Guidelines for Number, Weight and Size of Checked Bags
The airline industry’s bag restrictions are getting stricter. In fact, some airlines are now requiring checked bags weighing less than 10 pounds.
For example, you cannot carry more than one piece of luggage larger than 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches. You must also limit the total number of pieces of checked baggage to three per person.
In addition, you cannot pack liquids in your carry-on bags. If you do try to bring liquid into the cabin, you must put it in a clear plastic bag.
Table of contents
- Checked Baggage
- Carry-On Bags Size and Weight Limits and Allowances
- Major Airlines’ Carry-on Luggage Size and Weight Limits
- Tips for Buying Check-in Luggage
- Baggage Dimensions for Economy
- Excess Baggage Fees
- Prepaying Excess Baggage Fees
- Maximum Baggage Length by Aircraft Type
- Total outside dimensions (length + width + height)
- Excess liability charge
- Surfboards and windsurfing equipment charge
- Baggage Fee Exceptions
Checked bag policy
Changes to bag limits have been updated as of Apr. 26, 2022. In addition to standard carry-on baggage allowances, passengers flying internationally must now bring one additional piece of luggage weighing no more than 50 pounds (22 kg). This applies to both economy and premium cabin travelers.
All bag fees are non- refundable and apply per person at each check-in, regardless of whether you purchased or received complimentary checked bags.
What it will cost
Complimentary baggage allowances vary depending on the airline, flight type, class of travel, fare rules and booking method.
For example, you might receive one bag free on domestic flights booked on AA.com, while international travelers buying tickets directly from the carrier could receive three bags for free. You’ll want to make sure you’re eligible for any perks offered by the airline before purchasing tickets.
If you don’t qualify for complimentary baggage because of your frequent flyer status, you still likely won’t have to pay extra fees for checked bags. However, you may have to pay additional fees for carry-on bags. Some airlines charge $25 per bag for carry-ons, while others charge less. Check out our guide to what it costs to fly with different types of luggage.
Carry-On Bags Size and Weight Limits and Allowances
The number one question I receive about carry-on baggage sizes and weights is “What is the maximum allowable size and weight?”
There are many factors involved in determining the exact dimensions of a carry-on bag, including the type of aircraft used, whether the flight is domestic or international, and how much space is left in overhead bins.
However, there are certain guidelines that most carriers follow.
Most carry-on bags sold today measure 22″ × 14″ × 9″, although some models are slightly larger or smaller. Some airlines allow bags up to 30″ x 20″ x 12″.
As a general rule, U. S. airlines permit luggage that is 115 cm long, 70 cm wide, and 55 cm deep. This measurement includes handles and wheeled compartments.
Flights on small planes and some international flights may be stricter with economy class carry-ons; some carriers will only accommodate smaller and lightweight bags.
Major Airlines’ Carry-on Luggage Size and Weight Limits
- Aer LingusInches: 21.5 x 15.5 x 9.5Centimeters: 55 x 40 x 24Weight: 22 pounds
- AeromexicoInches: 21.5 x 15.7 x 10Centimeters: 55 x 40 x 24Weight: 22 pounds in Economy.Premier cabin weight: 40 pounds maximum
- Air CanadaInches: 21.5 x 15.5 x 9Centimeters: 55 X 40 x 23Weight: 22 pounds
- Air FranceInches: 21.7 x 13.8 x 9.9Centimeters: 55 x 35 x 25Weight: 26 pounds (includes carry-on and additional in-cabin item)
- Air Tahiti NuiInches: 45Centimeters: 115Weight: 22 pounds
- Alaska/Virgin AmericaInches: 22 x 14 x 9Centimeters: 56 x 35 x 22Weight: not posted
- AlitaliaCentimeters: 55 x 35 x 25Weight: 17.6 pounds
- American AirlinesInches: 22 x 14 x 9Centimeters: 56 x 36 x 23Weight: 40 lbs
- ANA AirlinesInches: 22 x 16 x 10Centimeters: 55 x 40 x 25Weight: 22 pounds
- British AirwaysInches: 22 x 16 x 10Centimeters: 56 x 45 x 25Weight: 51 pounds
- Caribbean AirlinesInches: 45Weight: 22 pounds
- Cathay PacificInches: 22 x 14 x 9Centimeters: 56 x 36 x 23Weight: 15 lbs
- DeltaInches: 22 x 14 x 9Centimeters: 56 x 36 x 23No weight limit (except at certain Asian airports)
- EasyJetInches: 22 x 16 x 10Centimeters: 56 x 45 x 25No weight restriction
- El AlInches: 22 x 18 x 10Centimeters: 56 x 45 x 25Weight: 17 pounds
- EmiratesInches: 22 x 15 x 8Centimeters: 55 x 38 x 20Weight: 15 pounds
- FinnairInches: 22 x 18 x 10Centimeters: 56 x 45 x 25Weight: 17.5 pounds
- Hawaiian AirlinesInches: 22 x 14 x 9Centimeters: 56 x 36 x 23Weight: 25 pounds
- IberiaInches: 21.6 x 15.7 x 7.8Centimeters: 55 x 40 x 20Weight: 22 pounds
- IcelandairInches: 21.6 x 15.7 x 7.8Centimeters: 55 x 40 x 20Weight: 22 pounds
- Japan AirlinesInches: 22 × 16 × 10Centimeters: 55 x 40 x 25Weight: 22 pounds
- Jet AirwaysInches: 21.7 x 13.7 x 10Centimeters: 55 x 35 x 25Weight: 15 pounds
- Jet BlueInches: 22 x 14 x 9Weight: no restriction
- KLMInches: 21.5 x 13.5 x 10Centimeters: 55 x 35 x 25Weight: 26 pounds (includes carry-on and additional in-cabin item).
