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Luggage Buyer's Guide

Answers To Our Most Frequently Asked Questions

General Luggage FAQs

Linear inches are the measurement that the airlines ultimately use to determine whether or not a bag meets their carry-on requirements. To determine total linear inches, measure the distance from the floor to the highest point on the top of the bag – this is typically the grab handle or the top of the closed telescoping handle. Then, measure the width of the bag from side-to-side when looking at it from the front. Then, measure the thickness of the bag when looking at it from the side. The sum of these equals the "total linear inches." The most common carry-on size requirement is 22" x 14" x 9" equivalent to 45 total linear inches.

Carry On Dimensions

Every manufacturer's warranty is different, so it's important to look for the warranty information for the item you are considering in the item's product description on the website.

If you wish to see all detailed warranty information all in one place, please visit our Warranty Center and browse warranties by brand.

Most manufacturers do not cover damage caused by airline baggage handlers or baggage movement systems. However, certain premium brands such as Eagle Creek, Victorinox and Briggs & Riley do in fact extend their warranties to cover any sort of damage, with "no questions asked." This sort of coverage is often only on certain products within a brand's offering, so please read the warranty information on the product detail page of the item you are considering.

There is no official industry standard for how luggage is measured. However, since most manufacturers consciously try to meet the majority of the airlines' carry-on standards, most of them use this method: Measure the distance from the floor to the highest point on the top of the bag – this is typically the grab handle or the top of the closed telescoping handle. Then, measure the width of the bag from side-to-side when looking at it from the front. Then, measure the thickness of the bag when looking at it from the side.

Carry On Dimensions

3-1-1 is the name for the TSA rule about carrying liquids on board airplanes.

  • The rule covers ANY liquids including toiletries, drinks, and food.
  • The 3-1-1 rule states that you may carry 3 ounce or smaller containers of liquid or gel in a 1 quarter-size clear plastic zip-top bag, and only 1 bag per traveler. The bag must be placed in the security bin (not packed in your carry-on luggage).
  • The only exceptions are medications, breast milk, baby formula, juice, and other liquids necessary for travelers with children and travelers with medical conditions and in such cases, the items must be declared for inspection at the checkpoint.
  • Many toiletries these days come in travel sizes that meet the 3 oz. requirements. If you prefer to fill your own containers, see our selection of 3-1-1 kits that meet these TSA requirements.

NOTE: In order to be fully prepared, check the TSA website before you pack and leave for your flight. Knowing the TSA procedures in advance will save you time and hassle. The TSA website has all of the information you need to get through security faster including lists of prohibited items, rules for carrying on liquids, tips for traveling with children, and information for travelers with special needs.

Please check your airline's website for details prior to your flight - but in general, the weight limitations are as follows:

Carry-on weight limits:

  • Carry-on luggage weight limits average around 40 lbs. on U.S. flights.
  • Carry-on luggage weight limits average around 22 lbs. on flights from the U.S. to international destinations (including Canada and Mexico).
  • Please contact your airline for weight limits on flights within the continents of Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Australia.

Checked luggage weight limits:

  • Checked luggage weight limits average around 50 lbs. on domestic flights, with a normal limit of 2 bags per person.
  • Checked luggage weight limits average around 44 lbs. on flight from the U.S. to international destinations, including Canada and Mexico, with a normal limit of 2 bags per person.
  • Please contact your airline for weight limits on flights within the continents of Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Australia.

NOTE: If you exceed the stated carry-on or checked luggage weight limits for your airline, you may be required to pay an overweight bag fee for each bag that is over the limit. Travel experts recommend that you weight your checked and carry-on luggage at home, before you leave for the airport. To get the most accurate measurement, you will need to use a Luggage Scale, which is designed specifically for this purpose.

To clean soft-sided fabric luggage (e.g., polyester or nylon) use a mild soap, water and a clean cloth. Massage in soap and dab with wet cloth. Then dab dry with a clean, colorfast cloth. For Hardside luggage, use glass cleaner or automotive polish and gently buff off the dirt with a non-abrasive clean cloth sponge.

Carry-On FAQs

The most often-used carry-on size by major airlines in the U.S. is 22" x 14" x 9" (or 45 total linear inches). If your carry-on meets the total 45" rule, you will often be able to carry on your bag, even if it does not meet the exact dimensions above. However, it is important to check with your airline prior to travelling with a carry-on, as each airline's requirements may vary for reasons specific only to that airline.

Carry On Dimensions

Remember that Canada & Mexico are considered International Travel, and airlines that fly into these countries may enforce more restrictive carry-on requirements than they use on their U.S. flights. It's important to check with your airline prior to travelling with a carry-on in order to ensure that you're in compliance with their regulations.

