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Have ANY of you had to get your Carry On measured at the airport?

I know different airlines have different carry-on size restrictions.

I've never read of a person having to check a bag because it was just 1" wider or taller than the limits.

Have any of you had "first hand" experience with a slightly oversized bag not being allowed on a plane as carry-on. My main Q is about USA Domestic carry-on working or not working in International / European flights.

Posted by
703 posts

Evan we have seen some pretty strange thinks allowed to be carried on.
that said, last year in England ( on an international flight) we had our carry on bags weighed and because they were slightly over the 7kg limit we had to shift less than a kg in to our check in, right at the check in desk ( holding up other passengers)
I realise we were at fault, but our check in bags were many kg's less than our ticket allowance. and we are both slightly built people carrying no extra coats etc, if you know what I mean.
So they do checks.

Posted by
1825 posts

On our last flight (Rome to Paris) I saw people having their carryon rejected for size. They do not measure it with a ruler, there is a box that the carryon must fit in otherwise it goes in the luggage compartment. It is a rather small box. I think it's a better policy than the old way of overloaded crammed in overhead compartments with people struggleing with their bags.

Posted by
32652 posts

Have to put the carry on in the sizing box every time we fly. If it fits it goes. If it doesn't fit it gets checked and a big fee assessed - on the order of £60 per piece.

There is no such thing as nearly fitting.

Posted by
795 posts

We travel year around very extensively but it has never happened to us. We travel first class and check most of our luggage so maybe that gets treated differently. I have seen plenty of people having their luggage measured in the box and rejected as a carry on. It depends on who is making the decision. Many will think it looks fine and let it go while others check more carefully if the bag in question seems to be close to restrictions.

Posted by
3940 posts

The only time many flights...doing calculations...4 flights from Canada to overseas with Air Canada and back; 1 flight with Al Italia and 5 or 6 with British Airways inter-Europe...last year hubby was asked to put his carry on in one of the sizing frames with Brit Air. I don't even think he got it all the way in as it is a bit of a struggle to squeeze it in the frame (it IS under their standard - it's a 21 or 22" and width is within their standards) but they let him go with it. Brit Air actually has slightly bigger standards than Air Canada I believe...

I bought a new piece of luggage a few years ago - Air Canada branded luggage that said carry on approved...and on our flight to California, the thing wouldn't fit in the overhead wheels first (I had to put it sideways). I got a snarky comment from a passenger saying...if it's too big, you should have checked which I replied - it fits their measurements...I guess it was the configuration/size of the overhead....that was the only plane I had an issue with. Anyways, I got one of the Rick Steves 20" carry on to use now.

The best bet is to check the dimensions on the airline website and be prepared to check it if they measure and it's found too big.

Posted by
985 posts

I've never actually had them measure, but twice now I have had the airline spot check larger carry-ons and make the larger ones be gate checked regardless of size. My regular backpack was not gate checked, but both times my travel partner's wheeled bag, that was within the requirements for size, was required to be gate checked. The airline staff person said it was because it was a very full flight. My travel partner was not charged extra either time. Oh, and I have seen an airline ask someone to put a questionable size carry-on in the measuring box at least once, but usually they don't seem to measure.

Posted by
11613 posts

Yes, a 22" wheeled bag was gate-checked in Amsterdam (no charge), they were offering to gate-check for free because of all the winter coats.

Another time, the gate attendant just looked at my 22" bag and attached a gate-check tag to it, again, no charge.

I now use a 20" rolling bag,

Posted by
3808 posts

Last summer was the first time we had to put our carry-on in the metal cage to see if it fit. We flew out of JFK with 22" bags. Luckily they fit.

Posted by
13869 posts

Yes, EasyJet from Paris to Venice last Sept, I paid for a checked bag but in the line to board the gate agent was putting ~every~ bag in the sizer. I was in the Speedy Boarding lane and the 2 people ahead of me and the person behind me had identical luggage, all of which went in the sizer. I figured it was like a bar checking ID, they just did it to everyone.

I have also been at a boarding gate in Seattle and had the Delta agent walk around the area eyeing all carryons. If it was questionable he had them put it in the sizer and yes, there were quite a few that were gate checked. Some of them looked like they met the size regulations but had been overpacked so were bulging and then did not meet the size requirements.

Posted by
21 posts

My 20" RS roller carryon was gate-checked on both of my domestic connections a couple weeks ago. They didn't care what size your bag was; you could only bring on one item due to the plane being full.

I also saw several people being asked to put their bags in the sizing box on the international flight. Not sure whether they were rejected or not.

Posted by
1221 posts

In my experience, the gate agents get more aggressive the fuller the flight is scheduled to be.

1) Boston marathon weekend in and out of BOS- flights totally jammed, high dollar offers being made for rebooking the next day. If you had a wheelie bag, you were required to put it in the sizer before being allowed onto the jetbridge.

