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Delta Airlines Carry On Restrictions

I will be flying on Delta in a few weeks. My first time on this airline. I plan to carry on my suitcase, which meets their size requirements. I'm unsure of their "personal item" restrictions, so I'm wondering if any of you Delta flyers can help.

This is what they describe as allowed:

"SO WHAT EXACTLY IS ALLOWED?

Approved Personal Items
1 purse, briefcase, camera bag or diaper bag
or 1 laptop computer (computers cannot be checked)
or 1 item of a similar or smaller size to those listed above"

It's a little vague regarding sizes. Some purses are quite large. I'm wondering if a backpack would meet their criteria? It will definitely fit under the seat.

Thanks for any advice.

Posted by
1990 posts

I fly Delta with a correct size carryon and a small backpack. It's big enough to hold my iPad, magazine, food and medicines but it's not huge.

Posted by
11613 posts

It should fit under the seat, but if you have a bulkhead seat, it will go in the overhead compartment anyway. A Civita or Ravenna daybag (two that I have used) fits under the seat, even when fairly full. A big purse or tote will as well.

Posted by
3176 posts

I fly Delta the most often. You only pasted a portion of the page. For others, here it is.

You're allowed a carry-on bag and one personal item. While they don't specify the size of the personal item, they do specify the maximum size of the baggage. From the page I linked above:

Baggage may not exceed 45 linear inches (or 114 cm) in combined
length, width and height, including any handles and wheels, Baggage
must meet carry on size limits (approximately 22" x 14" x 9"or 56 x 35
x 23 cm).

So measure your fully packed backpack and make sure it doesn't exceed the requirements. If it will fit under your seat and not stick out, I am pretty sure you'll be fine.

On larger aircraft like those flying across the ocean, unless the flight is overbooked, the gate agents don't regularly check the measurements of the carry-on unless it's egregiously larger than the template. On smaller aircraft like regional jets or propeller flights, the gate agents are strict about size limits.

Posted by
21356 posts

We fly Delta almost exclusively. We used a backpack about the size of an average book bag. It is our normal day bag. Has never been challenged. If it fits under the seat in front, you should be OK. BUT -- the gate agent always has the last word.

Posted by
8672 posts

Yep, I too always fly Delta. For my personal item I have successfully used (at different times) my RS Veloce day pack which fits under the seat, a LeSportSac Medium Tote and my regular travel purse (a LeSportSac Everyday bag). A time or 2 I have put the regular travel purse inside the LeSportSac medium Tote and it still fit under the seat.

It also seems like on the planes I have been on that there is more underseat room on the aisle seat than on the window seat. That may be incorrect, just a non-scientific impression.

There is no weight restriction on the personal item if you are on an actual Delta flight. I've had my bag weighed on a Delta codeshare flight flown by Alitalia.

Your backpack should be fine.

Posted by
5664 posts

I would emphasize the "or" meaning that if you carry a purse, you cannot also carry a camera bag etc as the "personal item". As others note, the general concept is that the "personal item" needs to fit under the seat.

Also be aware that if you connect to a Delta code share or partner. or if you flight is operated by a partner (e.g. KLM or Air France), the operator's rules govern.

KLM
https://www.klm.com/travel/us_en/prepare_for_travel/baggage/baggage_allowance/index.htm#p3

Economy Class on European and intercontinental flights

1 x hand baggage max. 55 x 35 x 25 cm (21,5 x 13,5 x 10 inch)

1 accessory, e.g. a handbag, briefcase or laptop, max. 40 x 30 x 15 cm
(16 x 12 x 6 inch)

Total weight max. 12 kg (26 lbs).

Air France
http://www.airfrance.us/US/en/common/guidevoyageur/pratique/bagages-cabine-airfrance.htm

In addition to your hand baggage, you can bring 1 personal accessory
which should not exceed the following dimensions: 40 x 30 x 15 cm / 16
x 12 x 6 in.

Your accessory must fit easily under the seat in front of you, unless
you are seated in an emergency exit row. In this case, you must stow
your accessory in an overhead storage bin.

Posted by
3500 posts

We fly Delta just about exclusively and you can have one "personal" bag in addition to your carry on luggage. You purse is a personal bag, and so is a computer bag, briefcase, camera bag, etc. Bottom line is you can only have one and it must fit under the seat. We've used the RS Civita bag and the Veloce bag and both are fine. So far as large purses are concerned, try to utilize a smaller one, put your regular purse stuff in it, and then put the smaller purse in the personal bag.

Posted by
8431 posts

Thank you all for your swift responses.