- LATAMInches: 21 x 13 x 9Centimeters: 55 x 35 x 25Weight: 17 pounds
- LufthansaInches: 22 x 16 x 9Centimeters: 55 x 40 x 23Weight: 17.6 pounds
- NorwegianInches:Centimeters: 50 x 40 x 23Weight: 33 pounds
- QantasInches: 45Centimeters: 115Weight: 15 pounds
- Singapore AirlinesCentimeters: 115Weight: 15 pounds
- Southwest Airlines Inches: 24 x 16 x 10entimeters (61 x 41 x 28
- SWISSInches: 22 x 16 x 9Centimeters: 55 x 40 x 23Weight: 17.6 pounds
- Turkish AirlinesInches: 21.8 x 15.75 x 9Centimeters: 55 x 40 x 23Weight: 17.6 pounds
- United AirlinesInches: 22 x 14 x 9Centimeters: 56 x 35 x 22Weight: not mentioned.
- Virgin Atlantic Inches: 22 x 14 x 9Centimeters: 56 x 36 x 23Weight: 22 pounds
United offers a Basic Economy fare, which only permits “one small personal item that fits under the seat in front of you, such as a shoulder bag, purse, laptop bag or other item that is 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches.”
The airline will charge $25 to bring a full-size carry-on aboard, which you can pay for at check-in.
Bags brought to the gate incur an additional $25 gate handling charge (total starting at $50).
Tips for Buying Check-in Luggage
If you’re looking for a carry-on bag big enough to fit everything you’ll need for a weeklong trip, you don’t necessarily need to spend thousands of dollars.
A good rule of thumb is to buy a bag that can handle whatever you plan to pack. If you’re traveling light, consider a small suitcase; if you’re packing heavier items, opt for a larger piece of baggage.
Checking luggage isn’t just about packing light.
You want it to hold up well during travel, too. If you don’t know what type of baggage to choose, here are some tips to help you make the best choice.
When choosing a bag, durability is one of the most important factors.
A hard case might seem like a good idea, but it won’t protect against damage from rough handling. Look for soft sided cases that offer protection without adding extra bulk. Also look for handles that are easy to grip and pull open.
If you plan to check your bag, you want something light enough to fit under the seat in front of you.
Choose a bag that weighs less than 15 pounds and avoid anything heavier than 20 pounds. If you’re traveling internationally, keep in mind that international airlines often charge fees for overweight bags.
A large suitcase is great for storing clothes, but it’s not ideal for checking because it takes up lots of space.
If you’re planning to carry a laptop computer, consider buying a backpack instead. Backpacks come in many sizes, including small, medium, and large. Smaller backpacks usually weigh less than 10 pounds and larger ones weigh around 14 pounds.
A good piece of luggage should fit into many different types of travel situations. For example, a backpack is great for day trips, while a rolling duffel works well for longer journeys. A briefcase is perfect for meetings and conferences, and a large suitcase fits perfectly for extended stays. Look for versatility in your luggage options.
Baggage Dimensions for Economy
For economy class passengers flying domestically within Canada, you are allowed to carry one piece of checked baggage weighing up to 23kg (50lbs.) and another piece of hand luggage weighing no more than 10 kg (22 lbs.). If you want to check a second piece of hand luggage, it needs to weigh no more than 5 kg (11 lbs.), according to Air Canada. However, there are some exceptions. You can bring a third item if it weighs less than 3 kg (6 lbs.) and fits under the seat in front of you. And if you’re traveling internationally, you can take two pieces of hand luggage weighing up to 15 kg (33 lbs.) each.
Excess Baggage Fees
The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that excess baggage fees will apply to passengers traveling domestically and internationally starting April 10. The announcement came less than three weeks after the TSA implemented a $3 per bag fee on international flights departing from the US.
The agency says it will continue to assess the impact of the change and make adjustments accordingly. However, the agency indicates that the new policy will affect travelers because it will increase the cost of travel.
According to the TSA, the new policy will apply to domestic flights within the US and to international flights departing from the United States. Passengers will pay the difference between the declared value of luggage and what the airline charges for excess baggage.
If there are multiple bags exceeding the weight or size limits, the passenger must pay the total amount for each additional item. For example, if a traveler checks four bags weighing over 50 pounds each, he or she must pay $25 plus taxes and fees for each bag.
In addition to the increased fees, the TSA notes that the new policy does not permit passengers to check in oversized carry-on bags. This means that passengers cannot bring large personal electronics such as laptops, tablets, cameras and video game consoles into the cabin.
The agency also states that airlines are responsible for ensuring that passengers comply with the rules regarding the maximum dimensions allowed for carry-ons and checked baggage.
Prepaying Excess Baggage Fees
To save time at the airport you can pay excess baggage charges for one bag during the bookings process, but only for certain types of flight. Here are some examples:
– International flights with a ticket number beginning with 205
– Flights that do not include US or Canadian airports
– Tickets that don’t include code sharing or flights operated by another airline.
The rules apply to domestic flights too, but there are no restrictions for domestic flights.
However, prepaying for excess baggage fees isn’t always possible.
For example, it won’t work for tickets purchased online because they often include special offers like “free checked bags.” If you’re traveling internationally, you’ll want to check out our guide about how to prepay baggage fees.
Maximum Baggage Length by Aircraft Type
Aircraft Types Maximum Baggage Length
- 789 (Boeing 787-9) 98 inches (250 cm)
- 788 (Boeing 787-8) 98 inches (250 cm)
- 320 (Airbus A320) 102 inches (260 cm)
- DH8 (Bombardier DHC8-Q400) 70 inches (180 cm)
- CR7 (Bombardier CRJ700) 98 inches (250 cm)*
- DH2 (Bombardier DHC8-Q200) 63 inches (160 cm)
* Height cannot exceed 25.5 inches (65 cm); width can’t exceed 41.3 inches (105 cm) or less.
Certain types of fragile items that must be checked in.These include, but are not limited to:
- Ceramic and glass products
- Clocks, watches, cameras, and other electronic devices
- Personal articles like jewelry, cosmetics, perfumes, and fine art
- Alcoholic beverages
Checked bags are limited to one personal computer per passenger, including laptops, tablets, eReaders, gaming consoles, smart watches, portable DVD players, camcorders, digital video recorders, mobile phones, music players, GPS units, and satellite radios.
Checked bags cannot include any type of firearm, ammunition, explosives, incendiary materials, fireworks, laser pointers, or similar items.
Musical instruments, including pianos, cello, violin, guitar, drums, wind instruments, etc., as checked luggage. However, each case must weigh no more than 5 kg (11 lb.). For information about how to check in musical instruments, please refer to “Checking In Luggage.”
Bicycles & Other Sporting Equipment
The following sporting equipment will be checked in free if the quantity and weight fall within a free baggage allowance of your boarding class:
- – Bicycles – up to 20kg per passenger
- – Surfing boards – up to 10kg per passenger
- – Golf bags – up to 7kg per passenger
- – Fishing equipment – up to 5kg per passenger
- – Diving equipment – up to 3kg per passenger
Total outside dimensions (length + width + height)
Total outside dimensions (length + width + height)
A + B + C ≤ 203cm
Including wheels and handle(s)
Excess liability charge
Carriers’ limits on their liabilities for checked bags are limited by law. When passengers pay an extra fee to increase the maximum allowable claim from $500 to $5,000, they’re effectively increasing the carrier’s exposure to potential claims.
Surfboards and windsurfing equipment charge
Passengers checking a surfboard, windsurfing board, paddle board, kayak, canoe, raft, inflatable boat or similar item will be charged $25 per piece of luggage.
This fee applies to bags weighing up to 50 pounds. In addition, carry-on bags measuring less than 18 inches wide by 30 inches tall by 12 inches deep will be subject to a $100 fine.
Baggage Fee Exceptions
Many airlines waive checked bag fees, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways Corp., Southwest Airlines Co., United Continental Holdings Inc. and US Airways Group Inc.
These exceptions apply to travelers who meet certain criteria, such as being members of the armed forces, traveling on military or government travel orders or having elite status with the carrier.
Checked bags weighing less than 50 pounds don’t count toward the total number of allowed bags per passenger.
If you’re carrying more than one piece of luggage, you’ll pay a fee based on how much each bag weighs.
Fees vary depending on the type of ticket purchased, but most carriers charge $25-$100 for every additional bag.
In addition to checked bags, some carriers allow passengers to carry up to three pieces of hand luggage.
Choosing the Right Size Checked Bags
Checking baggage is one of the easiest ways to pack efficiently. But there are some things to keep in mind when choosing the right sized checked bags.
The most common checked bags are smaller than standard carry-on bags, measuring about 22 inches by 14 inches. A small checked bag is perfect for short trips, weekend getaways and day trips.
If you plan to travel with a laptop, tablet or smartphone, consider checking a laptop bag or rolling backpack. Larger items like a TV set or entertainment system might require a box or crate.
A medium-sized checked bag is ideal for long trips and vacations. This size allows you to bring along everything you need without having to worry about overpacking.
To avoid paying extra fees, don’t use too many pieces of checked luggage. If you plan on bringing a lot of clothes, shoes or accessories, consider splitting up the load into several bags.
Larger checked bags include trunks and large duffle bags. These are great for traveling with a family or group of friends.
* For exact measurements on a particular item, please refer to the product description page.