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.
Carry-On Luggage Dimensions
|Airline||Dimensions (in)||Weight (lbs)||Dimensions (cm)||Weight (kg)||CHESTER Minima|
|AeroMexico||22 x 14 x 9||22||55 x 35 x 22||10|
|Air Canada||21.5 x 15.5 x 9||22||54 x 39 x 22||10|
|Air France||21.7 x 13.8 x 9.9||22||55 x 35 x 25||10|
|Air New Zealand||46.5 total linear||15||118 total linear||7|
|AirTran Airways||24 x 16 x 10||--||60 x 40 x 25||--|
|Alaska Airlines||22 x 14 x 9||--||55 x 35 x 22||--|
|Alitalia||21.7 x 13.8 x 9.9||17.6||55 x 35 x 25||8|
|Allegiant Air||16 x 15 x 7||--||40 x 38 x 18||--|
|All Nippon Airways||22 x 16 x 10||22||55 x 40 x 25||10|
|American Airlines||22 x 14 x 9||--||55 x 35 x 22||--|
|Avianca Airlines||22 x 14 x 10||--||55 x 35 x 25||--|
|British Airways||22 x 16 x 10||51||56 x 45 x 25||23|
|Cathay Pacific||22 x 14 x 9||15||56 x 36 x 23||7|
|Delta Airlines||22 x 14 x 9||--||55 x 35 x 22||--|
|EL AL Airlines||21.2 x 17.7 x 9.8||15.4||53 x 44 x 24||7|
|Emirates||22 x 15 x 8||15||55 x 38 x 20||7|
|Frontier Airlines||24 x 16 x 10||35||60 x 40 x 25||16|
|Hawaiian Airlines||22 x 14 x 9||25||55 x 35 x 22||11|
|IATA||21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5||--||54 x 34 x 19||--|
|Icelandair||21.6 x 15.7 x 7.8||--||54 x 39 x 19||--|
|Japan Airlines||22 x 16 x 10||22||55 x 40 x 25||10|
|JetBlue Airways||22 x 14 x 9||--||55 x 35 x 22||--|
|KLM Royal Dutch Airlines||21.5 x 13.5 x 10||26||54 x 34 x 25||12|
|Korean Air||21.6 x 15.7 x 7.8||25||54 x 39 x 19||11|
|Lufthansa||21.6 x 15.7 x 9||17||54 x 39 x 22||8|
|Norwegian Air||21.6 x 15.7 x 9||33||55 x 40 x 23||10-15|
|Philippine Airlines||45 total linear||15||114 total linear||7|
|Qantas Airways||45 total linear||15||114 total linear||7|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines||45 total linear||19.8||114 total linear||9|
|Scandinavian Airlines||22 x 16 x 9||18||55 x 40 x 22||8|
|Singapore Airlines||45 total linear||15||114 total linear||7|
|Southwest Airlines||24 x 16 x 10||--||60 x 40 x 25||--|
|Spirit Airlines||22 x 18 x 10||--||55 x 45 x 25||--|
|Sun Country Airlines||24 x 16 x 11||35||60 x 40 x 27||16|
|Thai Airways||22 x 18 x 10||15||55 x 45 x 25||7|
|United Airlines||22 x 14 x 9||--||55 x 35 x 22||--|
|Virgin Atlantic||22 x 14 x 9||22||55 x 35 x 22||10|
*- – 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 your suitcase 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 and dimensions are 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 the 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 onboard 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 onboard 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 as there is no TSA carry-on size. 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 you measure each dimension at its widest point. For example, make sure when measuring that you include wheels or handles to assure no problems upon check-in.
Linear Inches Calculation
Linear inches is a term invented by the airline industry to measure carry-on luggage. Although not common, some airlines calculate luggage dimensions using a linear measurement vs a standard L x W x H. Linear inches simply means the sum total of your bag’s length, width and height, therefore, L + W + H. Again, make sure you measure each dimension at its widest point including wheels and handles. As a general rule, US airlines permit luggage that measures a total of 45 linear inches (115 centimeters). If you need help finding the TSA carry-on size and dimensions, use the above guide as a reference.
What is The Weight Limit For Carry-On Luggage?
When thinking about the carry-on luggage, you usually hear about a size limit, but some airlines have a weight limit as well. For many major domestic airlines, there are no weight restrictions for carry-on bags. You just need to be able to stow your luggage above your head into the storage bin. Flights on small planes and international airlines may be stricter with your carry-on weight and may only accommodate lighter smaller bags. Passengers who attempt to board with larger bags may be required to check them.
Even if airlines do list a specific carry-on weight limit, they likely won’t weigh your carry-on bags. 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.
Can I Bring More Than One Carry-On?
Unfortunately, you are only allowed one carry-on item and a personal item on all airlines. If you have more than one you will need to check in your luggage and baggage fees may apply. So what are those fees? Check our baggage fee policies below.
Airline Baggage Fee Guidelines
All airlines have their own specific baggage policy with additional fees for different sizes and weight in the case you do need to check in your carry-on or check-in additional luggage. Below we have collected the different baggage fee guidelines for the most popular airlines.
FAQs on Carry-On Luggage Size
Is a 22-inch Carry-On Too Big?
Most airlines can accommodate a 22-inch carry-on. Regardless, make sure to check what plane you are flying on and each airline requirement before heading out with your carry-on.
