Home Airlines A Few Inches Makes All The Difference (When It Comes To Bag Size)

A Few Inches Makes All The Difference (When It Comes To Bag Size)

by joeheg

Size matters. Especially when you’re dealing with something as important as the dimensions of your carry on bag. With passengers not wanting to check luggage because of cost and the possibility the airlines will lose their stuff, people are trying to bring as much as they can with them on the plane. Because of this, airlines are getting stricter about the size and number of items you can bring with you.  It’s now crucial to have a bag that’ll fit in the airline’s sizing device. Here’s a link showing the current size bags allowed on many airlines. Now that airlines are looking for any way possible to get more money from you, collecting fees to gate check a bag that’s “too big” for the overhead bins is easy money. We’ve even come across gate agents who claimed our bags were too large, when they most certainly were not. See, it fits just fine.


You’ll see many websites telling you which bags are “carry-on approved” or “fits in overhead bin” Don’t believe them. I’ll share with you a story of how Sharon and I learned the hard way that 22 inches doesn’t necessarily mean EXACTLY 22 inches. 

When it came time for us to get new luggage, Sharon did plenty of searching online, like she usually does. She had just purchased a new full-size Victorinox suitcase that she loved. She decided to get a matching carry-on bag and found a bag that fit her needs perfectly. The Victorinox Nxt 5.0 Mobilizer 22 inch.


Having dimensions of 14″W x 22″H x 9″D, it’s the exact size most domestic U.S. airlines say you can bring as a carry-on. We were proud of our new purchase until we went on our first flight. I went to put the bag in the overhead compartment and the door wouldn’t close. I mean it would close if I put in the bag sideways but that’s not why we just bought a bag of the correct size. Depending on the airline, I could possibly put in the bag wheels out and it would fit. We took the bag to a sizer and found out the bag wouldn’t fit. The bag was the proper size, but only if you didn’t count the wheels.


Notice how the wheels stick out under the bag as well as in the back a bit? This was just enough extra size to make the bag “non-regulation size.” The bag is wonderful and all but it was just too much of a pain to risk having to gate check it if we ran up against the wrong airline employee. We now just use it when we’re going on road trips.

When we were doing research, I picked up a new bag for myself. By this time I was reading travel blogs and message boards and many people were saying how great TravelPro bags were. When picking the size,  I played it safe and got the 20-inch bag. The bag I purchased was the Crew 9 version, which has since been discontinued. I love this bag and it’s as great as everyone said. To replace her new bag, Sharon decided to get the same Travelpro bag as mine (albeit in a different color); hers is the updated Crew 10 – 20-inch Expandable Business Plus Rollaboard. While Travelpro is now selling the version 11 of this bag, the model 10 is still available at Amazon.


The dimensions of this bag are listed at 20 H x 14 W x 9 D. Several reviewers on Amazon give slightly different “real world” dimensions of  21 1/4 x 14 x 9 1/2. The most important thing for getting this bag to fit in the “sizer” is the wheel design.


See how the wheels are built into the side of the case? This does make you lose a little bit of storage space but wheels or handles sticking out are the main reason bags end up not fitting the sizing requirements. I did notice the problem of my version 9 bag tipping forward all the time was fixed on this version with those little feet things. I never even noticed this until now.

I love us having two carry on bags that fit perfectly in the overhead bins and take up the least amount of space possible. At least I won’t be like this guy trying to figure out how to put a bag into the overhead bin.


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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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