A Carry-on Luggage Size Guide by Airline (2023)

The vacation countdown is almost over, and it's time to get packing. Before you print that boarding pass and set your out-of-office message, though, it's important to conduct a bit of research to avoid any hiccups at the gate — especially with your cargo. Though many travel rules vary depending on what region of the world you're heading to or from, carry-on luggage size limits remain a consistent, steadfast metric for the vast majority of airlines.

Sure, you might occasionally be able to sneak onboard with a bag that's a bit oversized or overweight, but it's always smarter to plan ahead. To ensure you get from point A to point B smoothly, choosing the best carry-on luggage to fit the fine print will make for less travel stress. Skip the Googling and follow this guide to know what size suitcase to bring on your next trip — no TSA bargaining, pleading, or, worst of all, last-minute checking required.

To get started, let's begin with these frequently asked questions.

What size is carry-on luggage?

Though you might find an inch or two of a difference with various airlines, the standard domestic carry-on luggage size is 22" x 14" x 9", which includes the handle and the wheels. This size limit ensures your bag — and ideally everyone else's — will be able to be stored safely in the overhead bin for your flight. By far, the biggest benefit of traveling with carry-on luggage is being able to transport your belongings yourself without entrusting them to the airline and hoping they'll arrive at your destination on time and in one, undamaged piece.

A Carry-on Luggage Size Guide by Airline (1)

What is the weight limit for carry-on luggage?

For many major domestic airlines — think: Delta, Southwest, JetBlue — there are no weight restrictions for carry-on bags. You'll just have to be able to lift it above your head into the storage bin. And in most cases, even if airlines do list a specific pound or kilogram limit on their websites, they likely won't weigh your carry-on bags. As long as your pack doesn't appear to be overstuffed, you're probably OK. Weight is much more important for small commuter planes, mostly due to safety regulations.

What is a personal item?

In addition to your carry-on suitcase, many airlines also allow a personal item. This can be a laptop bag, a purse, a briefcase, a beach bag — whatever you like, as long as it is generally small. Personal item restrictions vary by airline, and some choose not to include any specifics at all. In those cases, the general rule of thumb is an item smaller in dimension and weight than your carry-on bag. For families flying with a stroller or diaper bag or those traveling with uncommon additions like a wedding dress or an instrument can rest assured that most carriers will let you bring these along with your carry-on luggage and your personal item, but we recommend you contact the airline in advance to confirm this.

What is the best carry-on luggage?

As with any travel gear, everyone has a different opinion on the best luggage brands, but the best buy for you is ultimately the one that suits your needs as a traveler. If you're constantly on the road, invest in a durable bag that can keep up. If you take one or two vacations a year, you can go with something more affordable. These days, you don't have to stick to legacy brands to get a quality suitcase. Many up-and-comers offer some really solid options whether you prefer softside or hardside luggage, two-wheel rollaboards or four-wheel spinners. Before you buy, take note of the dimensions in comparison with the airlines you prefer to fly to be sure you're shopping on the safe side.

What is allowed in a carry-on bag?

What you put in your carry-on bag is regulated, as well. In addition to the same rules that apply to checked bags, which prohibit firearms, lithium batteries, and other potentially hazardous items, you must be mindful of liquids when packing your carry-on luggage. Regardless of your destination, you cannot bring containers of liquid, paste, aerosol, gel, or cream larger than 3.4 ounces through security. Make sure to check the specific rules of your carrier, too, so you won't be forced to throw anything away at the gate.

What is the standard international carry-on size?

To be sure your bag is accepted on all carriers, you'll want to get a suitcase that stands at 21'' or less. It's especially smart to look into luggage size restrictions when you're flying with smaller, regional airlines outside of the U.S. as each is able to set its own limits.

(Video) New guidelines proposed for size of carry-on luggage

A Carry-on Luggage Size Guide by Airline (2)

Keep reading for the best carry-on luggage to buy based on different airlines' size restrictions.

Alaska Airlines

  • Carry-on luggage size: 22'' x 14'' x 9''
  • Carry-on luggage weight maximum: not specified
  • Personal item: one personal item such as a purse, briefcase, or laptop bag

Best carry-on to bring: eBags Fortis Pro Carry-On Spinner - USB

A Carry-on Luggage Size Guide by Airline (3)

This bag perfectly fits Alaska Airlines' carry-on luggage size requirement, so you'll be able to maximize space. Plus, at less than eight pounds, it's a particularly lightweight bag that is easy to maneuver.

