Carry-On Luggage Sizes: Size Restrictions by Airline

·8 min read

These days, it's rare for airlines to allow passengers to check bags for free -- at least in economy class. So, the best way to avoid those fees is to stick to carry-on luggage. That said, you'll usually need to follow strict rules to avoid getting hit with extra charges at the airport, especially if your bag exceeds the size and weight limits for carry-ons. In short, if your carry-on is too large, you'll have to pay to check it at the gate.

You'll find the exact rules for a large selection of airlines below, including specific size and weight limits. Take note: any handles and wheels on your bags count toward airlines' size limits. In addition to a carry-on, most airlines also allow economy passengers to bring one "personal item," such as a briefcase, purse, laptop bag or small backpack. A personal item must fit under the seat in front of you.

If you're opting for a budget airline (such as Spirit, Frontier, or Ryanair), you should pay extra attention. Many budget airlines only allow the single personal item, forcing customers to check -- and pay for -- all other luggage. Some non-budget airlines also have a similar rule on their cheapest fares (for example, basic economy on United or blue basic fares on JetBlue). Mobility aids (such as canes or walkers) and childcare items (like child safety seats) generally don't count toward any of these limits.

In addition to rules about the size and weight of your bags, various items are banned from carry-on luggage for security reasons. The most notable is that you can't bring more than 3.4 ounces (100mL) of liquids or gels on board. If you're carrying batteries, TSA rules are a little complex, but you can generally bring small batteries with no problem. Lithium batteries (particularly larger ones) may need to be removed from any device if you plan to carry them on a flight. If you have luggage with built-in batteries (sometimes called "smart luggage"), the battery must be able to be removed if necessary. For more details on banned items, check the TSA website.

Domestic Airlines

Alaska Airlines

Carry-on luggage size: 14 x 9 x 22 inches

Carry-on luggage weight: No limit

Personal item: Yes, must fit under the seat in front of you

All passengers on Alaska Airlines can bring one carry-on bag according to the dimensions above, plus one personal item, such as a laptop bag, purse or small backpack. If you're flying on a smaller plane (including flights operated by SkyWest or Horizon Air), you may be asked to check your carry-on bag at the gate for no extra charge. Alaska doesn't have a specific size limit for personal items, but they must fit under the seat in front of you -- if you're unsure, items under 14 x 8 x 18 inches should be suitable. One popular carry-on choice that Alaska will accept is the Briggs & Riley Baseline Domestic Carry-On Expandable Spinner. Consult Alaska's website for its full carry-on policy.

Allegiant Air

Carry-on luggage size: 22 x 9 x 14 inches, for an additional fee

Carry-on luggage weight: No limit

Personal item: 16 x 7 x 15 inches

Like Frontier and Spirit, Allegiant only includes a personal item with most flights. A fee applies if you want to bring a larger carry-on bag on board with Allegiant. This is often around $20 if you pay for your baggage at the time of booking; it costs a hefty $45 if you add a carry-on bag later. A stylish and not-too-expensive option that fits Allegiant's rules is Calpak's Ambeur Carry-On, a sleek hardside suitcase. Check Allegiant's website for full details of its carry-on rules.

American Airlines

Carry-on luggage size: 14 x 9 x 22 inches

Carry-on luggage weight: No limit

Personal item: 14 x 8 x 18 inches

All American Airlines passengers -- including those on basic economy tickets -- can bring one carry-on bag, plus a personal item that fits under the seat in front of you. (Note: If you're bringing a pet, the carrier counts as your carry-on bag.) On smaller planes, particularly American Eagle flights, you may be asked to check larger carry-on bags at the gate for free. Medical or childcare items like diaper bags, child seats, canes and other mobility devices don't count toward your limit. For a robust carry-on bag that fits American's limits, consider purchasing the Briggs & Riley Baseline Domestic Carry-On Expandable Spinner. Consult American's website for its full carry-on policy.

