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What are the size limits of a carry-on suitcase?

Dear Editors,

What are the size limits of a carry-on suitcase?


Dear Rosanne,

I’m glad you asked this question. Many casual travelers believe that as long as they limit their carry-on baggage to one suitcase, they’re good to go. Not true. Every ticketed passenger on every domestic airline (with the exception of Spirit, which charges for carry-on bags) is entitled to one piece of luggage and one personal item (such a a purse, diaper bag or laptop bag). However, that piece of luggage must be regulation size. And while there is no industry-wide standard, your carrier will have on its web site the exact dimensions your bag must adhere to in order to avoid being sent back to the check-in counter to pay for a too-big bag.

Helpful hint: In general, if you add the width + length + height of your carry-on luggage and the total number is less than 45 inches, you’re probably good to go.

Here’s a list of links to the carry-on policies for most major airlines:

American Airlines





US Airways

Happy Travels,  


Find me on Twitter @GSBrown.

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My name: Genevieve Shaw Brown. I also answer to Genny and Gen.

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Good information here. I find it frustrating that the aviation industry have not stipulated the maximum sizes and not left it the airlines. I have recently bought a Berghaus Optimus 40 which is a great, wheeled travel bag that fits most airlines ‘hand luggage’ limits, but not all! Be sure to check what airlines you are likely to use and then find the minimum dimensions for all (height, width, depth) and work from there.

It has become inconvinience to travel. Before you just pack your bags and leave, but now you have to check online if your bags can pass and bill you extra luggage for the same service and travel.

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