To buy: ebags.com, $250

Allegiant Air

  • Carry-on luggage size: 22'' x 14'' x 9''; fee applies ($10-75)
  • Carry-on luggage weight maximum: not specified
  • Personal item: 7'' x 15'' x 16''

Best carry-on to bring: Away 'The Everywhere Bag'

When booking with a budget airline, it's imperative to read the fine print. In most cases, when the low fare seems like steal, traveling light is the only way to keep it that way. With Allegiant, your personal item is free, but there's a fee for your carry-on, so pack this duffel to keep your trip affordable.

To buy: awaytravel.com, $165

American Airlines

  • Carry-on luggage size: 22'' x 14'' x 10''
  • Carry-on luggage weight maximum: not specified
  • Personal item: 18'' x 14'' x 8''; must fit under the seat in front of you

Best carry-on to bring: Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 Spinner Suiter Suitcase

A Carry-on Luggage Size Guide by Airline (4)

(Video) These are the Size & Weight Restrictions for Carry-on Luggage

American Airlines' fares include both a carry-on and personal item, even in Basic Economy. The sizing is the only thing that's standard about this Travelpro spinner, though. It's decked out with features — a fold-down garment bag, magnet-aligned wheels, etc. — and you can watch us demo them all in the above video.

To buy: amazon.com, $186

Delta Air Lines

  • Carry-on luggage size: 22'' x 14'' x 9''
  • Carry-on luggage weight maximum: not specified
  • Personal item: one purse, briefcase, camera bag, or diaper bag

There are three exceptions:

Singapore, Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN): 15 pounds or 7 kg

Beijing, Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK): 22 pounds or 10 kg for domestic travel

Shanghai, Pudong International Airport (PVG): 22 pounds or 10 kg

Best carry-on to bring: Briggs & Riley CX Domestic Carry-on Expandable Spinner

A Carry-on Luggage Size Guide by Airline (5)

Though pricey, few luggage brands are as trusted as much as Briggs & Riley — its products all come with a lifetime guarantee. In addition to the sleek, modern design, this suitcase expands, creating maximum space inside. Eight spinner wheels allow for comfortable rolling on international and long-haul trips.

To buy: briggs-riley.com, $599

Frontier Airlines

  • Carry-on luggage size: 24'' x 16'' x 10''
  • Carry-on luggage weight maximum: 35 pounds
  • Personal item: 8'' x 18'' x 14''

Best carry-on to bring: Filson Dryden Carry-on Suitcase

A Carry-on Luggage Size Guide by Airline (6)

(Video) Everything you need to know about carry-on luggage rules | What the airlines don't want you to know!

Since Frontier offers a bit more cushion in its carry-on luggage size restrictions, use it to your advantage with this two-wheel carry-on by Filson. It's made with abrasion-resistant ballistic nylon, which means it can get roughed up trekking along unpaved roads in Thailand, Bali, or Colombia and still last for years. The additional compression straps ensure everything inside stays put during turbulence, too.

To buy: nordstrom.com, $325

Hawaiian Airlines

  • Carry-on luggage size: 45 linear inches
  • Carry-on luggage weight maximum: 25 pounds
  • Personal item: one purse, briefcase, laptop bag, backpack, or similar piece; must fit under the seat in front of you

Best carry-on to bring: Calpak Ambeur Rolling Spinner Carry-on

A Carry-on Luggage Size Guide by Airline (7)

If you're flying to a tropical oasis like Hawaii, you might want a carry-on to match those rose-colored views you're dreaming of. Calpak's affordable spinner is finished in stylish rose gold, with a chic navy interior. It's lightweight, too, at only seven pounds, so you won't have to worry so much about staying under that 25-pound limit.

To buy: net-a-porter.com, $165

JetBlue

  • Carry-on luggage size: 22'' x 14'' x 9''
  • Carry-on luggage weight: None specified
  • Personal item: 17'' x 13'' x 8''

Best carry-on to bring: Eagle Creek Tarmac 22-inch Carry-on

There's a reason JetBlue has such a cult following: not only does it give guests more legroom, but it alleviates a bit of the carry-on luggage size limit stress, too. Though the carry-on size restrictions are the same as most airlines, the personal item dimensions are larger. Consider bringing along soft-sided carry-on from Eagle Creek that features tons of helpful organization pockets to keep your essentials in check.

To buy: amazon.com, $191 (originally $299)

(Video) How To - Weight and Measurements of your luggage

Southwest Airlines

  • Carry-on luggage size: 24'' x 16'' x 10''
  • Carry-on luggage weight: None specified
  • Personal item: 18.5'' x 8.5'' x 13.5''; must fit under the seat in front of you

Best carry-on to bring: Away The Bigger Carry-on

A Carry-on Luggage Size Guide by Airline (9)

Another generous airline, Southwest's personal item and carry-on size limits are spacier than most. We'd bring Away's The Bigger Carry-on, which you can choose to buy with or without the built-in battery. The Away team noticed that the bag sizers at airport check-in are actually one inch wider than the 22" x 14" x 9" standard and added an extra three quarters of an inch to each dimension for a perfect fit.

