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European Air carry-on experiences

Hello all! Family of 5 trying to do 10d trip to France/Italy. We've got a flight booked in "Economy Light" on ITA from CDG to FCO then back from FLR-CDG. Our carry-on bags are not exactly within measurements. ITA website wants us to be 21.7in(h) x13.8in(W)x9.9in(D).

2 bags I just bought are
22.25 x 14.25 x 9.75
21 x 14 x 9

Do I need to be worried? I called and the agent said weight is more important than being slightly larger but ....

Thoughts? TIA!

Posted by
479 posts

You will probably be ok, but it comes down to the agent at the gate and their judgement. I would suggest not to over pack the bag because if it is bulging you might get stopped as you enter the jetway to board.

Posted by
3707 posts

Do those measurements include the wheels?
The problem with a slightly bigger suitcase is there's a tendency to pack more, and the weight is important. The weight limit is usually 8kg, about 17+ lbs- what did the airline tell you? That weight is really hard to get down to, practice pack beforehand.
Maybe they'll check your bag and maybe not- is the gamble worth it for you? What is the price difference paying to check the bags beforehand, vs paying as you check in?
Good luck!

Posted by
637 posts

I have seen gate agents at CDG require people to check bags numerous times after checking weight and measurements. As mentioned before, you have a better chance of getting by with the measurements that you stated, than with a bag that is over the weight limit. Check the airlines weight limit and then try to pack accordingly. I will say that many of the weight restrictions are very unrealistic for those of us traveling for more than a few days. I have also seen some airlines weigh and measure your personal item.
Some of we Americans carry purses larger than pieces of luggage. :)

Posted by
558 posts

And just in case you're asked to check the bags, don't pack any medicine or valuables in them. Maybe stick one change of clothes in your "personal item."

Posted by
2075 posts

On our ITA flight last year weight was more important than size. They took mine for check-in on both our flights. If there is a weight issue, see if you can transfer some weight to under-seat bag.

Posted by
16077 posts

Yes, any time you violate the contract you entered into, you should be worried. Will you get caught? NEVER, until you are. When that happens deal with the consequences with a smile.

Posted by
6816 posts

Yes, worry. Just pay ahead to check your bags. There is no way you will make the 8 kg weight limit. It is a point to point flight, so chance of a lost bag is minimal, and the time waiting to get the bag worth it in the long run.

Posted by
4 posts

Hi all - thanks for the many replies. Answers to what I can come up with:
@charles - yes the measurements include wheels :( -- We practiced and were able to come in under 17lbs. However, what about the souvenirs & such we buy in Paris/Rome... I'm disappointed to learn I could have changed to "economy" instead of "economy light" at the beginning for ~$40US per ticket and not worried with it. But for 5 people, that's $200 and we thought we would give it a go. THEN I learned to now check a bag it will be $60 per bag, 1 way. Hopefully, if we go over, we do it on just one bag. $300 (5ppl) per segment is a fortune compared to the $200 I could have paid to have peace of mind. Live and learn... I have no idea how much they will charge me at the desk if I have to check. I think there is a price difference. If I wanted to switch my fare type now I'd have to pay a change fee #smh.

@Patty - that's the plan - we're putting "day bags" in our personal items so we have something lighter to walk around in but have a decent sized "backpack" to transport on the plane. Will definitely keep valuables & a change of clothes in the personal item.

We kinda killed our budget on this trip. I had heard so many friends tell us that we could fly from France to Italy (or EU to EU) for like $35 per person. Then we found out about all of the horror stories on Ryan Air and EasyJet so we went from $350 round trip to $1300 round trip and so we tried to save wherever we could. I'm also concerned about toting luggage to and from train stations and thought we'd look "less touristy" if we had smaller rollaboards. Le sigh.

Thanks again, all! Bon voyage!

Posted by
5336 posts

Live and learn... I have no idea how much they will charge me at the
desk if I have to check.

From their website:

Hand baggage that exceeds the permitted weight or size or baggage to be put in the hold is subject to a payment, per direction for the first bag, of a supplement of:

  • International flights (to/from Europe, North Africa and Middle East): €55 if purchased on the ITA Airways website in the section My Flights or via the Customer Center and partner travel agencies; €65 if purchased at the ticket office or during online check-in or at the airport. For further baggage to be boarded, the standard baggage allowance will apply
Posted by
42 posts

I just packed our family of four at 8kg each. It can be done. Bring a travel scale. One thing you can do if you plan to shop is bring a folding duffel and check the dirty clothes home freeing up wright in the carryons for new treasures.

Posted by
3707 posts

I always plan to be able to dump a pair of walking shoes, which frees up space and weight for souvenirs. Also, Scottevest vest and jackets have all sorts of pockets. These are expensive, but I buy them on EBay, gently used, and save some $$$.
Good luck!

Posted by
8086 posts


"However, what about the souvenirs & such we buy in Paris/Rome..."

Bite the bullet and check a bag on your way home. Many of the travelers here will pack an empty lightweight duffle bag in their carryon on the way over, and use that for souvenirs and dirty clothes to check on the return.