2) small regional jets where the gate agent learned long ago that a crowded flight would have bin space issues and it was best to eyeball the crowd before boarding began and proactively offer to gate check bags that, while within official size limits for the airline as a whole, doesn't play well on a small RJ in order to get their flight off at scheduled time.

Posted by
2622 posts

Condor Airlines and Turkish Airlines both weighed and measured my carry-on in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Turkish was the strictest...they wouldn't tag it "Cabin baggage" unless it came in under their limits.

Posted by
5835 posts

Yes. A Czech Air agent challenged my RS Classic Carry-on bag. It was stuffed, but with soft clothing that easily squeezed into the sizing box when stuffed in.

The final test is whether it fits the overhead on packed flights with everyone trying to go carry-on. If the overhead door doesn't close someone's bag will get gate checked.

Some passengers dodge the domestic checked bag fee by taking their bags to the get and volunteering to gate check the bag.

My bigger carry-on problem is the overseas airlines that have carry-on weight limits. Lufthansa has if memory is correct a 8 kg limit. Internal China flights limit carry-on bags to 5kg but don't appear to check.

Posted by
2733 posts

Re Lufthansa and their 8kg limit; We've taken two roundtrips with them in the past year, and we saw only one person asked to place their bag in the sizer, which apparently also has a scale. We saw many people enter through the boarding gate with belongings that clearly were in violation of their policies and not be stopped. On two occasions we had to have another person's stuff removed from our overhead.

Posted by
59 posts

Yes, measured in the box. Sometimes weighed. I have had to take out books no coat, carry them through check in, then repack on the other side.

Posted by
980 posts

It's only happened to me once in 20 years. Last month my bag (which is my carry on all over the world including Europe) was singled out right before security at Heathrow T5 by a British Airways employee. They wouldn't let me pass unless it fit in the box (it didn't by 0.25" even though it's the same bag that was my carry on to London). She was asking every person with a carry on to put it in the box.

I just went down to the other security area and made it through no problem. Lesson here is if you get stopped for a bag too big at security, try another security point before checking your bag.

BTW, my bag is a 21.5" Kirkland brand (Costco). edit: Just checked my bag size at 21.5x14x8.75 vs the BA rules of 22x18x10 so I'm not sure why mine would not fit in the box unless the rules and the box don't match.


Posted by
703 posts

We flew Air Canada from Toronto to Rome and my husband's carryon was not questioned but on the return flight (Paris to Toronto) he had to check it so rather than pay 75 euros for a last minute checked bag, we quickly checked MY carryon, which I was going to check, and switched them out so we didn't have to pay extra. I don't understand why it worked fine one way but not the other but whatever. Maybe because it was stuffed fuller on the way home? They did not measure it (we did before we left home), the guy just eyed it up and said to fit it in the container which it wouldn't fit.

Posted by
2602 posts

Never, but my bag is most definitely one that will fit under the seat. I was a bit surprised on my recent trip to see many people with bags that appeared to be pushing the limit size-wise, but even though my flight was full there didn't seem to be the usual bag-stowing drama, everyone had enough room.

Posted by
2902 posts

11 trips from NY/NJ to Europe and back and never had a carry-on checked for size or weight. Once coming home from Munich, my wife's purse was checked. She had some larger bottles, sprays, etc in there. After seeing her passport and finding out that his and her ancestors are from the same country, he said go ahead, no problem.

Posted by
661 posts

Our carry ons were both weighed and measured on KLM and Air France last summer. We made sure our bags met the international size restrictions, so we were ok on that. Weight was more of a challenge, especially since -- if the airline has a weight restriction -- they weigh both your bag and your personal item. They don't weigh the passengers (yet!) however, so we were able to ensure our luggage was under-weight by putting ipads, phrase books, and snacks into our many raincoat pockets.

Posted by
392 posts

Thank you for the replies.
All the prior posts I had read were just giving the rules or links to them.
I had been shopping for bags and saw a few that had very nice features that were an inch too big in one dimension or another. I was REALLY tempted.
However, I just purchased two of Rick's rolling carry-ons.

Posted by
99 posts

So are you more likely to miss the measurements checks if you can by-pass the manual check-in line and just use the kiosk or online check-in? I was actually checked-in already and selected my seat online the day before the flight. Somehow I didn't get the electronic boarding pass, so I went through the check-in line (and was told I was already checked in) but the agent caught me for having over 8 kg bag. (I just removed a couple books.) But if I had the electronic boarding pass, I don't think I would have been "caught" since I didn't see any bag scrutiny at the gate.

Posted by
392 posts

Thanks for your feedback. I bought one of Rick's rolling bags. Did a video about it:
Sorry for the bad quality but at least the info is out there for people :-)