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Luggage for Europe

My husband and I are planning a trip to London and Paris. We are first timers abroad and would like to only take carry-on bags. So, I'm purchasing new bags. Our flights are not booked. I purchased a Walkabout 3 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Suitcase, Created for Macy's bag for myself and I am still in the market for another bag but am considering a Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Expandable International. I am trying to keep the cost of the bag to around $100. The measurements on the bag I've already purchased are 22 x 14 x 9. The measurements on the bag I'm considering are 21.75 x 15.75 x 7.75. From your experience should I have any issues with using either bag as a carry-on? I hate to go through all of this trouble only to have the airline give me a hassle over either bag. Thanks in advance!

I would be a bit concerned about the 15.75" dimension. Some airlines use linear measurements (height+width+depth"). Others require that a suitcase fit inside a sizer box for acceptance. I would stay with 21 - 22" x 14" or a little less x 9." I would disqualify any case for any dimension exceeding that. Of course, you can check a bag as well. (Still have to follow guidelines for weight and size of checked luggage.)
Measure the wheels! It matters. Place your case upright on the floor. Measure from the floor to the top of the bag.

Posted by
884 posts

You need to go to the airline's website for the flights you plan to see what there policies are e.g. Delta's is 45 linear total. That's pretty standard.

In general on transatlantic flights there isn't a problem as the overhead bins are very large. However, on shorter/smaller flights the planes can have smaller overhead bins. On a recent Delta/KLM flight from Amsterdam to Budapest they made several people gate check larger carryons that would have been fine on the flight over.

Posted by
1194 posts

I agree with sun baked in Florida. The sizing box rules the dimensions.

While your current airline may allow it, I’m going to assume that you will also want to use your luggage with other airlines in the future.

I’d stick to the smaller measurements.

Posted by
22983 posts

Do not accept the bags measurements. Those measurements generally only refer to the actual size of the bag area and does not include the handle or the wheels. When looking for luggage, take a tape measure with you. Place the luggage against a wall and measure from the highest and widest points. Now you know the true measurements. My preference is for two wheel bag because those wheels take up less room than a four wheel spinners. I, personally, do not car for the 4-wheel spinners in Europe because of the cobblestone streets and broken concrete. We find the two wheel bags work better.

Posted by
1662 posts

a Walkabout 3 21" Expandable Carry On Spinner Suitcase, Created for Macy's


I also have a Walkabout - It is the (Close Out!) 22 inches. It has two rugged wheels which I like. It held up really, really well. It has stated "Close Out!" for about two years now - when I first got two of them on a huge sale. One about $60 - coupon and rewards brought it down and the other with sale and coupon - maybe $70? Forget exact price.

I took it to Rome. I checked it although I could have carried on to British Airways according to the desk agent. I had another bag that was a bit smaller plus my personal item, so that is why I checked it. It is 22" but still does not "look big."

British Airways is very generous. Some other International airlines are very strict.

Posted by
865 posts

The airline website can give you the information on the bag size and perhaps more importantly the weight restrictions. Many times my bag was the right size, but too heavy and I had to check the bag. Normally, I fly United and the Star Alliance partners, so Lufthansa is the airline I have the most issues with weighing. BTW: this happened to me when I was traveling business. I have also flown Air France and Quantas where my bag was weighed and I needed to check.

Now when I travel, I weigh by bag before going and if it is a bit over, I know what I have to remove and put it in my backpack in order not to check.

Note that most of the time this isn't a problem, even when my bag is too heavy, but each airport checkin counter and gate agent has the authority to weigh and measure and determine whether you need to check or not.

Good luck,

Posted by
13225 posts

I’ll just add that if you have a TJMaxx near you check to see if they have a Travel Pro. I picked up a TravelPro Maxlite expandable 4 earlier this week. I am not sure what the difference is between the 4 and the 5 but it might work for you. It was $69.99 so the price is right!

Posted by
5697 posts

Are you planning to do carry-on because someone said you should? We pack in 22" bags for ease of handling on trains throughout the trip (3-6 weeks) but routinely check the bags on the transatlantic flights. Some people find carry-on easier/ faster/ more secure -- we find it no big problem, and much easier to negotiate the airport with just our personal items.
If you DO have to check, you can still have a great trip.

Posted by
14144 posts

Size (and weight) really depends on the airline. There is no "one size fits all" rule.

On most U.S. airlines, the rule is 22 x 14 x 9 but I have rarely seen bags checked for domestic flights. For European flights, you need to stop thinking in inches and think in centimeters. Most airlines are 55 x 35/40 x 20/23 which translates to 21.8 x 13.8/15.7 x 7.8/9 inches.

So depending on your chosen airline, the 15.75" may be too wide if they put it in the sizer and the 22 may be slightly too big for the 55 cm. (21.8 inches).

And then there is the weight issue. Again, some airlines restrict the weight of the bag. This will either be 8 kg or 10 kg. (17.6 lbs or 22 lbs.)

Also make sure the measurements include the wheels and handles. Some luggage manufacturers include this, some don't. I suggest taking a tape measure with you to the store. You may be surprised.

Backpack, roller or spinner doesn't matter. Choose what you want. I have used all three with good and bad points for each. It's personal preference.

Posted by
7895 posts

We have been traveling on Norwegian Air Shuttle in recent years. Our 21' TravelPro ultra lights are actually 22", and sometimes gate agents having a bad day will single out one or two passengers to make an example out of. They'll make you check the bag--$50. Then get on the plane and it's full of even larger bags that other gate agents let pass through. I'd say this happens 20% of the time. I still attempt to carry on any bag to avoid checked bag nightmares. Playing their games is just part of dealing with budget airlines. The big legacy carriers are more lenient.

Posted by
384 posts

Lots of people have probably given you links to (my search words) "list of carry-on size restrictions by airline"


I bought the Rick Steves roller carry-on a few years ago
It met all the size restrictions except one like Malaysian Air - not a big deal :-)

This spring, my flight from Switzerland to Italy would have cost $40ish to check the bag. My carry-on met the airline's restrictions and it was free as carry-on.