Travel Luggage Size Specifications

Travel Luggage Size Specifications

Knowing your travel luggage size specifications before you head to the airport can make or break a domestic or international trip, whether you plan on carry on or checked bags. As much fun as it is to be on vacation, getting there can be a real hassle, especially if you are flying. For instance, if you are traveling to a foreign country, you need to determine the size and weight specifications for carry-on luggage, as well as checked baggage.

Airlines have very specific regulations as to the size and weight specifications of luggage for international travel, and it is important that you do your research before flying, to make sure your luggage falls within those specifications. Every airline is different, and they all have their own rules and regulations regarding luggage. When it comes to international flights, those regulations are often much stricter than they are for domestic flights, and various countries also enforce their own rules.

Most of the time, the luggage size specifications are generally in the same ball park for all airlines, with just a few small differences.

While there is not enough space in one article to talk about the luggage size specifications for all airlines, we can give you some basic information that will work with most airlines.

Travel Luggage Size Specifications for Carry-On Luggage

Carry-on luggage is allowed on all international flights, but the allowed size and weight of the bag depends on each individual airline. For instance, some airlines require the bag weigh 11 pounds or less. The size specification can also depend on how much room is available for carry-on luggage.

Airlines are able to change their carry-on policies for different trips, and sometimes, it happens at the last minute. If you are going to be traveling with carry-on luggage, it is a good idea to ask about the size restriction on the day of the flight, even if you have previously researched this, just to be on the safe side.

Generally, a piece of carry-on luggage should be no more than 45 square inches, or about 22” X 14” X 9”. You may be allowed to have a bag that is up to 55 square inches, but there are only a few airlines that will accept bags larger than 45 square inches.

Most luggage stores sell suitcases of the proper size, and they are labeled as carry-on luggage. If your bag is larger, or an unusual shape, you may not be allowed to take it with you on the plane.

Buying Carry-On Luggage for International Travel

One of the biggest problems with luggage stores is that they don’t always label a bag as being a carry-on, and when they do, often the bags are not properly measured. They measure for the inside of the bag, without taking the thickness of pockets once they are stuffed full of your items.

They rate the pockets as having zero thickness instead, and they do not take framing, wheels, or handles into consideration when they are measuring. So, once you are all packed, a bag that you thought was the right size may actually exceed the size limit and will be rejected by the airline. If this happens, you will be required to check the bag, which may be very costly at the airport.

It should also be noted that even if your bag does fit into the size specification set by the airline, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to fit under your seat, and there may not be any space in the overhead compartment.

Rather than being stuck holding your bag in your lap for the entire trip, it is simpler just to buy a carry-on bag that is smaller than the specifications, and hope for a wing seat, as there is more under-seat room in these seats.

Weight Restrictions for Carry-On Luggage

If you are flying domestically, you likely will not have to worry about a weight restriction for your carry-on luggage. But, if you are going to be on an international flight, you might be surprised as to how strict many airlines are about their weight restrictionse. For instance, some airlines only allow carry-on luggage to weigh a maximum of 11 pounds.

In some cases, the bag alone may weigh nearly that much, without having anything in it. There are some airlines that even only allow a total of 20 pounds for baggage, and that is carry-on and checked luggage combined.

This is something else that you will need to research before you travel, so you will know if you can take your bag on board with you.

