Airline Carry-On Luggage Size Guide

Utilizing carry-on luggage can be extremely useful for many flyers. Some airlines offer carry-on as a free or low-cost option instead of a checked bag, and some flyers prefer to pack light and avoid having to deal with baggage claim. However, not every bag can be used as a carry-on. There are rules in place from airline to airline that determine how large the bag may be. Carry-on luggage that you would use domestically is often sized a little different than luggage that can be used for international flights, so it is important to find accurate, acceptable dimensions when planning what baggage to use for a carry-on. By doing this, you will avoid a stressful and potentially expensive situation when you get ready to board your flight.

Airline Carry-On Luggage Sizes

AirlineDimensions (in)Weight (lbs)Dimensions (cm)Weight (kg)CHESTER Minima
AeroMexico22 x 14 x 92255 x 35 x 2210
Air Canada21.5 x 15.5 x 92254 x 39 x 2210
Air France21.7 x 13.8 x 9.92255 x 35 x 2510
Air New Zealand46.5 total linear15118 total linear7
AirTran Airways24 x 16 x 10--60 x 40 x 25--
Alaska Airlines22 x 14 x 9--55 x 35 x 22--
Alitalia21.7 x 13.8 x 9.917.655 x 35 x 258
Allegiant Air16 x 15 x 7--40 x 38 x 18--
All Nippon Airways22 x 16 x 102255 x 40 x 2510
American Airlines22 x 14 x 9--55 x 35 x 22--
British Airways22 x 16 x 105156 x 45 x 2523
Cathay Pacific22 x 14 x 91556 x 36 x 237
Delta Airlines22 x 14 x 9--55 x 35 x 22--
EL AL Airlines21.2 x 17.7 x 9.815.453 x 44 x 247
Emirates22 x 15 x 81555 x 38 x 207
Frontier Airlines24 x 16 x 103560 x 40 x 2516
Hawaiian Airlines22 x 14 x 92555 x 35 x 2211
IATA21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5--54 x 34 x 19--
Icelandair21.6 x 15.7 x 7.8--54 x 39 x 19--
Japan Airlines22 x 16 x 102255 x 40 x 2510
JetBlue Airways22 x 14 x 9--55 x 35 x 22--
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines21.5 x 13.5 x 102654 x 34 x 2512
Korean Air21.6 x 15.7 x 7.82554 x 39 x 1911
Lufthansa21.6 x 15.7 x 91754 x 39 x 228
Norwegian Air21.6 x 15.7 x 93355 x 40 x 2310-15
Philippine Airlines45 total linear15114 total linear7
Qantas Airways45 total linear15114 total linear7
Saudi Arabian Airlines45 total linear19.8114 total linear9
Scandinavian Airlines22 x 16 x 91855 x 40 x 228
Singapore Airlines45 total linear15114 total linear7
Southwest Airlines24 x 16 x 10--60 x 40 x 25--
Spirit Airlines22 x 18 x 10--55 x 45 x 25--
Sun Country Airlines24 x 16 x 113560 x 40 x 2716
Thai Airways22 x 18 x 101555 x 45 x 257
United Airlines22 x 14 x 9--55 x 35 x 22--
Virgin Atlantic22 x 14 x 92255 x 35 x 2210

*- – indicates no weight limit listed. All measurements and weights assume the US as the point of origin, coach or economy class.

What Is Carry-On Luggage?

Carry-on luggage is a specific type of luggage that is sized in a manner that passengers can carry into the cabin of an airplane. It is usually stowed in overhead storage containers, but in some instances, small items may be kept under a seat. Carry-on luggage is smaller than many standard suitcases, but often has plenty of room to pack for a small trip. For shorter trips, using carry-on luggage can be a time saver, since the passenger doesn’t have to spend time checking a bag, or waiting for it to come through the carousel after a flight. Plus, it can take away the worry of having luggage lost or delayed during a flight since you will have everything with you the entire trip.

