5 On Your Side

Some carry-ons may not fit on flights

Posted November 19, 2015

In the coming weeks, many will fly to their holiday destinations with carry-on luggage, but there’s information everybody should know before they go.

With fees, it can be expensive to check baggage, so many opt to carry-on, but airlines are cracking down. Passengers on recent flights had to put carry-ons in a bag sizer right before boarding and those that didn’t fit were checked at the gate and passengers were charged.

With carry-ons, every inch counts. The maximum dimensions allowed for carry-ons for most American-based airlines is 14 inches by 22 inches by nine inches, but not all bags measure up.

Consumer Reports compared 11 bags, and nine were bigger than they claimed to be, including ones from American Tourister, Samsonite, TravelPro, and Victorinox.

“We found that many manufacturers don’t count things that affect the dimensions of a bag, like the wheels and the handles. The expectation is that when consumers buy a carry-on bag, it’s going to fit in the overhead bin,” said Nikhil Hutheesing with Consumer Reports.

A Tumi Alpha-2 Frequent Traveler bag claimed to be a carry-on and testers found the measurements on the tag to be accurate. But it was still several inches too large to be carried onto most airlines. Consumer Reports suggested consumers measure a bag, including the handle and the wheels, before they buy it.

People also need to be careful about how they stuff their bag, particularly the outside pockets. An overstuffed bag can easily become oversized.

Some airlines, such as Allegiant and Spirit Air, charge fees even for carry-ons, and those fees go up as the departure date approaches. It costs much less to pay the fee when the airline ticket is purchased compared to the fee charged to check the same bag at the gate.

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