I think I should clarify my question. First, this is a domestic trip. No worry about code share flights. I'm aware that I can have one carry on sized suitcase and one personal item. My carry on is the RS Rolling Carry On. My question is if the personal item can be a backpack. It's similar in size to what a teenager would use for school. I have used it as a personal item on United, Lufthansa and Southwest. It fits under the seat. I use a small purse that goes inside the backpack. I do have a Civita daybag, but I was hoping to use something that will protect my iPad better.

Posted by
8672 posts

Yes. As long as it fits under the seat, and yours does, the model - backpack/messenger bag/crossbody purse doesnt matter. Even a cardboard box or a grocery bag would work.

Posted by
1217 posts

Delta domestic tends to be pretty indifferent to cabin baggage. The only times they typically care are on 100% full flights and/or regional jets. At which time, there's typically an announcement from the gate agent about voluntarily checking bags to a final destination, and if that doesn't seem to have freed up enough projected bin space, you'll sometimes see them roam through the gate area with a handful of pink tags looking for wheeled bags to designate as gate check/valet bags. (Regardless of airline, when there's an anticipated bin space crunch, the GAs typically default to telling people with wheeled bags to gate check, even if the wheeled bag is smaller than the duffles and backpacks of other passengers nearby.)

Posted by
362 posts

We almost always fly Delta. My other half uses a backpack for his personal item. It fits under the seat in front of us. As long as your backpack will fit under that seat, it's good to go. Have you measured the backpack yet?

Posted by
3500 posts

With regard to your post with the clarification and details, you should not have any problems at all. The only possible (and I stress possible) exception might be on one of the small regional planes, but I doubt that will even be a problem.

Posted by
315 posts

Size and weight luggage near Delta's recommendations will be honored. Recent trip with code share KLM and Transavia. Transavia had smaller bag requirements, did not see anyone have difficulty with carry-on bags. Transavia was an Airbus 330. KLM had vamped their large 767?, space underseats had a foot rest. Small items did fit but it was a bit tight. Closer seats front/back and right/left. I am under 5'4".

Posted by
8431 posts

Once I pack I will decided if I need the backpack or if a larger purse/tote that will container my small purse and other items will work. I'm flying from Sacramento to Atlanta, then from Atlanta to Charleston. The Atlanta-Charleston flight appears to be a full sized plane. Next week I'm flying Sacramento - Dallas, Dallas - Kansas City, Kansas City - Sacramento on Southwest. Their carry on size is huge compared to other airlines.

Thanks again for the help.

Pam, Darcy told me you're both going to Paris. I sure wish I could go meet up with you guys. Without the added excitement of bomb threats, etc. :-)

Posted by
3936 posts

Yes, I fly Delta a lot for business trips. I take a small carry on suitcase and my business logo'ed Wenger backpack. Never had an issue.

Posted by
938 posts

If you're in Zone 2 or 3, you may end up having to check your carry-on suitcase. With so many people carrying on, they frequently start making people check bags before everyone gets on board. Try to get up to the front of the boarding line if you're in a later zone. Don't worry about being rude - I promise someone else will be more obnoxious than you.
As for your personal item, if it fits under the seat, you won't have any problem. Stuff your purse into the backpack so you only have one personal item, though.

Posted by
8672 posts

Oh Andrea!! Just saw your post from the 24th. Yes, wish we could meet up but have no desire to experience a bomb threat or have a deaf-mute petition girl scream at me or see a police chase at lunch. You and Jim added some excitement to our trip, though!!

Posted by
8431 posts

Pam, we do our best. Inquiring minds want to know, in what language did the deaf/mute petition girl scream at you? I hope you and Darcy have a great time. Tip - avoid the Gare du Nord area for less excitement!

Posted by
2040 posts

Ha! she probably screamed in English! You know, I honestly can't remember. It certainly was an exciting time though!
Andrea, re: your original post, I take an Appenzell for under the seat and my Ravenna rolling bag as the overhead or "à la carte" if it's one of our tiny flights out of Lewiston to Salt Lake.

Posted by
8672 posts

Well, since she got in my face and screamed B*TCH, I'm pretty sure it was English. I was glad Darcy was there to protect me, lol!!

(For any lurkers, she had been targeting a man about my age who was sort of clueless and she kept poking him in the stomach with her clipboard so I was sure she was going for his shoulder bag. I was behind her and said to him - This is a scam. She may try to pickpocket you. whereupon she wheeled around, glared at me, stomped off, then stomped back and screamed at me.)

Posted by
4741 posts

Pam, now that is a great travel story. Makes our Paris pick-pocket experiences downright dull! Except for the fellow who picked a fold-up tote bag out of my day pack, then gave it back when he realized it wasn't a wallet!

Posted by
8672 posts

Jane! That is hilarious. I always like a polite pickpocket.

Posted by
4741 posts

Yep. You gotta love the personal touch - so to speak.