Luggage sizing

Nov 23rd, 2014, 05:57 PM
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Luggage sizing

I've just checked the current Fodor's article on luggage and have also noticed that luggage sizes are often referred to in inches on this Forum. I'm wondering when someone says, for example, it's a 22inch bag, what does that reference? Obviously bags come with different heights, widths and depths. In Australia, as far as I know, size is usually referred to by capacity in litres so I'm not used to measurement in inches.

Just curious....thanks.
dreamon is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2014, 06:44 PM
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It's a common size for luggage. Most airlines define weight and size, with the size limit being a total, such as this from the Delta site:

weigh 50 pounds (23 kg) or less

not exceed 62 inches (157 cm) when you total length + width + height
elberko is online now  
Nov 23rd, 2014, 06:48 PM
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Qantas uses dimension, too. I would be surprised to hear that any airline doesn't.
elberko is online now  
Nov 23rd, 2014, 06:50 PM
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The 22 inches refers to the longest measurement.

Some airlines dictate the largest allowable measurements of each of length, width and height, and some airlines also limit the total of the three measurements added together (length + width + height). Qantas uses the total measurements policy and also has weight restrictions.

Most overhead bins were designed to hold the luggage size allowed by the particular airline. Defining the allowance by capacity rather than dimensions could result in weird shapes that wouldn't fit or would take up more space, although I see Qantas has a separate policy for musical instruments.
Jean is online now  
Nov 23rd, 2014, 06:59 PM
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To be sure of compliance with a particular airline's maximum allowed, I understand the wheels, if any, should be included when measuring. I believe it's rare, though, to have a bag rejected and sent to the hold, as long as there's space in a bin and the door of the bin closes. Best to not cut it too close.
MmePerdu is offline  
Nov 24th, 2014, 12:21 AM
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Wheels (and handles) are indeed included in the given measurements by the airlines and so your measurements should be as well.

Being an inch or two two big is like being 1-2lbs over on your weight -- it comes down to the mood of the agent and your behavior up to that moment.

It's been a sneaky tactic lately for luggage companies to advertise a 22" roller that is actually 22.5-24" when you measure wheel to handle. Flyertalk is a good resource to check up on stated vs actual dimensions with regards to popular makes and models.
sparkchaser is offline  
Nov 24th, 2014, 01:01 AM
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Low cost European carriers have sizing forms that you must be able to "fit" your carry on bag into, without stuffing/ squeezing. Not fit, no go. Must pay to place in hold.
DebitNM is offline  
Nov 24th, 2014, 02:39 AM
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Regardless of what the airline, including the so-called "budget" ones, says/say, it is what does or does not happen at the check-in or at the gate that really matters.

We have been traveling in Europe by air on this current trip and on our most recent flight on British Airways we got aboard with two rollaboards that were within the BA stated and published guidelines.

There were several passengers who had luggage which was obviously not within those size guidelines and nobody made them use the "sizer" and nobody stopped them from getting onto the aircraft.

In our experience, some budget carriers may or may not exert closer scrutiny.

Then there is what happens ON the plane: every single passenger puts their luggage into the overhead bins with the wheels in first and never sideways, right?

Every single passenger puts their larger carry on in the bin and the smaller ones under the seat in front of them, right?

Every single passenger puts their luggage in the bin directly above their own seat, right?
Dukey1 is offline  
Nov 24th, 2014, 03:20 AM
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Thanks for the information. I have seen the maximum H x W x D specifications on airline sites but didn't understand what it meant to say a bag was a 22 or 28inch bag, for example. This gets referred to a lot on this forum when discussing luggage. Thanks, Jean for explaining it's the longest measurement, although I confess it doesn't seem to mean much given that the other two dimensions can vary. Anyway my curiosity has been satisfied so thanks.
dreamon is offline  
Nov 24th, 2014, 04:34 AM
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I confess it doesn't seem to mean much given that the other two dimensions can vary

The other two dimensions don't matter if you only consider the longest dimension because the longest dimension is typically the depth of the overhead and if the luggage is compliant to the max dimension, it will fit.
sparkchaser is offline  
Nov 24th, 2014, 05:50 AM
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If you look at the airline web sites they typically provide info on usable luggage by dimensions (either by in or cm) and some also have specific weight requirements (esp the low budget airlines within europe).

Those are what you have to deal with. If shopping for new luggage bring a tape measure with you. And be aware that the dimensions used by the airlines includes both the wheels and handles within the dimensions listed.

