Carry-on Restrictions

This is a pretty simple rule that few people follow - CHECK WITH YOUR AIRLINE.

  1. Check with your airline for the SPECIFIC FLIGHT you are taking. Just because you're on United (for example), doesn't mean you're assured of rolling a 22x14x9" bag aboard. Regional Jets are becoming more and more common. The 8:00am flight to Gramma's might be a 737 but the 10:00am could easily be an Embraer or a CRJ. Neither of which will allow your roll-aboard ABOARD. You'll have to gate check it, then stand in the jetway and wrestle everybody for your bag.
  2. When you DO know what aircraft you're flying on, remember that the dimensions stated are general rules. The 22x14x9" rule for United? Good luck getting the bag in the overhead wheels or handles first in a 757. The bag will have to go sideways.
  3. Will it fit under the seat in front of you? That depends. If it's a Regional Jet, not a chance. If it's an airline that has those convenient little TV screens above the tray table? Probably not - because all of the electronics needed to run it are now under the seat (where your carry-on used to fit).
  4. Expansion Zippers. Guess what? If you expand the bag, you're making it BIGGER. Guess what else? It doesn't meet the carry-on restrictions any longer. If you need to expand the bag, you should check it, or endure the dirty looks from your fellow cabin-mates and possibly the crew. It's not the bag's fault that it no longer fits in the overhead on the way home.
  5. Travelling Internationally? Good for you! Not so good for your carry-ons. Again, check with your airline - and especially any partner airlines that might be serving the 2nd leg of your trip. United might get you to Heathrow with your maximum legal carry-on, but Aer Lingus will body-block you at the gate, charge you to check the suitcase, then weigh your backpack to make sure it's within their maximum allowable weight for a carry-on. Most Asian and Australian/New Zealand carriers only allow much smaller carry-ons.

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