Is a 24-inch Carry-On Too Big?
Most airlines can accommodate a 24-inch carry-on, but not all. Generally, a carry-on suitcase measuring 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches would be the most widely accepted size.
Do Airlines Check Carry-On Size?
Generally, most airlines don’t check carry-on size. If a flight is full or the attendants at the gate start seeing large personal items, they will start selectively screening carry-ons. This size screening ensures your bag will be able to be stored safely in the overhead bin for your flight.
Do Carry-On Bags Get Searched?
Per the TSA, the TSA screens approximately 5 million carry-on bags for explosives and other dangerous items daily. You will be asked to remove personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone from your carry-on bag and place them into a bin with nothing placed on or under them for X-ray screening. In addition to screening personal electronic devices separately, the TSA may instruct travelers to separate other items from carry-on bags such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine. If any additional screening is necessary, you will be pulled aside and checked by a TSA agent.
What is The Standard Carry-On Size Dimension?
The standard carry-on dimensions for most carry-on bags are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches. Make sure to check each airline requirement before heading out with your carry-on.
What is Not Allowed in a Carry-On Bag?
For starters, be aware of prohibited items, including liquid containers greater than 3.4 ounces as this is against the TSA 3-1-1 rule. These are not allowed on airplanes and you will be asked to discard these if they are packed in your carry-on luggage. No weapons or items that could be potentially used as a weapon are allowed, either. This includes not just obvious weapons, such as knives and firearms, but items like scissors or box cutters as well.
What is The Best Carry-On Luggage?
If you’re looking for hard-sided luggage, the CHESTER Minima Carry-On is a top pick. The modern suitcase features spinner wheels, so it’s easy to transport and comes in a range of colors. The aerospace-grade polycarbonate shell is so durable, Minima will hold up for years to come. You can check our best carry-on guide if want to view other options.
Why You Need the Correct Size Carry-On
Airlines have baggage size restrictions in place for good reason. Most importantly, the overhead storage bins on an airplane are only designed to hold so much luggage. To be sure that every passenger will have room for his or her carry-on bags, airlines must impose size restrictions. These bins can also only accommodate bags that fit specific dimensions, so a bag that is too long or too wide will not be able to fit in the overhead storage compartments on an airplane, thus causing additional headaches and delays for the flight crew and other passengers.
By making sure you have the correct size carry-on ahead of time, you can avoid causing problems or delays on your flight. Furthermore, you’ll enjoy some additional benefits by using a properly sized affordable carry-on bag.
Avoid Excess Baggage Fees
Most airlines won’t take the time to measure your carry-on bag at the gate, but if you get aboard the flight and are unable to stow your carry-on or if a member of the flight crew can see that your carry-on is too large at the gate, you may have no choice but to check your bag.
And while some airlines do allow some free checked baggage per-passenger, many airlines still charge per bag—especially on long-haul or international flights. Even if you are flying with an airline that allows some free checked baggage, having to unexpectedly check your carry-on bag could send you over your allowance and result in you paying additional fees. These could be easily avoided by simply checking the size of your carry-on ahead of time.
Keep Your Belongings With You
When you’re forced to check a bag that you originally planned on carrying aboard the flight, you may also find yourself without many of the items you had packed to keep you entertained during your journey. Snacks, your tablet, headphones, and other items may end up inaccessible in the airplane’s cargo bay. As a result, you may find yourself without some of your personal belongings until you can retrieve your bag at the luggage carousel after your flight.
This can become even more of an issue if you have prescription medications or other important items packed in your oversized carry-on bag, so it’s always best to check (and then double check!) that your carry-on luggage conforms to your airline’s specific size limits.
Avoid Potential Delays
Unfortunately, most airline passengers don’t discover that their carry-on bag is too large until they arrive at the gate to board the plane—or even after they’ve boarded the plane. When a bag is too large to be carried on, the flight crew must divert their attention and resources to getting the bag properly checked. This can in-turn cause a flight delay, especially if many passengers have carry-on bags that are too large. Avoid being “that person” on your next flight by checking your airline’s carry-on size requirements ahead of time and checking to be sure that your bag conforms to those maximum dimensions.
Cut Down on Stress While Traveling
Packing for a trip and getting from point A to point B can be stressful enough without having to worry about whether your luggage brand is going to fit in the overhead bin on the airplane. If you do show up with a carry-on bag that’s too large, you’ll be asked to check it and pay any necessary fees. From there, you may need to grab some essential items out of your carry-on bag (such as your phone, wallet, and ID) before handing it over to be checked. This can be stressful when it’s an unexpected part of your travel—and of course, the unplanned baggage fees could hinder some of the plans you had for your trip if you’re on a tight budget.
Boarding a flight with a carry-on that’s too large can not only be stressful, but downright embarrassing. Embark on your next trip with confidence by checking the baggage size restrictions for your airline ahead of time and making sure your luggage is in compliance. Keep in mind that most airlines won’t check the size of your carry-on bag at the check-in counter or even at the gate, so you could make it all the way onto the airplane before making the realization that your bag is too large and needs to be checked. The good news is that this stress and hassle is easily avoidable with the right carry-on luggage, like getting a smaller European size carry-on or the CHESTER Minima Carry-On.
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 planning your trip. 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.