What If My Carry On Is One Inch Too Big? (Expert Tips and Advice)

So what if your carry-on is one inch too big? And how big can a carry-on be?

It is devastating to expect a beautiful trip; but at the airport you get surprised that your carry-on bag is oversized and It may not be a way to avoid paying some additional baggage fees; and the airline can’t lose your bag unless it is checked.

Most airlines have a luggage sizer at the check-in counter to ensure passengers bags are within the size limits, and If your bag is only one inch too big, that’s usually okay, but if it’s more than 2 or 3 inches too big, your carry-on bag will be subject to checked baggage rules.

I have already did a research for you, you can browse all major airlines baggage allowance.

Let’s dive right in.

What if my carry on is one inch too big
How strict are carry on size limits / Image Flickr

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What If My Carry-on Is One Inch Too Big?

Most airlines have a standard carry on baggage allowance of 22” x 14” x 9”, including the handles, side pockets, and wheels.

Some airlines’ standard carry-on baggage size may be different by some inches.

Your carry-on luggage size must adhere to the airline’s policy so it can be accepted and stored properly in the overhead bin, or under the seat in front of you.

It is preferable to transport a light carry-on bag, and put all your heavy items(not personal items) in the checked baggage.

However, traveling with carry-on luggage only is being able to transport your belongings yourself without entrusting them to the airline and hoping they’ll arrive at your destination on time and in one, undamaged piece.

How Strict Are Carry-On Size Limits?

As stated above The most commonly allowed airline carry-on size is 22” x 14” x 9”, which includes the handles, side pockets, and wheels.

Airlines have luggage size at the airport and there is more chance that you will be required to place your bag inside it. If it doesn’t fit, you will check the bag in the luggage hold .

However, Most airlines aren’t too strict about the exact size of carry-on luggage.

Some travelers had their bags never measured in the airport , although their luggage has been a little over the size restrictions of some airlines such as Ryanair.

It has helped that for most of that time they traveled with backpacks, which are less likely to draw the attention of the airline staff than suitcases. 

It’s best to try to board the plane as early as possible as space in the overhead bins can run out, and some budget airlines (like Southwest and Spirit Airlines ) won’t guarantee that there will be space for your cabin luggage even if you meet the restrictions.

What Happens If My Hand Luggage Is Too Big?

What will happen if your carry-on is too big is some airlines may charge you and some may not. It depends on the airline, a low cost may check the size before boarding and ask you to check it in, with additional charge for that.

But mostly you should check your bag size and make sure it is not too big. If you missed the size of your bag and you find yourself on board the airplane and your bag is too large, the Cabin Crew will most usually “Gate Check” your bag.

That is they will have it stored in the checked luggage compartment of the aircraft for transport.

the best part is that Most Major airlines won’t check the size, unless it’s obviously way too big or heavier than their luggage allowance, but you may need to consider where is that extra inch, if it’s too wide/thick, it may not fit in the baggage overhead compartment and a flight attendant may check it in for you.

People also ask:

What Is Not Allowed In Carry On?

woman walking on pathway while strolling luggage
Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Pexels.com

There are plenty of items that you are not allowed to carry in your carry-on baggage.

However, packing wisely is always the right way when traveling by air, and taking only your necessary items and avoiding making your bag too big.

As described by TSA ” Solid food items (not liquids or gels) can be transported in your carry-on. Liquid or gel food items larger than 3.4 oz are not allowed in carry-on bags and should be placed in your checked bags if possible TSA officers may instruct travelers to separate items from carry-on bags such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine. Travelers are encouraged to organize their carry-on bags and keep them uncluttered to ease the screening process and keep the lines moving.”.

Can A Duffel Bag Be A Carry On?

Yes, your duffel bag can be a carry-on as long as it’s not too big and is within the airline’s size requirements for carry on luggage, you can use a duffel bag as a carry on item.

For most airlines and flights, that means choosing a duffel bag that is no larger than 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (for most flights).

Please note that the duffle dimensions are not the only consideration for choosing a good duffle bag for travel or deciding that it is too big.

You’ll also want to make sure it’s functional. For this, steer clear of gym or sports duffels that lack organizational components. A void of unstructured space is your enemy.

How Big Can My Purse Be On a Plane?

person holding black leather handbag
Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

Your personal item should fit underneath the seat in front of you.

If your purse is too big it must not be more than 21 inches, or it will be counted as a carry-on bag and be stored in the overhead bin.it must meet the carry-on size regulations determined by the airline.

What If My Carry-on Is 23 Inches?

If your carry-on is 23 inches or more Some airlines allow carry-on that is 23 inches, however other airlines may apply strict rules on carry-on dimensions and that will cause checking your bag or additional fees.

Please make sure to measure your carry on and review your airline carry on luggage before heading to the airport.

  • Frontier Airlines: Carry On Bag 10″D X 16″W X 24″H< 35 lbs (extra fees could apply).
  • Southwest : Carry-on bag dimensions are limited to 10 x 16 x 24 inches.

FAQs: What If My Carry-on Is One Inch Too Big?

Q: How strict are carry-on size limits?

A: It really depends on the airlines you are flying with, but mainly budget airlines that charge for carry-on are more strict with carry-on size because the more passengers pay for carry-on the more money they make.

Q: Can I take a 22.5 inch carry-on bag?

A: If your airline allows it then yes, be aware that if you are flying with a stricter airline that allows only 21 inches, they may gate check in your bag.

Q: What happens if the carry-on doesn’t fit? 

A: If a carry-on bag doesn’t fit in either in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you the airline staff will be repaired to transfer it in the hold, and you will receive your bag after you leave the airplane.

Q: Will the TSA stop me if I have a heavy carry-on bag?

A: No, the TSA doesn’t check luggage size and weight as long as you’re not carrying any hazardous items or excessive amounts of liquids. So, there’s no need to worry about the weight or size of your bag as long as you follow the rules for their restricted items.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, even if your carry on is slightly over the allowed size by a few inches it is not that big a deal.

But, it is preferable to be sure that your carry-on is within the airline carry-on size limits before you head to the airport, that will save you more time and the hassle of gate checking your bag and maybe even  paying for excess baggage.

We hope this helps

Happy travels 🙂

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