UK but best price of £60 here is a problem compared with the Campmor $30 in USA together with additional weight of 2.55Kg = 5.5lbs out of a 13 to 15lb airline carry on bag limit.

    To help with weight problem we buy newspaper in the airport and put any books etc in the sellers logo printed bag and have had no carry on problems with that so far. Also carry on coats can be useful but something else to carry of course.

  11. the design of the MSI Wind is similar to the basic netbooks you can find around. the price point of this netbook is cheaper than acer or dell netbooks `

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *