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Airline Luggage Restrictions

By Shari Mathias

Travel today requires that you understand the size and weight restrictions airlines have imposed on both carry-on luggage and checked luggage. Not knowing the rules can result in having to pay extra fees including checked bag fees and oversized item fees. Airlines are enforcing size and weight limits more strictly these days, particularly by weighing bags at check-in and placing them in bag sizers at the gate. If you arrive prepared, however, you won't be caught by surprise.

How to Measure Luggage

Measuring Luggage Size
and Weight

To understand the size of your luggage, start by measuring the height, length, and width as shown below. Be sure to include any handles and wheels as well as any expansion if your luggage is expandable and you want to use that feature.

Once your luggage is packed, be sure to weigh it before leaving for the airport to ensure it weighs less than the limit. A luggage scale is a handy tool that can help you do this.

Carry-On Luggage Restrictions

To comply with the FAA and to keep passenger overhead bins less cluttered and safe, airlines have limited passengers flying within the United States to one piece of carry-on luggage and one personal item. Personal items include handbags, laptop bags, briefcases, small backpacks, and shoulder bags. These personal items generally need to be smaller than 36 total linear inches. Many airlines also allow passengers to bring a coat, reading material, and medical assistance devices in addition to their carry-on and personal item. Please note that most airlines consider a garment bag to be your carry-on luggage piece. For international flights, please check with your airline as there may be different restrictions.

Domestic carry-on luggage size limits vary slightly by airline, but as a general rule, carry-on luggage should be no larger than 45 linear (total) inches - height + length + width. eBags has identified 22" x 14" x 9" as the most common allowable size, but check with your airline's website to understand their exact size limits. Weight limits vary. Domestic flights are defined as flights originating & completing within the United States by a domestic (US) carrier. Many flights that operate outside the US but terminate within the United States are also considered domestic. Please check with carrier(s) before you leave on your trip.

International flights often have additional restrictions so, again, be sure to check your airline's website for the most accurate information.

Our chart to the right lists many common airlines and their carry-on size and weight restrictions. Please check your airline's website for the most up-to-date carry-on rules. The following information may change at any time without notice.

For information about what you can and cannot pack in your carry-on luggage, please see the TSA website.

Airline Inches Centimeters Weight
Aer Lingus 21 x 15 x 9 55 x 40 x 24 22 lbs.
Aeromexico 22 x 14 x 9 56 x 36 x 23 22 lbs.
Air Canada 21.5 x 15.5 x 9 55 x 40 x 23 22 lbs.
Air France 21.5 x 13.5 x 9 55 x 35 x 25 22 lbs.
Air New Zealand 46 total linear 118 total linear 15 lbs.
AirTran Airways 24 x 16 x 10 60 x 40 x 25 --
Alaska Airlines 24 x 17 x 10 61 x 43 x 25 --
Alitalia 21.5 x 13.5 x 9 55 x 35 x 25 17 lbs.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) 22 x 16 x 10 55 x 40 x 25 22 lbs.
American Airlines 22 x 14 x 9 56 x 36 x 23 --
British Airways 22 x 18 x 10 56 x 45 x 25 51 lbs.
Cathay Pacific 22 x 14 x 9 56 x 36 x 23 15 lbs.
Delta Air Lines 22 x 14 x 9 56 x 36 x 23 --
El Al 22 x 18 x 10 56 x 45 x 25 17 lbs.
Frontier Airlines 24 x 16 x 10 60 x 39 x 24 35 lbs.
Hawaiian Airlines 22 x 14 x 9 56 x 36 x 23 25 lbs.
Japan Airlines 22 x 16 x 10 55 x 40 x 25 22 lbs.
JetBlue Airways 24 x 16 x 10 60 x 40 x 25 --
KLM 21.5 x 10 x 13.5 55 x 25 x 35 26 lbs.
Korean Air 21.4 x 16 x 7.5 55 x 40 x 20 26 lbs.
Lufthansa 22 x 16 x 9 55 x 40 x 23 17 lbs.
Philippine Airlines 45 total linear 115 total linear 15 lbs.
Qantas Airways 45 total linear 115 total linear 15 lbs.
Saudi Arabian Airlines 22 x 18 x 10 56 x 45 x 25 16 lbs.
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) 22 x 16 x 9 55 x 40 x 23 17 lbs.
Singapore Airlines 45 total linear 115 total linear 15 lbs.
Southwest Airlines 24 x 16 x 10 60 x 40 x 25 --
Sun Country Airlines 22 x 14 x 9 56 x 36 x 23 35 lbs.
Thai Airways 22 x 18 x 10 56 x 45 x 25 15 lbs.
United Airlines (UA) 22 x 14 x 9 56 x 35 x 23 --
US Airways (US) 22 x 14 x 9 56 x 36 x 23 40 lbs.
Virgin America 24 x 16 x 10 60 x 40 x 25 --
Virgin Atlantic 22 x 14 x 9 56 x 36 x 23 13 lbs.

-- indicates no weight limit listed

All measurements and weights assume US as the point of origin, coach or economy class

Checked Luggage Restrictions

Anything that is larger than the carry-on limits must be checked, but there are also checked bag size and weight restrictions. The most common maximum size allowed is 62 linear (total) inches or 27" x 21" x 14" with a maximum weight limit of 50 lbs. per bag. Anything larger, heavier, or oddly shaped will incur additional fees.

