Buying a checked bag without doing research is risky because you could buy an oversized one. In this case, you’d have to pay expensive oversized baggage fees at the airport.
A lot of suitcases advertised as “checked” are over the size limits of most airlines. That’s why you need to learn to calculate linear inches and get a bag that’s below the most common size limit for checked bags.
Your Checked Bag Should Be 62 Linear Inches or Smaller
Some airlines have generous size restrictions for checked baggage, upwards of 80-118 linear inches. But 4 out of every 5 airlines have the same size restriction of 62 linear inches for checked bags. That’s why you should get a checked bag that’s under this limit.
Linear inches means the total sum of its height, width, and depth. So, for example, if your checked bag would measure 30 x 20 x 12 inches, that would be exactly 62 linear inches (30 + 20 + 12).
Airline Size Restrictions for Checked Luggage
- Aer Lingus, AeroMexico, Air Canada, Air China, Air France, Air India, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Avianca, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, EVA Air, Finnair, Frontier, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia, Icelandair, JetBlue, KLM, Lufthansa, Qatar, Southwest, Sun Country, Spirit, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, VIVA Aerobus, Volaris, WestJet: 62 linear inches (158 cm)
- Allegiant Air, Japan Airlines: 80 linear inches (203 cm)
- British Airways: 35.4 x 29.5 x 16.9 inches (90 x 75 x 43 cm)
- EasyJet: 108 linear inches (275 cm, linear dimensions)
- Emirates: 84.6/118 linear inches (215/300 cm, linear dimensions)
- Etihad Airways: 35.4 x 28.3 x 17.7 inches (90 x 72 x 45 cm)
- Norwegian Air: 118 linear inches (300 cm, linear dimensions)
- Ryanair: 46.8 x 46.8 x 31.9 inches (119 x 119 x 81 cm)
- Qantas: 55/62 linear inches (140/158 cm, linear dimensions)
- Virgin Atlantic: 35.5 x 29.5 x 16 inches (90 x 75 x 43 cm)
- Wizzair: 67.3 x 58.7 x 46.9 inches (171 x 149 x 119 cm)
Is 28-32 Inch Checked Luggage Oversized?
When shopping for checked baggage, you’ll notice that its size is marketed in inches, not linear inches. They usually range between 23-32 inches in size. This is the height of the suitcase, and it gives you only a general overview of how large the bag is.
To understand whether a checked bag is within 62 linear inches, you need to find out its height, width, and depth, and add all of them up together. The height, width, and depth measurements can be found in the product description.
We gathered data on over 200 popular suitcases advertised as “checked”, ranging between 23-34 inches. Our research revealed that 21% of them were over 62 linear inches. And when we looked at the larger sizes the results were surprising – 39% of all checked bags advertised as 28 inches or larger are over 62 linear inches.
So if you’re buying a checked bag, you always have to calculate the linear inches yourself to avoid paying oversized baggage fees later down the line. The reality is that a lot of checked bags are considered oversized, so you have to be careful.
How to Get the Most Packing Volume of a Checked Suitcase
To get the most packing space, get a suitcase that’s very wide and deep and just within 62 linear inches. The largest ones will offer 80-90 liters of packing volume.
Not all 62 linear-inch suitcases have the same volume. For example, let’s compare two popular suitcases – the very wide Osprey Transporter trunk and the taller Rimowa Original. The Osprey Transporter is 60.8 linear inches in size (27.5 x 16.4 x 16.9) and the Rimowa Original is 62 linear inches (31.2 x 20.1 x 10.7). The wider Osprey Transporter offers 124.9 liters of volume, while the Rimowa Original only 110 liters. That amounts to 13% larger volume while being 1.2 linear inches smaller in size, just because it’s shorter, wider, and deeper.
But to get an even more efficient checked suitcase with a larger packing volume, you need to look at other things as well. Inline suitcases with 2 wheels instead of 4 always offer more packing space. And fabric bags offer more space than hardside ones because they’re flexible. So to get the most packing space, it’s also important to choose a fabric suitcase with 2 wheels instead of 4.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Is Checked Luggage Measured?
At the check-in desks, luggage is measured with a typical tape measure. Rough measurements of the width, depth, and height are made and then added up together to get linear inches.
Do You Include Wheels and Handles When Measuring Checked Baggage?
Checked baggage is always measured at the widest point. The wheels, handles, and any objects sticking out need to be included in the measurements.
Are Airlines Strict About Checked Baggage Size?
Airlines aren’t as strict with checked baggage size as they are with hand baggage. That’s because checked bags aren’t limited to overhead compartments or the space under the seats. Instead, they’re thrown into a large cargo hold. Checked bags are also measured using a tape measure, not measuring boxes, so there can be some room for error. In reality, checked bags that are only 1-2 inches above the limit are usually allowed.
Can You Travel With Oversized Luggage and What Are the Fees?
Oversized checked bags are allowed, but not by all airlines and the fees are very high. The airlines that allow it specify a limit for how large checked bags are accepted, ranging between 70-118 linear inches. The fees for oversized baggage range between 100-300$, depending on the airline. Some airlines have exemptions for sporting equipment, like golf clubs and bicycles, but not for typical checked suitcases.
What Size in cm Should 20 – 23 kg Checked Baggage Be?
A few airlines limit checked bags to specific sizes. For example, Ryanair has a size limit of 119 x 119 x 81 cm, British Airways of 90 x 75 x 43 cm, and Wizzair of 171 x 149 x 119 cm. But most airlines have a size restriction of 158 linear centimeters for checked baggage. The sum of the height, width, and depth of your checked bag shouldn’t exceed this limit.