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What Is The Size Of A Carry-On Suitcase


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Cristy Juarez



When it comes to traveling, having the right essentials and accessories can make a world of difference. And one essential item that every traveler needs is a reliable carry-on suitcase. A carry-on suitcase not only allows you to keep your belongings close at hand, but it also saves you the hassle and cost of checking in a larger suitcase.


However, before you rush off to purchase a carry-on suitcase, it’s important to understand the size restrictions set by different airlines. Each airline has its own specific dimensions for carry-on luggage, and it’s crucial to adhere to these guidelines to avoid any issues during your journey.


In this article, we’ll explore the size of a carry-on suitcase, the varying dimensions set by airlines, and provide some useful tips on choosing the right one for your needs.


So, whether you’re embarking on a weekend getaway or a business trip, read on to discover everything you need to know about the size of a carry-on suitcase.


Airlines’ Carry-On Size Restrictions

Before you start packing for your next adventure, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the carry-on size restrictions imposed by different airlines. These restrictions can vary significantly, so it’s essential to check the specific requirements for the airline you’ll be traveling with.


Most airlines have specific dimensions for both the size and weight of carry-on luggage. Size restrictions typically refer to the linear dimensions of the suitcase, which is the sum of the length, width, and height. Weight restrictions, on the other hand, refer to the maximum weight allowed for the carry-on suitcase.


For example, a popular airline might have a carry-on size restriction of 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches (56 cm x 35 cm x 23 cm) with a weight limit of 22 pounds (10 kg). However, please note that these dimensions and weight limits can vary, so it’s always best to check with the airline directly.


Furthermore, some airlines also impose size restrictions for personal items, in addition to the carry-on suitcase. These personal items can include a laptop bag, a purse, or a small backpack, and their dimensions should typically be smaller than the carry-on suitcase dimensions.


It’s worth noting that certain airlines may have more relaxed restrictions for premium or business class passengers. These passengers may be allowed larger carry-on suitcases or additional personal items. Once again, it’s crucial to review the specific requirements based on your ticket class.


Keep in mind that if your carry-on suitcase exceeds the airline’s size or weight restrictions, you may be required to check it in, which could result in additional fees or potential delays during your journey.


Now that we have a better understanding of the varying size restrictions imposed by airlines, let’s delve into the dimensions of a standard carry-on suitcase.


Dimensions of a Carry-On Suitcase

Carry-on suitcases come in various sizes, but there are some common dimensions that you’ll find across different brands and models. These dimensions are designed to meet the size restrictions set by most airlines.


The most typical size of a carry-on suitcase is around 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches (56 cm x 35 cm x 23 cm). This size is determined by the linear dimensions, which is the total of the length, width, and height. However, it’s important to note that this size may vary slightly depending on the specific brand or model of the suitcase.


In addition to the linear dimensions, carry-on suitcases also come in different capacities. The capacity refers to the amount of space available inside the suitcase, and it is typically measured in liters or cubic inches. A common capacity range for carry-on suitcases is between 30 and 45 liters.


When choosing a carry-on suitcase, it’s important to consider not only the size but also the capacity. The size should adhere to the airline’s restrictions, while the capacity should be sufficient to fit all your essential belongings comfortably.


Another factor to keep in mind is the weight of the empty suitcase. Lightweight suitcases are becoming increasingly popular, as they allow you to maximize your carrying capacity without exceeding weight restrictions. Look for suitcases that are constructed with lightweight materials, such as polycarbonate or aluminum, to ensure easier maneuverability and minimal strain on your body.


Now that we understand the dimensions of a standard carry-on suitcase, let’s explore some common sizes that you’ll come across in the market.


Common Carry-On Suitcase Sizes

When it comes to carry-on suitcases, there are a few common sizes that you’ll come across in the market. These sizes cater to different needs and preferences, allowing travelers to find the perfect fit for their journeys.


1. 20-inch Carry-On Suitcase: This size is smaller and more compact, making it ideal for short trips or travelers who prefer to pack light. With dimensions around 20 inches by 14 inches by 8 inches (51 cm x 35 cm x 20 cm), it offers enough space for a few days’ worth of clothing and essentials. Its smaller size also makes it easier to maneuver in crowded airports or tight overhead compartments on planes.