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Compare Carry On Luggage

NameImagePriceFeatures
Rockland Melbourne 20 Inch Expandable Carry On$46.35
  • Wheel design may vary between black and silver wheels
  • Lightweight yet extremely durable ABS material
  • Multi-directional spinner wheels
  • Sturdy ergonomic aluminum telescoping handle
Kenneth Cole Reaction 20 Inch Upright Carry On$73.88
  • ABS 20" Expandable 8-Wheel Upright / Carry-On. Expands For Greater Carrying Capacity. 8-Wheel Spinners Allow Smooth 360 Degree Rotation. Lightweight Construction.
  • Durable ABS Exterior With Molded Corner Reinforcement For Maximum Impact Resistance And Fully Lined Interior. Interior Main Compartment Features Garment Restraints And A Zipper Pocket.
  • Lid Features A Large U-Shaped Zipper Pocket. Convenient And Flexible Top And Side Handles Allows For Easy Lifting. Molded Side Feet Allow Upright To Stand On Its Side. Locking Retractable Trolley Handle.
  • Manufacturer 10 Year Limited Warranty. Overall Size: 23.5" H x 17" W x 10.0" - 12.0" D. Weight: 7.65 lbs
  • 17x10x22
Samsonite Winfield Hardside 20 Inch Luggage$87.99
  • 100% polycarbonate
  • Side mounted TSA lock
  • Unified custom design on front and back shell
  • Handsome slider in square full-capacity design featuring 10 oversized zippers and full-zip interior divider with organizational pockets
  • 9x13.5x20
Delsey Luggage Helium Aero International Spinner Luggage$105.46
  • Lightweight and Durable: Made of 100% Polycarbonate, which is a material that is extremely resilient to cracking or breaking, with a deep metallic finish
  • Superior Maneuverability: The double spinner wheels assure exceptional maneuverability and keep ZERO weight on your arm.
  • Largest Capacity: This suitcase expands up to 2 inches for additional packing space. This feature is great for packing sovenirs on return journeys.
  • Maximum Comfort: This carry on bag has a comfortable handle system that locks into two positions for ease of use.
  • Convenient and Secure Packing: Two large fully-lined compartments with multiple pockets allow easy access and organization for all of your items. Web straps and a zippered divider secure clothing and help minimize wrinkles.
  • 100% polycarbonate with glossy finish which makes the case extremely lightweight
  • Four twin spinner wheels assuring multi-directional rolling and optional stability with zero weight on your hand
  • Recessed "one-button" locking handle system with industrial grade aluminum tubes and molded ergonomic comfort grip handle
  • Fully lined interior with two compartments for packing and organizing clothes and travel accessories
  • Integrated 3-dial tsa-accepted combination lock

Compare Checked Luggage

Delsey Helium Aero Review

Delsey Helium Aero - checked luggage suitcase, offering double spinner wheels, dual compartments and only weighing 10.2 pounds, making this checked luggage a favorite among vacationers and professional explorers alike. Go with a checked luggage suitcase from a subpar manufacturer and you will soon find no amount of cash saved is worth the torn seams, low capacity, and general inconvenience.

Full Review: Delsey Helium Aero Review

Samsonite Silhouette XV Review

Samsonite Silhouette XV - The Samsonite Silhouette XV offers a multi-directional spinner design, polycarbonate construction, and an easy identification system. What further separates the Silhouette XV from the countless cases manufactured by rival brands? Samsonite has produced hundreds, maybe even thousands, of seriously impressive checked luggage suitcases, but few have been as impressive as the brand’s Silhouette XV. So, what exactly makes the Silhouette XV stand out from the many other checked luggage options Samsonite has produced?

Full Review: Samsonite Silhouette XV Review

Travelpro Crew 10, 26 Inch Expandable Rollaboard Suiter

Travelpro Crew 10, 26 Inch Expandable Rollaboard Suiter - The Travelpro Crew 10, 26 Inch Expandable Rollaboard Suiter offers durable wheel housings, as well as corner guards, side feet, and skid guards help to prevent scratching at the main wear points. The body of the Travelpro Crew expands, so you can pack a lot of luggage into this suitcase, and not have to worry about paying for extra baggage.

Full Review: Travelpro Crew 10, 26 Inch Expandable Rollaboard Suiter

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Size and Weight Specifications for Checked Luggage

Checked baggage specifications can get a bit confusing, as there are two systems used. If you are going to be on a flight either to or from the US, expect the airline to use a two-piece system that allows two pieces of luggage that weigh up to approximately 70 pounds.

If you are going to be on an international flight in any other part of the world, the specifications are as follows:

  • Coach Class Passengers – Maximum of 20kg/40lbs total checked baggage weight
  • Business Class Passengers – Maximum of 30g/66lbs total checked baggage weight
  • First Class Passengers – Maximum of 40kg/88lbs total checked baggage weight

You will also need to find out if the weight of your carry-on bag is included in the total allowed luggage weight, as this is a restriction of some airlines.

There is also a size restriction for checked luggage. In most cases, the size of a suitcase should not exceed 27” X 21” X 14”. If your bag is oversized or overweight, or if you require additional baggage, you may be allowed, provided you pay an additional fee.

If you want to avoid any extra fees, make sure your baggage falls well within the restrictions of the ariline with which you are traveling.

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Conclusion

As long as you are aware of all of the restrictions about the size and weight of both carry-on and checked luggage for any flights you will be traveling on, things are going to be a lot easier for you at check-in time.

It is also a good idea to find out about any restrictions on personal items in your baggage, as some may not be allowed by the airline, or by the countries you plan on traveling to.

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