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Carry on Allowance (Help!) for KLM, Delta, and Virgin Atlantic

I am a college student studying abroad, and will be taking Virgin Atlantic there and a KLM flight from Lancashire to Amsterdam then a Delta flight to the US on my return trip. Upon looking at the carry on allowances for KLM I noticed the size requirement is 21.5x13.5x10. However, the carry on bag I have 21x15x8.5 and I was wondering if that extra 1.5" will be a problem for KLM? And the carry on sizing for Delta and Virgin Atlantic is 22x14x9 and I was also wondering if that extra 1" will be a problem?


Posted by
1194 posts

It’s really dependent on the gate agent.

Each airline will measure the carry on bag if needed.

Posted by
1221 posts

Delta will often offer voluntary gate checking of larger carry-ons, but the only time they typically get serious about mandatory checking of larger bags is when passenger load factors are exceptionally high (last time I had to use a sizer with them was on the getaway day for people who has swarmed Boston for the marathon) or if you've got a flight segment on a regional jet.

While there are no guarantees, I wouldn't worry with Delta unless you're traveling during a holiday crush period or one of your flight segments is on what some frequent flyers snarkily call Barbie's Dream Jet.

Posted by
23472 posts

If the bag is not stuff and flexible it will not be a problem. If the bag is stuff so hard that it is almost rigid then it looks too big and it might be problem if gate attendant wants to get picky.

Posted by
19171 posts

If the size of your carry-on really is 15x8.5, then the cross-sectional area is no more than 13.5x10. If the bag is soft, it should deform to fit. However, if the 15 inch dimension is rigid, you will probably have a problem.

A bigger concern could be if the 21 inch long dimension is really 21 inches, particularly if it is a rolling bag. A lot of bag manufacturers only look at the clothes carrying compartment, and ignore the wheels and handle, which make the bag bigger than 21.5 inches long. That could be a really big problem. The airlines are only concerned about the actual overall dimension. The bag has to fit in the overhead compartment.

Posted by
996 posts

I've flown all three airlines, and none of them ever looked at my carryon bag.

Having said that, I've seen them pay attention to other bags. If your bag is hard sided and won't compress, you may have an issue at the gate. If your bag has wheels that add to its size, you may have an issue at the gate. And you may have an issue on the KLM flight because that plane is probably smaller than the ones used for overseas flights.

Doesn't KLM look at overall volume of the carryon bag as well? The bag may cut it by those standards, but I wouldn't automatically count on it.

Posted by
8067 posts

a full flight = more scrutiny of what is being carried on; travelers are dumber than ever when it comes to rules and being considerate of others that have not boarded yet stuffing coats all kinds of sh*** in overhead bins taking up all the space

so try to comply and they will just check it at the gate at the bottom line no charge which is what you want

Posted by
5687 posts

I've rarely had a problem with my 22" carry-on on European flights. I've flown KLM a few times. Once, on a very full flight from Milan to Amsterdam, where a sports team was carrying a bunch of equipment with them, they asked us to check our bags. Otherwise, I've carried bags on numerous flights within Europe on various airlines. I have a big camera bag that's my "personal item" that does fit under the seat in front of me, if need be.

The one exception was Iberia a few months ago within Europe: I took two Iberia flights where passengers were hassled to gate check their bags on both flights. On one flight I did have to check the 22" bag. So I put the camera bag that would have gone under my seat up in the overhead bin, using the same amount of space. It saved no space on the plane, but it did inconvenience me and make me mad. (I had some other issues with Iberia - hope never to fly them again if possible.)

And I've taken these bags on numerous overseas flights (Delta and AA) over the last few years without needing to have them checked, even on full flights.

Posted by
544 posts

Flying international into/out of Europe, I've not had any problems with a 22" roller. Wide-body jets you'll have no problems accommodating your luggage.

However, flying within Europe on any of the Airbus' or RJ's the overhead hatches wouldn't close. Every time it was a full-flight, so there was no chance of being able to turn-it sideways. If it's a soft-side, you MAY be able to get away, really it's going to depend on the gate agent.