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Trouble Finding Carry-on That Fits Lufthansa Requirements

Lufthansa's requirements are 21.7x15x9" and 18 lbs., and I've read they are very strict with both size and weight. The personal item can't be any more than 3" deep, so underseat "spinner" type bags are out of the question, too. If anyone has recently traveled on Lufthansa with just carry-on bags, I'd be interested in what you used.

Thank you!

Posted by
2306 posts

It's a challenge finding bags in America that exactly meet European dimensions, so obviously you must go smaller and sacrifice space, but since you have an 18 lb limit, more space is just going to give you more weight.
I found a Calvin Klein 21" Flatiron-style [from ZAPPOS/,] that's very close to those dimensions, but it's a two wheeler, with the wheels built up into the suitcase. Those four-wheeler suitcases really do add inches, and often American sellers do not accurately measure the wheels and don't include them into the total dimensions.
Best recommendation is to keep shopping around on-line, and I'm sure some travelers here will have found a few specific brands and styles.
And- I've travelled Lufthansa, being aware of their reputation, and have never seen additional carry-on screening, but maybe it varies by airport.
I also use a light-weight Scottevest [with all the inside zipper pockets] and thus do not carry a purse; I can then also carry a small light-weight backpack for personal items [and overweight items, if weighed.]
Safe travels!

Posted by
3768 posts

I checked the numbers before posting this, so they should be very close to accurate. Based on what the Lufthansa website says, cm (in).

Carry-on -- 55 (21.65) x 40 (15.75) x 23 (9.06), 8 kg (17.64 lbs).

Personal item (briefcase example under "additional items..." toward the bottom of the webpage) -- 40 (15.75) x 30 (11.8) x 10 (3.94).

The Eagle Creek Load Warrior 20 International Carry-on I recently bought will work. Be sure to scroll down the page for a comparison of their sizes of this 2-wheeled bag, cm (in).

51.5 (20.25) x 31.5 (14) x 20 (8), 2.08 kg (4.5 lbs).

My new personal item, the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Sling Bag, fits their personal size requirements almost perfectly, too.

34.54 (13.6) x 29.97 (11.8) x 10.16 (4), 64 g (2.2 oz).

I got these bags for the light weight and for internal European flights. I haven't used either of them yet, but they should work, assuming that I don't stuff them so full that they bulge out.

Posted by
969 posts

I use a Pacsafe Vibe 40L backpack, it fits easily in your dimensions and when you eliminate the wheels you free up weight for your clothes and toiletries. For my personal item I bring a Pacsafe Vibe 325 sling bag, this is small yet carries a lot. With these two items I've traveled in Europe for 3 weeks and still had room to bring back a few souvenirs. I don't work for Pacsafe or have any affiliation, I just like travel gear that works and lasts a long time.

I should add that I've paired down how much I take with me on a trip to the point that in the summer I take two pairs of convertible pants (two pants and two shorts if I unzip the legs) and wear one pair on the flight over, usually 5 shirts including the one I wear on the flight, 5 pair of underwear, 4 pairs of socks and I wear my Merrell low cut hikers so I can get by with a 40 liter bag and the sling bag with no problem.

Getting under 18 lbs harder than most people think, so I always bring a rain shell that has lots of pockets (like clothing arts or scottevest) and I put some of my heaviest items in the jacket and wear it during the weigh in at the airport check in, then I transfer the items back to the bag after I'm cleared to carry on board. A Rick Steves guide taught me this trick!

Posted by
1211 posts

Ive traveled on Lufthansa with the Osprey Porter 46, following guidelines the said what Lo quoted. But this bag is a backpack with no wheels, so if you are a wheeled suitcase traveler, its not right for you :)

Posted by
2508 posts

Our Ricksteves convertible carryons fit the sizer, (all sizers) no issue.
We have never been sized nor weighed by Lufthansa - Philadelphia, Frankfurt, and various departure airports in Europe. They are always on our backs through any point of examination, and no one ever questions this when they see them as backpacks.