What Is International Carry-On Luggage?

International carry-on luggage is very similar to standard carry-on bags; however, the sizing is often slightly different. International carry-on luggage allows passengers to bring their items along on a flight without having to check a bag. International carry-on luggage is smaller than most standard carry-on sizes as they are meant to fit the cabin of smaller European planes and private jets. Also, for extremely long trips, many passengers will choose to bring a carry-on bag as well as checked bags. The checked bags allow you to carry enough gear for a long journey, but utilizing a carry-on bag means that you don’t have to worry about being without a change of clothes or needed medication if luggage is delayed.

What Size Is Carry-On Luggage?

There are many different styles and sizes of carry-on luggage. However, you are usually limited by a maximum size. There is an overall combined limit and a “per side” limit, so it is important to measure each side. Though it can vary from airline to airline, the typical size is 24″ x 16″ x 9″ or a combined limit of 45 inches. Additionally, some airlines may have weight limits in place. It is vital that anyone planning to bring a bag on board checks the limits by their particular airline, as the sizing can vary and is subject to change. You will also need to make sure it fits through TSA scanning machines and it meets other airport security requirements.

What Is The TSA Carry-On Size Limit?

The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) does put some limits in place regarding what items can be carried on board an airplane. However, the TSA does not place restrictions on the size of carry-on baggage–this is, instead, left to the airlines themselves. As such, following the limits set by your airline is perfectly acceptable. In addition to measuring the bag yourself, you will likely find “bag holders” at the airport that you can use to check the size of your bag and make sure that it fits and will not give you any problems when the time comes to board your flight.

How Do You Calculate Carry-On Luggage Dimensions?

When you review the allowed size limit for carry-on bags, you’ll usually see it displayed as L x W x H. The first number is the longest edge, the second number is the “width” or medium-sized edge, and the final number is what would generally be referred to as the depth, but it is the shortest edge. Make sure when measuring that you include wheels or handles to assure no problems upon check-in. Some airlines calculate using a linear measurement which is one number. You come up with this number by adding the three above measurements together.

What Is The Weight Limit For Carry-On Luggage?

When thinking about carry-on luggage, you usually hear about a size limit, but most airlines have a weight limit as well. By imposing a weight limit on bags, the airline can keep costs down and avoid over-burdening the airplane. Airlines can choose this limit, so you’ll want to check with your specific airline to make sure you know the weight. Weigh your bag immediately before leaving home, to make sure you didn’t add anything that would cause you to go over the limit.

What Is A Personal Item?

In addition to your carry-on bag, most airlines allow you to bring a personal item too. This item may be a purse, diaper bag or small tote with snacks. Another option for a personal item would be a bag holding a computer or tablet. These items should be small enough, and most airlines require they be able to be stowed under the seat in front of you during takeoff and landing. If you have questions as to whether something would be acceptable as a personal item, check with your specific airline before you decide how to pack. Don’t forget to tag this personal item as you would tag your luggage with a luggage tag.

What Is Allowed In A Carry-On?

While the airlines set the requirements for carry-on size and weight, the TSA does have rules regarding what items you are allowed to bring on a carry-on bag or as a personal item. Some of the rules include no weapons (or things that could be utilized as weapons such as box cutters), no aerosol cans, no lighters, limited alcohol and no liquids larger than 3.4 ounces (this is the TSA 3-1-1 rule). There are other rules in place that cover specific items, so if you have any questions or are concerned about a particular item, checking the TSA website is recommended.

Final Thoughts On Carry-On Luggage

While carry-on sizes and rules may seem a bit complex, it’s not that difficult once you’ve seen it in action. The most important thing to remember is that each airline will have different rules and there may be specific requirements set by the TSA too. Check the website for your particular airline and make sure you have the up-to-date and correct information. When you do this and prepare ahead by obtaining a bag that fits the requirements, you’ll be assured a stress-free boarding and flight.

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