Overseas flights and flights within other continents often have even more restrictive carry-on baggage requirements. Again, it's critical to check with your airline(s) to ensure you have the correct information before travelling.

If your carry-on meets the widely accepted 22" x 14" x 9" (45 total linear inches) standard for U.S. airlines, it will likely fit in the overhead bin of most widely-used airliners. However, if your itinerary suggests that you may be flying on a regional jet or smaller, you may want to check with your airline to confirm that your carry-on will fit in the overhead bin.

22" x 14" x 9" wheeled carry-ons that fit into the overhead bins will NOT fit underneath the seat. Since under seat space will vary from one type of airliner to another, it's best to check with your airline in advance to confirm if your carry-on will fit under the seat on your flight

NOTE: Un-structured (i.e. soft sided) duffel or tote style carry-ons have a greater chance of fitting underneath the seat than a carry-on with wheels and handle, no matter how small.

There is no industry standard for how much an "expandable" carry-on will expand when you use the expansion zippers. However, most manufacturers allow for 1.5" to 3" of expandability in their expandable carry-ons.

NOTE: if you expand your carry-on bag, your total linear inches is likely to exceed 45", and you may be asked to gate check your bag at the airport.

There is no industry standard for how much weight a carry-on will hold, and manufacturers typically don't publish this information, even if they have tested their bags in this manner. A good rule of thumb is simply: Try not to over-pack your carry-on. If you've over-packed your carry-on, and a ticketing or gate agent suspects that your bag may be too large, or overweight, you may be required to check your carry-on instead of taking it on board. Also, over-packed carry-ons are more likely to wear out prematurely, and to cause unnecessary bodily strain on the user.

Garment Bag FAQs

Since the closed external measurements determine the true "size" of the garment bag, manufacturers typically only publish the closed measurements of their garment bags.

In the product description of each garment bag on site, you will find details about the number of suits, skirts or dresses that each will comfortably hold. Or, you may use the convenient links in our Garment Bags category to filter by the number of garments.

No, very few if any manufacturers include hangers with their garment bags. Instead, they attempt to develop internal hanger locks that will accommodate the most commonly used home closet hangers.

No. Removable "suiters" or "garment sleeves" (as these are commonly known) are found in some carry-ons, but not in garment bags (the garment bag itself is the "suiter").

Garment sleeves by themselves are also available for purchase on site. They're a great option to carrying a heavy garment bag when you only have a few garments you need to protect.

Hardside Luggage FAQs

Yes, hardside luggage will show external wear and tear. The extent of the wear and tear will vary depending on the surface texture of the luggage. Shiny, smoothly surfaced hardside luggage will show more wear than surfaces with texture or a design on them.

Hardside luggage is an outstanding choice for many reasons. It's very often lightweight, it offers reliable protection from airline abuse, and it's water and stain resistant. As a bonus, it's easy to clean, and often comes in a variety of fashion colors.

Yes, the smaller pieces in a collection or set of hardside luggage generally are designed to pack inside of the next larger piece for storage.

Yes, some manufacturers make expandable pieces within their hardside collections. It's important to check the product description on the website of the item you are considering in order to see if it is expandable or not. Or, you can check out our selection of expandable hardside luggage on site.

NOTE: Because hardside luggage is less flexible on the exterior of the bag than a soft-sided piece of luggage, this means that the normal stresses of airline travel are transferred more readily to the zippers, wheels and handle systems. You'll want to try to resist the temptation to over-pack your hardside luggage.

Spinner Luggage FAQs

Yes! That's why our customers love spinner luggage so much. As many of them say, once you try a spinner, you'll never go back. Spinner luggage navigates airports, parking lots and airplane aisles with ease.

Not usually. A soft-sided (i.e. fabric) spinner might be slightly heavier than a comparable two-wheeled piece due to the extra 2 wheels, but the increase in mobility more than makes up for any extra weight. Hardside spinners however, are most often lighter than a comparably sized two-wheeled carry-on, because of their lightweight exterior shells.

The benefits of spinners are many. They give the impression of "gliding" rather than rolling, and they navigate airports, parking lots and airplane aisles far more easily than standard two-wheeled luggage. Hardside spinners have all the same benefits plus the added bonus of the external protection from the abuses of air travel.

Most traditional two-wheeled luggage uses what's become known as "inline skate wheels" (like you'd see on a pair of inline skates). Inline skate wheels only move one-dimensionally; either backwards or forwards. Spinner wheels however, move independently on a 360-degree axis, which allows for far greater freedom of movement. There are no significant differences in durability between spinner wheels and inline skate wheels.

