Let me start with a popular joke, ‘Why did the photon pack few clothes? Because it was traveling light’. But not all of us travel light. Sometimes we travel with heavy luggage and then comes the nightmare, the oversize, overweight fees. To avoid getting charged such a ridiculous amount for a few extra pounds, it is important to measure your luggage before heading out to the airport.
When measuring luggage, the questions like, how luggage is measured, how do airlines check baggage, how to weight luggage at home, or how to measure the capacity, come usually into our head. After broad research, I have found out the answers and now I am sharing those answers with you. I have also added a luggage size chart for personal items, carry-on & checked luggage.
How Luggage Is Measured?
Airlines usually use a frame, called ‘Carry-on Sizer’, to measure your luggage. If your luggage doesn’t fit in there, your bag will be forced to check. But at home, a classic tape measure, a large ruler, body tape measure, and even credit cards can be used for measuring luggage.
To start measuring your luggage, stand your luggage upright instead of laying it down to the ground, collapse your handles as much as possible and if possible then measure the luggage when it is full.
Measure every dimension at the widest point. Height should be measured from the top of the bag down to the ground, in case of width, measure from one side of the bag to the other and measure the bag’s depth from front to back
Recommended Measurement Methods:
Non-Recommended Measurement Methods:
How Do Airlines Measure Check Baggage?
The maximum allowed checked luggage dimension for most of the airplane is 62 linear (total) inches and the weight limit is 50 pounds. However, Airlines allow additional checked luggage and overweight luggage for extra fees.
For instance, American Airlines doesn’t allow checked bags that weigh more than 100 pounds, so if your luggage weighs more than 50 pounds, you will be charged $100 but if the bag weighs more than 70 pounds, you will be charged from $200 up to $450 based on countries you’re flying to or from.
According to passengers, airlines don’t measure the dimensions of checked baggage frequently. But they put sticky tape on the wall for determining the approximate dimension of a suitcase. If any checked luggage seems larger than the allowed dimension, they measure that particular one. However, they do measure the weight of checked luggage.
Luggage Size Chart for Personal Item, Carry-on & Checked Luggage
Every airline has different luggage dimensions and weight restrictions. The maximum carry-on size on most airlines is 22x14x9 inches or a total of 45 inches and the usual weight limit is 40 pounds but many airlines like Delta, Southwest, JetBlue don’t imply any weight restrictions. On the other hand, Airlines mostly measure checked luggage in linear inches. The total summation of height, weight, and length is called linear inches.
Here’s a look at the personal item, carry-on, and checked luggage size limits for 15 major airlines.
|S/L||Airline||Personal Item (Each)||Carry-On (Each)||Checked (Each)|
|1||American Airlines||18 x 14 x 8 in||22 x 14 x 9 in||Total 62 in|
|2||Delta Air Lines||Not Specified||22 x 14 x 9 in||Total 62 in|
|3||Southwest Airlines||18.5 x 8.5 x 13.5 in||24 x 16 x 10 in||Total 62 in|
|4||United Airlines||17 x 10 x 9 in||22 x 14 x 9 in ||Total 62 in|
|5||Air Canada||17 x 13 x 6||21.5 x 15.5 x 9||Total 62 in|
|6||Alaska Airlines||Not Specified||22" x 14" x 9"||Total 62 in|
|7||JetBlue Airways||17 x 13 x 8 in||22" x 14" x 9"||Total 62 in|
|8||Spirit Airlines||18 x 14 x 8||22 x 18 x10||Total 62 in|
|9||WestJet||16 x 13 x 6 in||21 x 15 x 9||Total 62 in|
|10||Frontier Airlines||18 x 14 x 8||24 x 16 x 10||Total 62 in|
|11||Interjet||Not Specified||21 x 15 x 9 in||Total 62 in|
|12||Allegiant Air||16 x 15 x7||22 x 14 x 9||Total 62 in|
|13||Emirates||Not Specified||21.7 x 15 x 7.9 in||Total 62 in|
|14||Hawaiian Airlines||Not Specified||22 x 14 x 9||Total 62 in|
|15||Sun Country Airlines||17 x 13 x 9 in||24 x 16 x 11 in||Total 62 in|
How to Weigh Luggage at Home?
Although airlines usually don’t measure the weight of carry-on luggage, they love to measure checked luggage. If they somehow find overweight checked luggage, they’ll start charging you from $100. So, it is always so important to measure the weight of your luggage before heading to the airport.
Recommended Measurement Methods:
- Handheld Luggage Scales: Using handheld scales to measure your luggage weight is both easy and efficient. You can purchase one in big box stores, airports, or online.
If you think buying a scale is expensive, you should see the overweight charges on different airlines.
- Bathroom Scale: You can’t directly put your luggage on the bathroom scale to measure the weight. You have to take a different approach to measure the exact weight of your luggage.
If your luggage is too heavy to carry, place a stool on the scale, then put, your luggage on top of the stool. Then, subtract the stool’s weight from the overall weight to get the exact weight.
Non-Recommended Measurement Methods:
- Plastic Bags: This method is pretty much guesswork. Suppose, your empty checked luggage weighs 8 pounds (Google your luggage name and brand to know the empty bag’s weight).
Then fill one plastic bag with clothes until you fill like the bag weighs 8 pounds. Stand up on the ground with the filled plastic bag in one hand and luggage on the other hand. Now by using your sense, you can guess if the plastic feels heavier, lighter, or equal compared to the empty luggage. You want to have equal weight on both hands.
So, if you continue the process, say 3 times, your luggage will weigh 32 pounds (8 times 3 plus the weight of empty luggage, 8 pounds. 8×3+8 = 32).
Pro Tip: If you have more than one luggage to check, send the heavier one first. Because you can always shift some items to the lighter one if the heavier one gets detected as overweight.
How to Measure Luggage Capacity?
There are two ways you can measure the capacity of luggage.
- Google your luggage name and brand to find out the capacity of your luggage.
- Use a ‘Dimensions to Capacity’ calculator.
Usually, the dimensions, capacity are written on the manual or sticker that comes with luggage.
Remember, the result from the volume calculator will give you the approximate capacity. You need to ask the manufacturer for the exact capacity.
Now you know how to measure your luggage and you will be able to reach your destination without paying extra fees. How cool is that?
Let’s do a quick recap of the important things we’ve learned about measuring your luggage:
Quick question: which measurement method do you recommend for others? Let us know in the comment section.
If you have any questions at all, you can ask me in the comment section or you can simply contact me. Peace.