This guide gives an overview of the luggage size and security restrictions that you need to take into consideration when flying internationally. We will look at carry on and checked luggage, what size luggage is allowed and what common items are you allowed to pack in each.
It is advised that you always check with your airline and relevant government agencies before travelling to check that the information, correct at the time of writing, has not changed or any additional requirements have been added.
Before we get into the finer details of sizes and restrictions for carry on and checked luggage, this info-graphic gives an overview of some of the most popular items carried and whether they are allowed in carry on luggage, checked items or both.
For a run down on all types of goods and their restrictions, or not, you can visit the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website (for US, the UK government site for UK, or the national information site for the country that you are flying out of or into).
Carry On Luggage Restrictions
The type of bag you use as your carry on is not prescribed so whether a tote, backpack or a standard carry on case (Best Carry On Luggage Review) the following restrictions will apply with regards the size and weight of the bag or case.
So what are you allowed or likely to want to carry in your hand luggage:
In simple terms you will probably have valuables (not directly on your person), a laptop/tablet or books and magazines for some entertainment value, any medication you require and snacks/food you need. If traveling with children, your needs will probably expand somewhat especially if they are babies or toddlers (see our article on flying with children).
With regards laptops and tablets, you should have no issue although these will have to be separated for scanning as you pass through security.
Sports equipment that could be used as a weapon such as baseball bats, hockey sticks etc. are destined for the hold.
The main ‘problem’ areas are likely to be around medicines and fluids whether they be for consumption or cosmetics. The following video gives a run through of the rules around liquids, pastes etc. Note if you are travelling with babies or toddlers some are relaxed although you will need to separate as described.
Once ‘air-side’ you will be able to purchase drinks etc. that you will then be able to take onto the plane.
Checked/Hold Luggage Restrictions
Most items can be stored in the hold. There are some restrictions on things like firearms for example, that can be carried in some circumstances.
The main things that are not allowed in your checked luggage or anywhere on the plane for that matter are items that are potentially highly flammable.
As detailed earlier the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website gives a full run down on whether you can take almost any item you could think of.
Luggage Size and Weight Restrictions
The table below gives an overview of the size and weight restrictions for both carry on and checked luggage. The size of the luggage is either expressed as height x width x depth or as a single measurement that is the allowance if you sum the height, width and depth.
This Information is provided as a guide. You should always consult with your airlines terms and conditions to check what allowances are in place and the cost for baggage. As always beware of packing excessively as further charges may be incurred.
|Airline||Hand Luggage||Weight Restriction||Checked Luggage||Weight Restrictions|
|American Airlines||22 x 14 x 9||N/A||62 in.||50 lbs.|
|Delta Airlines||22 x 14 x 9||N/A||62 in.||50 lbs.|
|United Airlines||22 x 14 x 9||N/A||62 in.||50 lbs.|
|Southwest Airlines||10 x 16 x 24||N/A||62 in.||50 lbs.|
|JetBlue Airways||22 x 14 x 9||N/A||62 in.||50 lbs.|
|Alaska Airlines||24 x 17 x 10||N/A||62 in.||50 lbs.|
|Spirit Airlines||22 x 18 x 10||N/A||62 in.||40 lbs.|
|Frontier Airlines||24 x 10 x 16||35 lbs||62 in.||50 lbs.|
|Hawaiian Airlines||22 x 14 x 9||25 lbs||62 in.||50 lbs.|
|Virgin America||51 in**||30 lbs||62 in.||50 lbs.|
|WOW Air||22 x 18 x 10||N/A||62 in.||44 lbs.|
|British Airways||22 x 18 x 10||51 lbs||35.5 x 29.5 x 16||50 lbs.|
|Norwegian Air||21.7 x 15.7 x 7.9||22 lbs||118 in||70.5 lbs|
|Korean Air||45 in**||25 lbs||62 in||70 lbs|
|Asiana Airlines||21.6 x 15.7 x 7.8||22 lbs||62 in||50 lbs|
|Emirate Airlines||22 x 15 x 8||15 lbs||59 in||50 lbs|
|Air India||22 x 14 x 8||17 lbs||62 in||55 lbs|
|Turkish Air||21.6 x 15.6 x 9||17.6 lbs||62 in||44 lbs|
|Qatar Airlines||20 x 15 x 10||15 lbs||62 in||2 bags (50 lbs per bag)|
|Japan Airlines||22 x 16 x 10||22 lbs||79 in||50 lbs|
|Allegiant Air||22 x 14 x 9||25 lbs||80 in||40 lbs|
|Volaris||*22.4 x 15.7 x 12.9*||42 lbs including personal item||62 in||55 lbs|
|Lufthansa||22 x 16 x 9||17 lbs||62 in||50 lbs|
|Air Canada||9 x 15.5 x 21.5||22 lbs||62 in||50 lbs|
|Air France||21 x 13 x 9||26 lbs||62 in||50 lbs|
|Copa Airlines||46 in**||22 lbs||62 in||52 lbs|
|Ryanair||21.6 x 15.7 x 7.8||22 lbs||N/A||from 15 lbs-44 lbs|
|WestJet||21 x 9 x 15||N/A||62 in||50 lbs|
|Singapore Airlines||45 in**||15 lbs||62 in||66 lbs|
|Aer Lingus||21.5 x 15.5 x 9.5||22 lbs||62 in||50 lbs|
|Interjet||21 x 15 x 9||22 lbs||N/A||55 lbs|
|Caribbean Airlines||45 in**||22 lbs||62 in||50 lbs|
|Philippine Airlines||45 in**||15 lbs||62 in||50 lbs|
|Icelandair||21.6 x 15.7 x 7.8||22 lbs||62 in||50 lbs|
|easyJet||21.6 x 15.7 x 7.8||N/A||108 in||up to 50 lbs|