Delta Air Lines

Carry-on luggage size: 14 x 9 x 22 inches

Carry-on luggage weight: No limit (some exceptions apply, see below)

Personal item: Yes, must fit under the seat in front of you

All Delta customers can bring a carry-on bag as well as a personal item. If you're on a Delta Connection flight or a very full plane, you may be asked to check your carry-on bag at the gate due to space constraints. This won't cost you anything. If you're flying to or from Beijing, or Shanghai, there is a 22 pound weight limit for a carry-on; for Singapore, there is a 15 pound limit. Unlike some airlines, Delta does not have specific size limits for personal items: its policy is only that they must fit under the seat in front of you. Personal items may include purses, briefcases, small backpacks, camera bags, laptop bags, diaper bags or "an item of similar to smaller size" to these. Objects like jackets, umbrellas or duty-free merchandise do not count as personal items. Need a carry-on suitcase for Delta? Consider the highly-rated Pivot 2 Carry-on Spinner from Samsonite. Find full restrictions and carry-on information at Delta's website.

Frontier Airlines

Carry-on luggage size: 16 x 10 x 24 inches, for an additional fee

Carry-on luggage weight: 35 pounds

Personal item: 14 x 8 x 18 inches

As a budget airline, Frontier charges for almost all carry-on bags. Without paying an extra fee, you're only entitled to bring a personal item. If you're an elite member of the FRONTIER Miles rewards program or if you buy a specialty ticket like THE WORKS, you can bring a carry-on bag for free. Carry-on bag fees depend on your destination. Prices are cheapest if you add baggage when you make your booking. You'll pay more to add it later, especially if you purchase the carry-on bag at the airport. Carry-on fees start around $40, and it is sometimes cheaper to purchase a checked bag instead of a carry-on. One relatively affordable carry-on bag that is well-reviewed and accepted on Frontier is the Travelpro Maxlite 5. Check Frontier's website for full details of its carry-on rules.

Hawaiian Airlines

Carry-on luggage size: 14 x 9 x 22 inches

Carry-on luggage weight: 25 pounds

Personal item: Yes, must fit under the seat in front of you

Hawaiian Airlines allows all customers to bring one carry-on bag, in line with the dimensions above, as well as one personal item. 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 under 8 x 14 x 18 inches if you're unsure. Need a bag that fits within Hawaiian's rules? The 20-inch Travelpro Platinum Elite is a top-rated option, with customers describing it as roomy and durable. Consult Hawaiian's website for its full carry-on policy.

JetBlue

Carry-on luggage size: 14 x 9 x 22 inches

Carry-on luggage weight: No limit

Personal item: 13 x 8 x 17 inches

Most JetBlue customers are allowed a carry-on bag and a personal item, unless you're traveling on a blue basic fare (more on that below). The Away Carry-On is one great choice of a carry-on suitcase that fits within JetBlue's rules. If you booked a blue basic fare, then you're only allowed to bring a personal item. If you bring a larger carry-on bag, you may have to pay $65 to check it at the gate. However, a few customers on blue basic fares can bring carry-on bags for free. This includes U.S military personnel, unaccompanied minors and customers flying to London. If you purchase a higher class seat or if you reach Mosaic status on JetBlue's TrueBlue rewards program, you can also bring a carry-on bag on a blue basic ticket. Find full restrictions and carry-on information at JetBlue's website.

Southwest Airlines

Carry-on luggage size: 16 x 10 x 24 inches

Carry-on luggage weight: No limit

Personal item: Yes, must fit under the seat in front of you

Allowing bags up to 24 inches tall, Southwest has one of the most generous limits of a U.S. airline (but keep in mind, you will be placing the suitcase on its side). All passengers can also bring a personal item. A few items don't count toward your carry-on limits, such as walking canes, umbrellas, child seats and clothing like jackets. If you're flying with a pet, the carrier can count as either your personal item or your carry-on bag. If you need a carry-on bag, travelers like the ;tag="travel_100-20linkId=725a7697b76a77cc1c357464b22c4edclanguage=en_USref_=as_li_ss_tl"" rel="nofollow>Delsey Paris Helium Aero Hardside Expandable Spinner

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