Carry-on: 17" too small? 20" too large?

Nov 11th, 2011, 10:25 AM
Original Poster
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Carry-on: 17" too small? 20" too large?

Planning to purchase my first rolling carry-on for a trip this month.
(Previously I've checked one bag and used just a laptop sized carry-on.)

At TJMaxx I found two suitable bags - a 17" London Fog and a 20" Travelpro.

In a perfect world, I'd opt for an 18-19" Travelpro but that's not an option right now.

Don't want to be a bin hog so is the 20" pushing the limits too much?

Thanks for any advice.
nyse is offline  
Nov 11th, 2011, 10:36 AM
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No. Bin hogging starts when you're over 22".
BigRuss is offline  
Nov 11th, 2011, 10:44 AM
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Mine's a 22". I feel no moral qualm about taking up that space, since it's within most airline guidelines (if I were flying on a budget airline where it isn't within the rules, I'd check it).
jent103 is offline  
Nov 11th, 2011, 10:56 AM
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If it fits, it isn't hogging IMO. What is hogging are the folks who have a 21-22 inch bag PLUS a "personal item" that is as big as a suitcase(some large carryon tote or back pack). They often get by the attendants, it seems to me.
Christina is offline  
Nov 11th, 2011, 11:29 AM
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I used to carry on with a smaller than 22" bag just for the easier handling. But then I figured out how nice it was to give my bag to someone else to mess with and went back to checking. I figured out that disappearing bag syndrome was preventable by the following: not changing airlines when connecting, having only 1 connection if possible to further reduce the odds and only choosing connections that are long enough for your bag to keep up with you. Since then my bag has always arrived with me. But if I was going to carry on I'd go with the 20 incher. And if you're able to get what you need in a smaller size, the smaller the better. I think the 22" bags are pushing the limits of civility.
joannay is offline  
Nov 11th, 2011, 12:53 PM
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My carry-on is about the maximum limit (22" or perhaps just a tad larger). It fits vertically in many of the overhead bins (barely) so I don't even have to turn it sideways which would take up a lot more room.

I've been doing "carry-on only" traveling for a couple of years now, even for two multi-week trips to Europe. On almost all of my flights, I would have been able to check at least one bag for free, so I don't do this to save money. (I try to fly Southwest when flying in the US.) There are of course many reasons to avoid checking bags: being sure your bags arrive with you (especially at the beginning of a long vacation with many stops/moves), not needing to wait longer than necessary for your bags after your plane arrives, etc.

One other big benefit I've found of traveling with small bags is that it forces you not to overpack (or not much!). When I go to Europe, having smaller bags makes moving around much easier when traveling by public transit. I remember my first trips to Europe when I brought big bags: I used to bring EVERYTHING, then I had to struggle with big bags. No more!
Andrew is online now  
Nov 11th, 2011, 01:18 PM
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I just decided that, for me, carry-on was overrated. I still travel with a small bag, often for months at a time, but I've given up the overhead bin struggle. It's not how much you bring but what.
joannay is offline  
Nov 11th, 2011, 05:13 PM
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A 20" bag is fine .... not a problem when flying US based carriers. However if you'll be using a European carrier, do check carry-on guidelines as they can differ. Actually I think some carriers have weight restrictions in addition to size restrictions.
JBX is offline  
Nov 11th, 2011, 07:28 PM
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Either size would be fine, but for practicality/convenience I'd personally go for the 20" bag. Then if you decide to go carry-on only, you'll have an easier time of it.

I haven't checked a bag in about 15 years (except for a couple of gate checks on small regional jets). My toughest time is on VS. Virgin still weighs carry ons and their 6 kilo limit does require a bit of 'creativity'. BA used to have the same weight limit but now they go strictly by size.

Doesn't matter if it is a weekend or a month -- my 21 incher is plenty big enough for any type of trip. Not only do I save time/hassle at both the departure and arrival airports, my bags get much less abuse/wear/tear.
janisj is online now  
Nov 12th, 2011, 05:54 PM
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I bought the landor hawa 22 inch and it was big for me. The overhead just closed with it vertical. I did ok on flights with big planes but had to pay and check on a smaller plane from Edinburgh to Dublin. It was fine going over but they switched us to a small plane and yes I had to pay 24 pounds. I want a smaller one for next trip. I hate hauling a big suitcase on buses and trains. The Landor Hawa is so light so did ok when they weighed my bag leaving Dublin with all the goodies I bought. I always carry on going and check that bag coming home.
flpab is offline  
Nov 12th, 2011, 08:36 PM
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Second JBX's comment. I suspect that carryon luggage limits are larger and heavier for American carriers. Check before buying.

Last time I travelled, I took two small bags (one on my back) and found it more convenient than one larger bag.
dreamon is offline  
Nov 13th, 2011, 02:26 AM
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Many airlines in Europe only allow one piece of hand luggage - which includes personal items and airport shopping
alanRow is offline  
Nov 13th, 2011, 03:38 AM
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I think the 17" is going to be 'way too small for what you bring personally. Another good place to shop for luggage is Tuesday Morning if you have one.
We have 22" that are expandable, and when we do the 22" size it fits in the newly (several years now) conformed bins straight in. Some British carriers do have different restrictions as someone mentioned.
Gretchen is offline  
Nov 13th, 2011, 04:31 AM
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Thanks for your sound advice.
Think part of my hesitation was the fact that bags "measure bigger" than stated dimensions. I'll go with the 20".

Travel safely everyone.
nyse is offline  

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