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What are the size limits of a carry-on suitcase

Dear Rosanne,

I’m glad you asked this question. Many casual travelers believe that as long as they limit their carry-on baggage to one suitcase, they’re good to go. Not true. Every ticketed passenger on every domestic airline (with the exception of Spirit, which charges for carry-on bags) is entitled to one piece of luggage and on personal item (such a a purse, diaper bag or laptop bag). However, that piece of luggage must be regulation size. And while there is no industry-wide standard, your carrier will have on its web site the exact dimensions your bag must adhere to in order to avoid being sent back to the check-in counter to pay for a too-big bag.

Helpful hint: In general, if you add the width + length + height of your carry-on luggage and the total number is less than 45 inches, you’re probably good to go.

Here’s a list of links to the carry-on policies for most major airlines:

American Airlines





US Airways

Happy Travels,  


Find me on Twitter @GSBrown.


My name: Genevieve Shaw Brown. I also answer to Genny and Gen.

How I earn my keep: I work at Travelocity.

Greatest travel lesson learned: I travel for my job, but I've learned work is work, vacation is vacation, and it's best not to try and do both on one trip.

Fondest travel memory: There are so many... but a recent experience was being totally jet-lagged and waking up pre-dawn in Koh Samui, Thailand, and watching the sun rise with my husband on the beach. We talked about what all our friends and family were doing at that very same moment as the sun set back home in New York.

First thing I do in a new place: Peruse the local restaurants and map out my dining strategy for the duration of my trip. Dining strategy = eating at as many restaurants as humanly possible.

First thing I do when I get home: Put a push pin on the destination I just returned from on the map of the world that hangs on the wall above my couch.

Travel ambition: To cover that map completely in push pins.

My most beloved place in the whole world: Cockle Cove Beach in Chatham, Massachusetts.

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