Carry On Luggage Size: TSA and Airline Dimensions

Scroll this

Some of the most common travel-related questions we receive revolve around carryon luggage size and weight.

What size bag are you allowed to bring as a carry on? How many bags can you carry on? Is there a difference in policy between domestic flights and international flights?

 When traveling domestically or abroad, it’s extremely important to know what size carry on luggage you can bring with you on the plane. In most, you are allowed one carry-on and one personal item on domestic or international flights– whether they are free or charged is completely up to the airline. There isn’t a set size and weight regulation by the TSA, allowable carry-on baggage size differs from airline to airline and even between economy, business and first class.

For most domestic carriers in the U.S., the carry on luggage maximum size ranges from 45 linear inches to 51 linear inches and only Hawaiian airlines has a set weight limit (25 lbs). 

Visit this page on Amazon for TSA Approved Travel Luggage.

MAXIMUM DIMENSIONS FOR YOUR CARRY-ON LUGGAGE BY DOMESTIC AIRLINE:

United Airlines    9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels. (may not exceed 45 linear inches)
American Airlines  22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches / 23 x 36 x 56 centimeters (including handles and wheels) (may not exceed 45 linear inches)
Southwest Airlines  10 inches x 16 inches x 24 inches (may not exceed 50 linear inches)
Alaska Airlines   24 inches x  10 inches x 17 inches (61cm x 25cm x 43cm), including wheels and handles (may not exceed 51 linear inches)
Delta Airlines  22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches (56 x 35 x  23 cm) (Carry-on bags may not exceed 45 linear inches in combined length x width x height)
JetBlue  22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches, including wheels/handles (may not exceed 50 linear inches)
Hawaiian Airlines   9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches  (may not exceed 45 linear inches) Weight limit of 25 lbs per passenger (the only airline on the list with a weight limit for carry-ons)
Spirit Airlines  22 inches x 18 inches x10 inches (may not exceed 50 linear inches)
Virgin America   24 inches x 16 inches x 10 inches (may not exceed 50 linear inches)
Allegiant Airlines  22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches (may not exceed 45 linear inches)
Horizon Air  24 inches x  10 inches x 17 inches (61cm x 25cm x 43cm), including wheels and handles (may not exceed 51 linear inches)
Frontier Airlines   24 inches x 16 inches x 10 inches (may not exceed 50 linear inches)
Sun Country  24 inches x 16 inches x 11 inches (may not exceed 51 linear inches)

Here are the maximum carry on size and weight restrictions for a select number of international airlines:

Lufthansa Airlines  21.7 inches x 15.7 inches x 9 inches (may not exceed 17.6 lbs)
Air France   21.7 inches x 13.8 inches x 9.9 inches (carry on and personal item may not exceed 12 pounds combined)
KLM Royal Dutch Airline  21.5 inches x 13.5 inches x 10 inches
Emirates   For economy class 1 bag 22 inches x 15 inches x 8 inches  (may not exceed 15 pounds) For first class one briefcase at 8 inches x 14 inches x 8 inches and either a handbag at 22 inches x 15 inches x 8 inches or a garment bag that may not exceed 8 inches thick w
Qatar Airways  18 inches x 15 inches x 10 inches (may not exceed 15 pounds)  
Singapore Airlines  45.2 linear inches (may not exceed 15.4 pounds) 
Volaris  22.4 inches x 15.7 inches x 12.9 inches (may not exceed 15.4 pounds)
Cathay Pacific  22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches (may not exceed 15 pounds)
Aeromexico  22 inches x 14 inches x 8 inches ( may not exceed 22 pounds)
Air Canada  21.5 inches x 15.5 inches x 9 inches 


How To Measure Your Carry On Luggage

Knowing the dimensions you can bring on is one thing, but it won’t help if you don’t know how airlines measure luggage. It is important to note that both handles and wheels are included in the measurement. The airline will measure your luggage from the contact point with the ground, whether that’s the wheels or the bottom of the bag, to the highest point (which may be a handle, zipper, ect).

  1. Height: measure your luggage from the contact point with the ground, whether that’s the wheels or the bottom of the bag, to the highest point (which may be a handle, zipper, ect).
  2. Width:  Lay it on its side and measure from the ground to the top point to find the width (remember to include straps, handles, and side pockets)
  3. Depth:  Lay the suitcase on the front or back and repeat to find the depth.
  4. Math: Add them together to find the total linear inches – Most airlines have a maximum of 45 to 51 linear inches.  If your luggage exceeds this, you may have to check it.

Our Picks: The Best Carry On Luggage

What bags are best to use as carry on luggage? That will completely depend on style, needs and budget. Some people will be perfectly happy with a carry on bag that is much smaller than the maximum allowable dimensions while others will want to squeeze on every last inch of space possible. At TSA Travel Tips, we have several suggested bags depending upon your needs.

Best Budget (and Reviewed) Hardside Carry On Luggage

Amazon Basics 20 Inch Spinner

Amazon covers all the, ahem, basics with this wheeled, hardside luggage. While you may be able to get away with the 24 inch version on certain domestic airlines, the 20 inch size should be eligible for carry on all domestic and international flights (provided you don’t fill it with bricks). It looks great, is well reviewed and is the best selling carry on bag on Amazon. Bonus, they sell three different sizes and a three-piece set in case you need to upgrade your checked baggage too.

Not everyone is looking for a budget option in luggage, and there may be some truth to the old adage – you get what you pay for (to a certain extent).

TUMI Carry On Luggage: TUMI Alpha 2

 

TUMI is a popular choice for business travelers. The TUMI Alpha 2 is expensive, but it is extremely well made and very durable. If you are not a fan of the soft style of the Alpha 2, TUMI makes several well reviewed hardsided bags as well. 

Samsonite Hardside Luggage Sets

Samsonite offers a nice middle ground in price between the Amazon Basics line and brands like TUMI. They offer a pretty wide variety of styles to suit almost every taste.

Gate Checked Bags

Remember, even if your bag fits within your airlines specified dimensions and weight limit, you may still be asked to check or gate check your bag if the flight is full or it is an older, smaller plane.  Not all planes have large enough overhead storage compartments to accommodate full sized carry on luggage.  However, if you checked ahead and are sure your bag is eligible, you should not be assessed an extra fee in these circumstances.

Submit a comment

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