Whenever you are travelling, whether on domestic flights or international, it is important to take into consideration the size of your luggage. This is because most airlines have certain restrictions about luggage size, weight and dimensions. Bags are usually weighed at the check-in counter, which also have baggage sizers to measure the luggage. If the passenger’s luggage does not fulfil the specific guidelines, then it is classified as an “excess baggage” which usually carries an extra charge.
Keeping all these considerations in mind, the task of choosing the right luggage for your journey can be quite daunting. Determining the baggage size depends on a multiplicity of factors, like the length of your stay and the purpose of your visit. For instance, frequent fliers and people travelling for business purposes always prefer to just take a carry-on bag, while those on vacation often carry multiple bags in different sizes. This guide will help you in this process by providing a comprehensive explanation of all the steps required in choosing the right baggage size.
Measuring Baggage Sizes
The best way to ensure that your baggage size meets the airline requirements is by measuring it in the exact way it is done by the airport authorities. The first step in the process is placing it upright with the right side up, that is, with wheels on the bottom and the handle on the top. However, it is important to not pull out the extendable handle while measuring.
- Measure the height of the baggage from the bottom of the wheels to the tallest part which is the carry handle.
- The width of the baggage is measured at the widest point, from side to side. If the bag is soft-sided, then the widest part is usually found at the back. Hard-shell bags are usually more symmetrical and can be measured from any side.
- The length of the bag or its height is extremely important in the bag’s measurement, especially if it is a carry-on bag. The height is usually measured at the lengthwise, and includes the wheels and pockets.
The depth of the bag is also important with carry-on luggage as it has to fit in the overhead compartment of the plane. For measuring the depth, the bag has to be laid on its back and measured from the front to the back, without expanding it. The measurements end up differing in soft-sided bags, as they expand when overstuffed.
It is also important to look at the volume and capacity of the bags to make sure you choose the right one for your journey. While volume refers to the amount of space that is provided in the suitcase, capacity refers to the number of things that can be stuffed into it.
Carry-on luggage refers to the hand baggage that is usually taken on-board the plane to be kept in an overhead compartment in the plane. Though the size recommendation for carry-on bags depends on the airlines, the standard size is considered to be 22 inches in height, 14 inches in width and 9 inches in depth. One of the biggest advantages of choosing a carry-on bag is that your belongings are not entrusted with the airlines, which ensures that it arrives at the destination undamaged.
Carry-on baggage has three different sizes, which are as follows-
- Small cabin bag: This usually has a capacity of 30-40 litres and is best for one or two-day trips. The standard dimensions of these bags are: 18x13x7 inches (HxWxD).
- Large cabin bag: This usually has a capacity of 40-45 litres and is best for 2-3 day trips. The standard dimensions of these bags are: 20×14.4×9.2 inches (HxWxD).
- Extra-large cabin bag: This usually has a capacity of 40-50 litres and is best for 2-4 day trips. The standard dimensions of these bags are: 22x15x9.5 inches (HxWxD).
Besides the carry-on baggage, many airlines also allow a personal item, generally one that is small, which can be taken on-board the plane. The personal items usually include a purse, a briefcase, a laptop bag, and others. The restriction for the size of personal items differs on the basis of airlines. However, one must ensure that the dimension and weight of the personal item are smaller as compared to the carry-on bag.
There are many benefits of carry-on luggage:
- They help you avoid baggage fees.
- They help you save time by avoiding the wait around the baggage carousel at the destination.
- They reduce the risk of your belongings getting lost, and even prevent damage to them as you are in constant possession of your bag.
Check-in luggage consists of any and all items that are not taken into the cabin. They are kept in the cargo hold of the plane and are inaccessible to the passengers for the entire duration of the flight. They include suitcases of all sizes, and cardboard boxes, sports equipment and the likes. Any item that does not meet the requirements of carry-on baggage is also counted as check-in luggage. However, there are certain items like those that resemble weapons, lithium batteries and liquids over 3.4 ounces, that are prohibited.
Standard size requirements: The standard size for check-in luggage in domestic flights is around 62 linear inches, while that for international flights depends on the airlines. Any bag larger than the standard size requirement is allowed on the flight after levying an additional charge.
The checked baggage also has three different sizes, which are-
- Medium-sized luggage: The medium-sized suitcases and bags are best for short trips spanning 4-7 days. They are usually 60-75 litres in capacity, with the dimensions of 24x17x10 inches (HxWxD).
- Large-sized luggage: This is a versatile and spacious luggage size that is suitable for trips that last longer than a week (7-10 days). They are usually 100-117 litres in capacity, with the dimensions of 27×18.5×14 inches (HxWxD).
- Extra-large luggage: The extra-large-sized suitcases are best for long term-travel and international trips (7-14 days or more). They are usually 120-130 litres in capacity, with the dimensions of 32x22x14 inches (HxWxD).
The largest luggage that can count as check-in baggage can measure 31x23x14 inches (HxWxD) and have a maximum weight of 35 kg. Any luggage larger than this will usually be refused by the airline for safety reasons.
An excess baggage fee is levied on any luggage that does not meet the weight requirements of an airline. This additional fee is usually less for carry-on bags when compared to that for checked-in luggage. An extra fee is charged on top of the excess baggage fee for all luggage items that do not meet the size requirements. To avoid this fee, one must be best prepared and take into consideration all the size requirements for their luggage.