Here in the US luggage is usually sold by the largest dimension - that is a 19" for low budget airlines, 22" for US airlines (for carry-ons) and typically checked luggage runs from a moderate 24" to an enormous body bag of 30" (never reco this size for anything - many people will not be able to lift it if it;s full.)
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 24th, 2014, 06:44 AM
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Be sure not to purchase an 'underseat rolling tote' which I believe is marketed at about 15" square. The latest 737-900 United has thinned out the seats to give more knee room but the legs under such seats vary from window/middle/aisle, i.e., they do not line up w/ seats they support. My husband's aisle seat foot space was less than 12". I had 16" at window; middle was about 15" but had that unit-thingy affixed to floor. Lucky for us, we had all three seats between us so there was no issue. I have a new rolling backpack, substantially narrower than these new roll-aboard totes which worked in all three foot spots. Totes are good idea but not working necessarily on United. Recommendation for all carry-on luggage: buy as soft-sided as possible. The good news on this 737-900 was that the above-seat storage bins are higher than previous models as my 21" when stuffed and expanded had been a problem on previous domestic models; and on Lufthansa, forget it, it had to be checked. It easily fit into storage-bin on the 737-900 without working it.
aliced is offline  
Nov 24th, 2014, 10:12 AM
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People do always refer to the height or max dimension on here (22 or 25, etc). It is interesting as the other dimentions can vary. What is especially interesting is that many airlines have sizes that are too small to accommodate many suitcases of that height in the depth or front to back measurement. But people seem to always carry them on board anyway and I've never seen anyone stopped. Especially since some manufacturers seem to deliberately be making them "fatter" rather than taller, to get more in. I think a lot of airlines say the width must be 9 inches or less and a lot of bags are bigger than that if full.
Christina is online now  
Nov 24th, 2014, 10:55 AM
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Sitting in my seat a week ago, I watched as a young woman tried in vain to make her bulging "carryon" fit in the overhead. Rather than take it and check it, a large, strong male flight attendant spent some time first pushing & rotating the thing, taking out other bags, then taking it out altogether and having her remove items to make it less fat and trying again until ultimately he prevailed. If he couldn't have gotten it in, no one could have. I can't help but wonder how many connections are missed while silly people, who must carry on for no particular reason, take up everyone's time and take-off slots are missed, as I have no doubt they are.

I know there are experienced leisure and, especially, business flyers who know what will fit and travel light for a reason. But then there all the rest, like herself, above, and they're on every flight. I see no upside for anyone, including those struggling with their bags. This was on Southwest, no charge to check the thing. Certainly the gate agents can spot the offending bags, yet rarely are they just taken and checked in a timely manner. It can only be that they don't want to offend the flying public, as they have already in so many other ways. It is a mystery.
MmePerdu is offline  
Nov 24th, 2014, 02:23 PM
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I was once on a domestic US flight to Indianapolis that was delayed half an hour by luggage problems. At a certain point, when the boarding was only half finished, the line came to a grinding halt. Finally a flight attendant appeared and announced that all of the remaining bags would have to be gate checked. Yes, the first half of the passengers took up all of the available luggage bins. I had a very small bag that would have gone under the seat, but I was made to check it. Between the delay and the need to wait to collect my bag in Indianapolis, I missed the last shuttle to Bloomington, my destination, and had to take a very expensive taxi (which at least I was able to share with some IU students).

I was really annoyed to see people leaving the plane in Indianapolis with two large "carryon" bags apiece while I had to wait for my tiny little bag to appear on the conveyor belt.
bvlenci is offline  
Nov 24th, 2014, 03:06 PM
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Well as I see it, referring to luggage as 22" etc. is about dumbing down information for the general public. That of course is pretty much the norm in advertising.

The ad might read, '22" wheeled Carry-on' and the majority of people actually believe that it means they can carry it on to any airplane. They don't even realize that each airline has its own criteria for carry-on compliance.

That this advertising semi-deception works is quite evident here on Fodors where you will indeed see people referring to their 21 or 22" bag as a 'carry-on' size bag. All it really says is they don't get out much. But then neither do those who refer to their 45L bag as 'carry-on' size.

One dimension of a bag or even the cubic capacity of a bag tells you nothing except the size of the bag in one dimension or in capacity. There is far too much variance between airlines for any manufacturer to be able to refer to any bag as 'carry-on size compliant' with any real truth to it unless it is a very small bag indeed.

But more importantly, what most people fail to meet when travelling internationally is the weight limit. It can be as low as 5kg/11 lbs. on some airlines. Nor do they all allow 1 carry-on item and 1 'personal' item as many people think is universal. One carry on item means ONE on some airlines. That's your purse ladies.

Some people are now resorting to subterfuge to try and avoid checked bag fees (money is after all what it is all about).

Now you see people trying this ploy.
I find that hilarous.

If I had my way, all airlines would limit carry-on to ONE piece only (even it that was a purse) and a weight limit of 5kg./11 lbs. maximum.
Sojourntraveller is offline  
Nov 24th, 2014, 05:47 PM
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Are those coats for smugglers?

And I cannot bear it when the FAs let people on with gigantic bags - when I am always careful to have a soft-sided carry-on that fits in any airline bin and an expandable soft-sided purse that fits under any seat.

IMHO I think these are often the infrequent travelers who do think anything they can stuff into a 22" super expandable bag is fine - but then don;t think about their "personal item" which is often of the body bag variety.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 25th, 2014, 10:15 AM
Sojourntraveller is offline  

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