Lightweight Luggage FAQs

There are no industry standards for what is considered to be "lightweight" luggage, but the loose guidance below may be useful in helping you make your purchase. You will want to pay close attention to the differences in weights for comparably sized bags across varying brands of luggage.

The guide below is based on the most frequently found sizes & weights in the luggage industry today:

22" & under:
Under 9 lbs is considered "lightweight"
Under 8 lbs is considered "ultra-lightweight"

23" – 27":
9 to 11 lbs is considered "lightweight"
Under 9 lbs is considered "ultra-lightweight"

28" or larger:
12 to 15 lbs is considered "lightweight"
Under 12 lbs is considered "ultra-lightweight"

There is no industry standard for how much lighter a "lightweight" piece of luggage should be compared to a similarly sized "standard" piece of luggage. However, remember that the less your luggage weighs when empty, the more you can pack into it, and still have the bag weigh a manageable amount when you're done. Also, a lightweight bag is far less likely to exceed an airline's maximum weight limit, and thus, will help you avoid overweight baggage fees.

Many luggage brands make luggage that they call "lightweight." However, better and premium brands use superior materials and construction in order to make lightweight bags that are also durable. Be sure to read other customers' reviews of a bag when making your final purchasing decision.

If long-term durability is more important to you than price, be sure to look for better brands like Samsonite, eBags, Eagle Creek, Travelpro, Delsey and Victorinox.

Luggage manufacturers are always trying to outdo each other for the "lightest" luggage in the marketplace, so what's "lightest" today may not be tomorrow. However, you can always find the latest selection of lightweight luggage and ultra-lightweight luggage right on site.

The answer to this question varies, based on the size, construction and quality of the lightweight bag. Lightweight luggage from premium brands will tend to perform better under load than lightweight luggage from value brands.

If you're in the market for durable, lightweight luggage, look for better brands like Samsonite, eBags, Eagle Creek, Travelpro, Delsey and Victorinox

NOTE: Keep in mind that with any luggage, over-packing will magnify the stress on the wheels, handles, zippers and seams with every movement, and may lead to premature failure of key components.

Checked Luggage FAQs

This is a very personal question – it really depends on the length of your trip, your mode of travel, whether you're a light or a heavy packer, and whether you tend to return from your trips with more or less than you left with.

For 3-4 day trips, most travelers will need a 24" - 26" upright.
For 4-7 day trips, most travelers will need a 29" or larger upright.

Rolling Luggage Size Guide

Rolling luggage comes in many shapes and sizes. Use the chart below to determine which size best meets your needs. Once you've chosen a size, click to see our full assortment of rolling luggage in that size.

*Dimensions include handles and wheels.

NOTE: When checking a bag, you'll always want to use the smallest bag possible that will adequately hold your belongings for the length of trip you are going on. As bags get larger, they get heavier, and you become more susceptible to overweight baggage fees.

That depends on the material the bag is made of. Hardside luggage is an excellent choice for anyone whose primary concern is protection of their belongings from the abuse of airline travel, and the elements in general.

With soft-sided luggage (e.g. nylon, polyester), the higher the "denier" of the fabric (e.g. 1,200 denier nylon), the more durable the fabric is likely to be.

NOTE: Better and premium brands use superior materials and construction in order to make bags that are durable when checked. Value brands tend to use less expensive materials and construction methods. Be sure to read other customers' reviews of a bag when making your purchasing decision.

Hardside luggage often has TSA locks built right into the closure on the luggage. Very few soft-sided luggage pieces have this feature, however. Please check the product description of the item you are considering for this feature.

Almost all soft-sided checked luggage is expandable, while some Hardside luggage is also expandable. Most manufacturers allow for 1.5 to 3" of expandability in their expandable luggage. Please check the product descriptions on site for whether or not a bag is expandable, or visit our Expandable Luggage section on site.

NOTE: When you expand your checked luggage, it's easy to over-pack and exceed the weight limit on your airline, causing you to pay an overweight baggage fee at check-in. To know whether or not you've stayed under the weight limit, use a luggage scale at home to weigh your bag before you depart.

Travel Totes FAQs

Many will, but some may not. An airline typically calls the item that fits underneath the seat your "personal item," as opposed to your carry-on, which more often goes into the overhead bin.

An un-structured (i.e. soft sided) duffel or tote has a greater chance of fitting underneath the seat than a carry-on with wheels and handle, no matter how small. If you have a wheeled tote with dimensions greater than 16" x 14" x 9", you may want to check with your airline to verify that it will fit underneath the seat on your flight.

Many travel totes feature a pass-through sleeve that will allow you to neatly slip your tote over the top of the telescoping handle on your carry-on. Check the product description of the item you are considering on site, and look for words like "pass-through sleeve," or "back slip panel."

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