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United Airlines baggage restrictions

We are flying United to Italy in September. Can anyone tell us how rigidly they enforce their carry-on baggage restrictions. United's "personal item" dimension restrictions eliminate almost all shoulder bags from being within their limits!

Posted by
809 posts

I have regularly used the RS tote bag that's about 22" x 18" x 8" as my personal item on United. It's unstructured fabric, so as long as you don't stuff it full it can fit under the seat with no problem. I have never had my personal item checked for size. As always, though, the past does not predict the future...

Posted by
15526 posts

Their "personal item" (not carry-on bag) dimensions are not bad at all (10"x17"x9"). My own shoulder bag is well under that size. As large shoulder bags may have to be checked at some of the attractions in Italy, it's a good idea to go with a smaller versus a larger model. You also need to be able to stow your personal item underneath the seat on the plane.

Posted by
19021 posts

"I have regularly used the RS tote bag that's about 22" x 18" x 8" as my personal item on United."

That size is 3168 cu in, 14% bigger than the regulation size (22"x14"x9") for your regular carryon. And it's about twice the size of United's regulation size for a personal item. If you are flying economy, I can't believe you are going to continue to get away with it very much longer.

I could just about put everything I take to Europe (1400 cu in) in United's personal item regulation size or 1530 cu in. Of course the bag itself has some volume, so maybe a bag that meets the personal item size regulation might not quite hold everything I take.

My "shoulder bag" which holds my netbook, mouse, and charger is less 11" x 9" x 4" (about 400 cu in).

Posted by
5697 posts

In agreement with both Kathleen and Lee -- on my last (January 2015) European trip Frankfurt -SFO I did carry the "don't tell Rick" bag as a personal item -- but it WAS put through the United bag tester and passed because it squished down to fit in tester. Had it been full, it would NOT have fit.

Posted by
9088 posts

I'm a United frequent flier. Out of Newark at least I have never had the dimensions of any carry-on or seen the staff measure-out anyone elses bag on international flights. So my experience is that they are not very strict about it via EWR.

Posted by
792 posts

I have a ginormous purse and my purse is under those restrictions. Maybe measure your purse again?

This question is asked for different airlines in different ways and the answers are always similar: Some people have flown over the limits without problems. And some people have had their bags put in sizers or rejected. If carrying on is important to you or crucial to your trip, the safest bet is to follow the rules.

Posted by
11613 posts

Not United, but yesterday at AMS the agent weighed my carryon and personal item together. Could be a harbinger of things to come.