To buy: awaytravel.com, $245

Spirit Airlines

  • Carry-on luggage size: 22'' x 18'' x 10''
  • Carry-on luggage weight: None specified
  • Personal item: 18'' x 14'' x 8''

Best carry-on to bring: Samsonite Freeform Hardside Spinner

A Carry-on Luggage Size Guide by Airline (10)

At 21.25'' x 15.25'' x 10'', this Samsonite spinner carry-on will allow you to take advantage of Spirit's surprisingly large bag size allowance. The wheels allow for 360-degree rolling, so you can navigate it down narrow aisle with ease. And it's also able to expand about two inches, which makes for a decent-sized checked bag on many airlines, as well.

To buy: amazon.com, $119 (originally $170)

United Airlines

  • Carry-on luggage size: 22'' x 14'' x 9''
  • Carry-on luggage weight: None specified
  • Personal item: 17'' x 10'' x 9''; must fit in the seat in front of you

Best carry-on to bring: Briggs & Riley Torq Domestic Carry-on Spinner

A Carry-on Luggage Size Guide by Airline (11)

This sleek hardside spinner from Briggs & Riley has plenty of high-tech features that make it a particularly convenient travel bag. It's made from durable yet lightweight polycarbonate material, which make it easy to carry and maneuver. The bag also includes a hinged-front pocket that's perfect for storing devices and tech accessories, as well as a USB port.

(Video) Best Carry-On Luggage - Travel Pro Max Lite 4, FlightPath, Delsey Air Elite, Samsonite Aspire XLite

To buy: briggs-riley.com, $499

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FAQs

What is the correct size for carry-on luggage? ›

Carry-on bags shouldn't be larger than 22 inches long, 14 inches wide and 9 inches high including handles and wheels. Dimensions of personal items should not exceed 18 inches long, 14 inches wide and 8 inches high. There are no weight restrictions for carry-on luggage.

Do airlines Care About carry-on size? ›

Overweight or oversized carry-ons must be checked at the gate, with a possible fee. The airline doesn't have a specific size limit for personal items like briefcases and purses, but they must fit under the seat in front of you: Aim to keep your bag at less than 18 x 14 x 8 inches if you're unsure.

Can you bring a 24 inch suitcase as a carry-on? ›

Can a 24 inch luggage be a carry on? Unfortunately no, the standard carry-on size is typically 22” x 14” x 9”, so a 24 inch bag is too large to bring on board of most economy standard airlines.

What if my carry-on is a little too big? ›

Usually, many airlines won't check every carry-on but will instead go for ones that look oversized. If your luggage does not fit in the sizer, you might have to pay a checked bag fee along with the gate checking fee and have your bag transferred to the airplane's cargo.

What can I fit in a carry-on suitcase? ›

All electronics and chargers can be added in your personal bag, along with your toiletries and (perhaps) some extra pieces of clothing. Don't underestimate the capacity of your backpack or handbag. Besides, your tablet and laptop will have to go through security, so they must be on you at all times.

Do Airports look through your carry-on? ›

Carry-on Baggage Screening

TSA screens approximately 4.9 million carry-on bags for explosives and other dangerous items daily. Here's what to expect when taking your carry-on bag through security screening next time you fly.

Can I carry 2 bags in carry-on? ›

Airline rules allow for one carry on bag and one personal item, unless you're flying on a basic economy fare. But we've all seen people selfishly putting two bags in the overhead bin or carrying on more luggage than could possibly be allowed. You don't want to be like them. But you also might not be a one bagger.

What can you not take on a plane 2022? ›

Restricted Items NOT Allowed on a Plane in Your Carry-On
  • Sharp objects. ...
  • Sporting goods and athletic equipment. ...
  • Self defense items. ...
  • Gel-type candles. ...
  • Large quantities of alcohol (more than 3.4 ounces) ...
  • Guns and ammunition.
12 Sept 2022

What happens if my carry-on doesn't fit overhead? ›

Can I stow my carry-on below my seat? Only if it fits below your seat. Otherwise, the airline staff will check it. Anything you want to put under your seat is called a "personal item," but if it won't actually fit there, then it'll go in an overhead bin or you'll have to pick it up at a baggage-claim area.

Is toothpaste considered a liquid? ›

Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols. Common travel items that must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and lotion.