Below are some common airlines and their checked baggage fees and weight limits. Please check your airline's website for the most up-to-date checked luggage rules. The following information may change at any time without notice.

Airline 1st Checked Bag Fee 2nd Checked Bag Fee 3rd Checked Bag Fee Oversized Fee
Aer Lingus Free (up to 50 lbs.) $60 (up to 50 lbs.) $60 (up to 50 lbs.) $60 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
Aeromexico Free (up to 50 lbs.) $50 (up to 50 lbs.) $174 (up to 50 lbs.) see website
Air Canada $25 (up to 50 lbs.) $35 (up to 50 lbs.) see website see website
Air France Free (up to 50 lbs.) $100 (up to 50 lbs.) $285 (up to 50 lbs.) $100 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
Air New Zealand Free (up to 50 lbs.) see website see website see website
AirTran Airways $20 (up to 50 lbs.) $25 (up to 50 lbs.) $50 (up to 50 lbs.) $50 (51 lbs. - 100 lbs.)
Alaska Airlines $20 (up to 50 lbs.) $20 (up to 50 lbs.) $20 (up to 50 lbs.) $50 (51 lbs. - 100 lbs.)
Alitalia Free (up to 50 lbs.) see website see website see website
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Free (up to 50 lbs.) Free (up to 50 lbs.) $150 (up to 50 lbs.) $30 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
American Airlines $25 (up to 50 lbs.) $35 (up to 50 lbs.) $150 (up to 50 lbs.) $150 per item
British Airways Free (up to 50 lbs.) $119 (up to 50 lbs.) $119 (up to 50 lbs.) $60 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
Cathay Pacific Free (up to 50 lbs.) Free (up to 50 lbs.) see website $100 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
Delta Air Lines $25 (up to 50 lbs.) $35 (up to 50 lbs.) $125 (up to 50 lbs.) $90 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
El Al Free (up to 50 lbs.) $70 (up to 50 lbs.) $210 (up to 50 lbs.) $70 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
Frontier Airlines $20 (up to 50 lbs.) $30 (up to 50 lbs.) $75 (up to 50 lbs.) $100
Hawaiian Airlines $25 (up to 50 lbs.) $35 (up to 50 lbs.) $125 (up to 50 lbs.) $50 (51 lbs - 70 lbs.)
Japan Airlines Free (up to 50 lbs.) Free (up to 50 lbs.) $150 (up to 50 lbs.) $60 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
JetBlue Airways Free (up to 50 lbs.) $40 (up to 50 lbs.) $75 (up to 50 lbs.) $50 (51 lbs - 70 lbs.)
KLM Free (up to 50 lbs.) $100 (up to 50 lbs.) $285 (up to 50 lbs.) $100 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
Korean Air Free (up to 50 lbs.) Free (up to 50 lbs.) see website see website
Lufthansa Free (up to 50 lbs.) $200 (up to 50 lbs.) $200 (up to 50 lbs.) $150 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
Philippine Airlines Free (up to 50 lbs.) Free (up to 50 lbs.) $150 (up to 50 lbs.) $450 (51 lbs. - 100 lbs.)
Qantas Airways Free (up to 50 lbs.) Free (up to 50 lbs.) $126 (up to 50 lbs.) $53 (over 51 lbs.)
Saudi Arabian Airlines Free (up to 50 lbs.) Free (up to 50 lbs.) $150 (up to 50 lbs.) $60 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) Free (up to 50 lbs.) $65 (up to 50 lbs.) see website $95 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
Singapore Airlines Free (up to 50 lbs.) Free (up to 50 lbs.) see website see website
Southwest Airlines Free (up to 50 lbs.) Free (up to 50 lbs.) $75 (up to 50 lbs.) $75 (51 lbs. - 100 lbs.)
Sun Country Airlines $20 (up to 50 lbs.) $30 (up to 50 lbs.) $75 (up to 50 lbs.) $75 (51 lbs. - 100 lbs.)
Thai Airways Free (up to 50 lbs.) Free (up to 50 lbs.) $119 (up to 50 lbs.) $119 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
United Airlines (UA) $25 (up to 50 lbs.) $35 (up to 50 lbs.) $125 (up to 50 lbs.) $200 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
US Airways (US) $25 (up to 50 lbs.) $35 (up to 50 lbs.) $125 (up to 50 lbs.) $200 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
Virgin America $25 (up to 50 lbs.) $25 (up to 50 lbs.) $25 (up to 50 lbs.) $50 (51 lbs. - 70 lbs.)
Virgin Atlantic Free (up to 50 lbs.) $48 (up to 50 lbs.) $112 (up to 50 lbs.) $200 (51 lbs - 70 lbs.)

All fees and weights assume US as the point of origin, coach or economy class. International airlines assume most common destination. US airlines assume domestic US destinations. See airline websites for additional details and different origin/destination fees.

If you plan to lock your checked luggage, be sure to purchase a set of TSA approved locks (if your luggage didn't come with it). Because checked luggage may be opened for inspection, traditional locks may be cut. TSA approved locks help prevent damage to your luggage and locks. Also be sure to attach luggage tags to both your carry on and checked luggage for easy identification and for security purposes.