Posted by
3493 posts

Similar experiences with the RS convertible. I never overpacked it to the point it looked like it was going to pop open, so have never been questioned about it. I was half pound over in weight on one trip, just took my coat out and wore it until I got on the plane.

Posted by
415 posts

My sister uses a roller bag from Pacsafe. They don’t make her exact model anymore but I think the newer version is pretty much the same.

She always brings 2 25 inch suitcases when she visits me for the weekend (1 hr 15 minute drive from her home). I threatened her when I took her to Europe that she could only bring a carry on. Her PacSafe was smaller than my carryon and she loved it.

Posted by
5818 posts

I've flown Lufthansa with my RS Classic Carry-on (Dimensions: 21" x 14" x 9" Weight: 2 lbs) without any problem. Note that the Classic Carry-on is a soft-sided bag use the cinch straps and don't over pack (buldge) and it should fit the go/no-go sizers. Wheelies with rigid frames weigh more than 2# and don't squeeze if you are a fraction oversize. Bring your tape measure and travel weight scale if you buy rigid and/or frame supported bags.

Posted by
1179 posts

First off, the quote for the personal item size is incorrect. The info from the Lufthansa website states:

Another small item of baggage (max. x=30 cm y=40 cm z=10 cm, e.g. handbag, laptop bag).

Translated into inches, it is 11.8 x 15.75 x 4 inches. There is wiggle room if you have an underpacked soft bag.

It’s difficult to make the weight limit of 18 lb with a roller bag. But it’s very achievable with a soft backpack.

Don’t forget that Lufthansa doesn’t weigh the personal item. So put shoes, jewelry, electronics and other heavy items in the personal item during weigh-in. You can always transfer it back into your main bag once you are in the aircraft.

For years, I have used the Sea to Summit sling bag as a great personal item. It’s a keychain bag that works great as a bus bag or a shopping bag. It has a zipper top so you won’t lose the contents.

I traveled with the Quickload for years but it is no longer manufactured. I’d suggest looking for a soft backpack under 3 lbs. That said, Sara Murdoch travels with a light weigh wheelie bag. But she’s super careful with the contents.

Posted by
103 posts

We flew Lufthansa last April from Vancouver, BC to Barcelona via Frankfurt and returned from Florence, again through Frankfurt. (Heart of Italy tour with a few days in Barcelona for a warm-up) So we were on several planes with just carry-ons. We used the Rick Steves Ravenna Rolling Case (21"x14"x7") and the Ravenna Backpack as our personal item. I notice that this year they have "freshly redesigned" the backpack, so it may no longer have the expandable sides. With our backpacks un-expanded they easily fit under the seat as our personal items. I was vigilant about keeping under the weight allowance, but we were never asked to weigh bags either at check-in or the gate. The bags also fit the rules for Ryan Air which we used from Barcelona to Rome.

Posted by
1 posts

I might have an answer for you. This Thule backpack is 2 backpacks in one, which can zip together and unzip and be worn or carried separately. The main backpack is 40l and the smaller is 20l. As long as you keep the weight of the main backpack under 18 lbs, it should qualify as a primary carry-on bag and the "piggyback" backpack is small enough to likely qualify as a personal item. Further, the bags have handles and can be carried like more traditional bags, if you prefer. Finally, the weight is light enough that you can take full advantage of that 18 lb. allowance for your primary carry-on.

Here's a link to the Thule bag that I am referring to.
enter link description here

Posted by
258 posts

I am going to respond to and focus on the weight after my experience last summer w Norwegian Air and 22 lbs limit total for BOTH the carry on and personal item! I ultimately used a soft- sided duffel that weighed barely 2 lbs and also bought a luggage scale. I tied my waterproof anorak style jacket around my waist and put my 1 lb pouch ( toiletries, first aid) as well as chargers and some other stuff in the kangaroo pocket. Using the scale made all the difference as I spent time repeatedly paring down items. It's amazing how much more items weigh than you think...