2. 22-inch Carry-On Suitcase: This is the most common size for carry-on suitcases, offering a good balance between storage capacity and airline restrictions. With dimensions around 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches (56 cm x 35 cm x 23 cm), it provides ample space for longer trips of up to a week. It comfortably fits essentials like clothing, toiletries, and small accessories.


3. 24-inch Carry-On Suitcase: Slightly larger than the previous sizes, this option offers extra storage space for individuals who prefer to pack more or need additional room for specific items. With dimensions around 24 inches by 16 inches by 10 inches (61 cm x 41 cm x 25 cm), it can accommodate clothing, shoes, and larger accessories for longer trips of a week or more.


4. Hardside vs. Softside: It’s important to consider whether you prefer a hardside or softside carry-on suitcase. Hardside suitcases provide enhanced durability and protection for fragile items, while softside suitcases offer flexibility and expandability for added storage capacity.


Remember, the size of the carry-on suitcase you choose should be based on your specific travel needs, preferences, and the airline’s size restrictions. Always check with the airline to ensure that your chosen size is within their allowed dimensions.


Now that we’ve explored common carry-on suitcase sizes, let’s dive into some useful tips for choosing the right one.


Tips for Choosing the Right Carry-On Suitcase

Choosing the right carry-on suitcase can greatly enhance your travel experience. To ensure you make the best choice, consider the following tips:

  1. Check the airline’s size restrictions: Before you start shopping, familiarize yourself with the specific size restrictions set by the airline you’ll be traveling with. This will help you ensure that your chosen suitcase complies with their guidelines.
  2. Consider your travel needs: Think about the type of trips you typically take. If you usually embark on short weekend getaways, a smaller and more compact carry-on suitcase may suffice. For longer journeys, a slightly larger size may be necessary to accommodate more clothing and essentials.
  3. Assess the storage capacity: Look for suitcases that offer efficient packing features, such as multiple compartments, built-in organizers, and compression straps. These elements can help maximize the storage capacity and keep your belongings organized during your travels.
  4. Consider the weight and durability: Opt for a lightweight but durable suitcase. Lightweight materials, like polycarbonate or aluminum, can make a significant difference in maneuverability and ease of carrying. Look for reinforced corners and sturdy handles for added durability.
  5. Wheels and handles: Choose a carry-on suitcase with smooth-rolling wheels and a reliable handle. Four-wheel spinners offer excellent maneuverability and allow you to effortlessly navigate through busy airports.
  6. Security features: Look for suitcases that have built-in TSA-approved locks or lockable zippers to keep your belongings safe and secure during travel.
  7. Consider personal style: While functionality is crucial, don’t overlook your personal style preferences. Choose a carry-on suitcase that reflects your taste and suits your aesthetic, whether it’s a sleek, minimalist design or a bold, vibrant pattern.

Remember, finding the right carry-on suitcase is all about balancing size, functionality, durability, and personal preference. By considering these tips and doing your research, you’ll be well-equipped to choose a suitcase that meets your needs and enhances your travel experience.


Now that you’re armed with these tips, you’re ready to embark on your next adventure with the perfect carry-on suitcase!



Having the right carry-on suitcase is an essential part of successful and hassle-free travel. Understanding the size restrictions imposed by different airlines and choosing the right size and features for your needs can greatly enhance your journey.


In this article, we explored the size of a carry-on suitcase and the varying dimensions set by airlines. We also discussed common carry-on suitcase sizes, including the 20-inch, 22-inch, and 24-inch options, as well as the choice between hardside and softside suitcases.


Moreover, we provided key tips for choosing the right carry-on suitcase, such as checking airline size restrictions, considering travel needs and storage capacity, assessing weight and durability, and evaluating features like wheels, handles, and security measures.


By following these tips and understanding the guidelines set by airlines, you can confidently select a carry-on suitcase that meets your requirements and complies with the necessary restrictions.


So, whether you’re planning a short weekend getaway or a longer adventure, take the time to find the perfect carry-on suitcase that suits your style and provides you with the space and functionality you need.


Now it’s time to pack your essentials, zip up your carry-on suitcase, and embark on your next memorable journey!