Is it true hiking backpacks are not allowed as cabin baggage in AirAsia flights?

12 March 2017 —
AirAsia caused a bit of a furor recently when they changed their Cabin Baggage policy to include the following statement: “Boxes and hiking backpacks are not considered as cabin baggage and must be checked in.”

It seems they quickly changed their minds and took down the statement, but not before some of their customers saw it and took to Facebook and Twitter to express dismay and/or ask for clarification.

Screenshot of the AirAsia policy uploaded on Twitter

The statement was even apparently up long enough on their website to be crawled by Google.

It appeared at the very top of Google search results back in 8 March 2017

Thankfully, it looks like AirAsia did reconsider that policy and they’ve decided that they will allow hiking backpacks as carry-on baggage as long as they meet their cabin bag specifications, whether the backpack is 30L…

…or 40L…

…or even apparently 50L…

…or 60L…

…so long as when you travel, you can somehow get its specs in cm to pass muster. (Hopefully it doesn’t have a rigid frame…)

What hasn’t changed is AirAsia’s new cabin baggage policy that states that each passenger can bring, as carry-on, one cabin bag and one small bag — which could be a laptop bag, handbag, backpack, or any other small bag — as long as the total weight of the two pieces do not exceed 7 kg.

Screenshot of AirAsia website

And if you can’t quite believe that, the @AskAirAsia Twitter account has confirmed that, yes, the 7 kg refers to the combined weight of the two bags.

Twitter screenshot

As for boxes — which were also mentioned in the statement that was subsequently taken down by AirAsia — it looks like you can bring a box if it will fit under the seat in front of you.

So before booking with AirAsia — or at least before declining to purchase checked baggage allowance — probably try to weigh your empty cabin bag and small bag first, and see if what’s left of your cabin baggage allowance is enough for your trip needs.

Well played, AirAsia.