Carry-on luggage gets smaller for 3 biggest US airlines

Traveling light is a goal many US travelers aspire to (and sometimes achieve) when going on vacation. But new carry-on luggage size restrictions are changing what we can store in the overhead compartment on some of the major airlines.

biggest US airlines

For years we’ve enjoyed having carry-on bags that fit 22 by 15 by 9 inches. That’s all changing for guests going on flights with American, United and Delta Airlines have all cut an inch on the width – going from 15” to 14”. 

At first blush, this may not sound like a big deal. That’s until you consider luggage manufacturers have been rolling the 22x15x9 for what seems like an eternity. And now they’re put in the position of possibly having to overhaul their entire lineup of carry-ons which means we’ll pay more in the end – either by purchasing new luggage or a baggage fee to store it on the plane.

biggest US airlines

So it doesn’t sound good, does it? You can imagine having your carry-on all set, only to be told it’s too big and has to be checked in. I can only image what kind of reactions folks will have at the desk when they hear they’ll have to pay a baggage fee on what was once perfectly fine. I bet it would look a little something like this

All is not lost, however. Many airlines in the States still have carry-on sizes that let us use the bags we already own. Alaska Airlines, Southwest, Spirit, Virgin America, AirTran, Frontier and JetBlue all have overhead bag dimensions greater than 22” x 15” x 9”. And if you’re travelling on British Airlines or Virgin Atlantic, then you can expect to get baggage up to 35½ x 29½ x 16 in size.

And just in case you’ve got the cash to toss at getting a smaller bag to take into the plane, you’ve got options. You can find a Kenneth Cole four-wheeler on at a good price. Travelpro also has a 22-inch bagunder $100 to boot that fits into those parameters for American, Delta and United. 

Will the carry-on changes make you reconsider what airline you use? Maybe take less with you? Let us know in the comments section below.