How strict are airlines with carry-on weight? ›

It is rare for airlines to weigh your carry on or hand luggage. So long as your bag is not clearly overweight, and you're able to carry it with ease – you shouldn't have any issues with a slightly overweight bag.

What Cannot be in a carry-on bag? ›

Liquid or gel food items larger than 3.4 oz are not allowed in carry-on bags and should be placed in your checked bags if possible. TSA officers may instruct travelers to separate 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.

Do you still have to take off your shoes at the airport? ›

Do You Have to Take off Your Shoes at Airport Security? Unfortunately, TSA still asks its passengers to remove their shoes when going through the screening machine. In other parts of the world, this practice was common a decade ago. But nowadays, airport security in other countries will let you keep your shoes on.

Do you have to empty your carry-on? ›

Unless you have TSA PreCheck, you will have to remove various items, such as liquids and electronics, from your luggage and place them in separate bins before going through security. You will also have to remove your shoes, items from pockets, jewelry, and large jackets.

Can I fly with a backpack and a carry-on? ›

The good news is that you can bring both a carry-on and a backpack with you onto the plane, as long as the backpack is small enough to be considered a personal item. If the backpack fits under the seat in front of you, you're good to go! By bringing a backpack and carry-on, you increase your packing space.

How heavy can my hand carry be? ›

How heavy can a cabin bag be? Cabin bags – or carry on bags – are usually limited to around 10kg for economy flying passengers. It's always worth checking the airline's specific requirements before you fly though, as this limit can be less on some airlines, and substantially more on others.

Do you have to take phone chargers out at airport security? ›

The answer is No! You don't have to remove the chargers if they're in your carry-on or luggage. You can keep the chargers in your carry-on as well as hand luggage. These electronic devices are not included in the restricted item list by any airport in the world.

Do medications need to be in original container when flying 2022? ›

Traveling with Medication. Prescription medications should be in their original containers with the doctor's prescription printed on the container. It is advised that you travel with no more than personal use quantities, a rule of thumb is no more than a 90 day supply.

Can you take water on a plane 2022? ›

The 3-1-1 Liquid Rule states that liquids, aerosols, creams, or gels cannot exceed 3.4 oz or 100 milliliters per container. This rule applies to items like toothpaste, gel deodorants, shampoo, conditioner, lotions, and all other personal care items like sprays and makeup.

Can you carry size bag and backpack on a plane? ›

Domestic carry-on policies. A good rule of thumb is that if your carry-on bag fits under the seat in front of you, it's considered a personal item. This includes small backpacks, purses, briefcases, laptop bags, etc. Larger bags, including suitcases, must fit in the overhead bin compartment.

Is it better to bring a carry-on or checked bag? ›

Airline baggage fees

If you're looking to save money, carry-on bags are the better bet because most airlines allow you one free carry-on bag and one free personal item.

Can I take two backpacks as carry-on? ›

Airline rules allow for one carry on bag and one personal item, unless you're flying on a basic economy fare. But we've all seen people selfishly putting two bags in the overhead bin or carrying on more luggage than could possibly be allowed.

Can I take a carry-on case and a backpack? ›

The good news is that you can bring both a carry-on and a backpack with you onto the plane, as long as the backpack is small enough to be considered a personal item. If the backpack fits under the seat in front of you, you're good to go! By bringing a backpack and carry-on, you increase your packing space.

Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage? ›

“Almost all U.S. airline crew members use soft-sided roll-aboard bags,” Patrick Smith, airline pilot, air travel blogger, and author, tells Reader's Digest. “My roll-aboard of choice is a 24-inch model from Luggage Works, a specialty luggage company that caters to airline personnel.

Do they really check carry-on bags? ›

Do airlines check hand luggage weight? Well it does happen, and some airlines are strict, but the vast majority of them only weigh checked luggage at the desk.

Can I bring perfume on a plane? ›

The FAA limits the total amount of restricted medicinal and toiletry articles, including aerosols, in checked baggage. The total aggregate quantity per person cannot exceed 2 kg (70 ounces) or 2 L (68 fluid ounces). The capacity of each container must not exceed 0.5 kg (18 ounces) or 500 ml (17 fluid ounces).

Videos

1. Downsizing Your Luggage to Travel
(Wall Street Journal)
2. How to Pick the Perfect Carry On Luggage | Travel Tips
(vagabrothers)
3. Testing Away Expandable Carry-On in American Airlines Baggage Sizer
(TOMTalks)
4. Away Bigger Carry-On Southwest Airlines Baggage Sizer Test
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5. Carry-On Luggage - Dimensions
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6. Testing Away The Bigger Carry On in Airport Baggage Sizer
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