Staying within airline luggage size limits?
July 14, 2012 11:30 AM   Subscribe

The size limit on checked luggage is 62 inches (height+width+depth) for most airlines . Do I need to be concerned about being close to that, assuming the weight is okay and it is not overstuffed?

I need a big suitcase to check through but want to avoid additional luggage fees. Should I avoid the 29" models as many are only about an inch under 62"? This is mostly for international travel on major carriers.
posted by Morrigan to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
Keep in mind that restrictions on most carriers are lessened for international flights, even in economy class.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:32 AM on July 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've yet to face size challenges for checked luggage on international flights and most carriers will wink through about 1-3 kg extra. Suitcases are rarely a problem, from what I've seen, they are more concerned about the folks who bring in huge boxes of TV sets or ridiculously large bundle tied in a bedsheet et al.
posted by infini at 11:36 AM on July 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, if you're flying into and out of the continental United States, be aware that your limits and sizes are slightly greater than that for Asia and continental Europe (and most of the world) which is only 20kg. The US permits 32kg (unless this has changed in the last couple of years) - so if you're expecting to fly from non US locations to other non US locations, mind this difference else you'll be oversized/overweight unless your ticket shows that the US is the final destination.

Currently, I've been able to get tickets that permit me 40kg permits - for Africa - and don't seem to be priced extra, I have no idea how or why but I'm appreciating being able to bring favourite foods and stuff.
posted by infini at 11:40 AM on July 14, 2012

that size is actually quite standard internationally (i forget what it is in cm) and almost all large suitcases are made to this size...weightwise you should be fine, even with a bunch of books or other heavy stuff...
posted by sexyrobot at 12:08 PM on July 14, 2012

sorry..the ones that are really close in size (like by an inch) are perfectly fine.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:09 PM on July 14, 2012

My sister's been a travel agent for eons so she's seen it all, says they almost never measure dimensions unless it's clearly over by a lot and you're usually okay with a wee bit extra weight, tho some airlines are getting crankier (greedier) about that.
posted by ambient2 at 12:37 PM on July 14, 2012

I wouldn't worry about size either if it looks like a normal large suitcase. I've traveled with large suitcases before and they don't seem to notice anything other than the weight.
posted by cabingirl at 1:01 PM on July 14, 2012

I seriously doubt it will be a problem on International flights--however--budget airlines in Europe ( can not speak for other continents) tend to mean what they say about the size and weight of luggage permitted as carry on or checked. Note--The size of carry on luggage on European budget airlines is less than in the US or other commercial carriers in Eu.
posted by rmhsinc at 1:11 PM on July 14, 2012

Re "even with a bunch of books and heavy stuff", eh, this may not be true.

I used to have a big ol' suitcase. Once, on a visit back home, someone happened to be getting rid of a bunch of books. I filled said suitcase with the stuff I wanted, and trotted off back to the airport without really thinking about it.

I happened to be a couple pounds over the limit. Luckily it was just a little bit over, and the check-in clerk let me shift the weight around and put a few books into my carry-on until it worked out. But you definitely can fill those things heavier than the weight capacity quite easily if you're packing more than just clothes and toiletries and such.

It's really the weight you want to be careful about, though -- others are right that suitcase sizes are standardized and luggage companies aren't going to put out products that can't go on a plane.
posted by Sara C. at 2:14 PM on July 14, 2012

Ditto the folks who are saying you'll probably be fine with a standard suitcase; do try to keep within or at least very close to the weight limits, though. It's the oddball stuff people try to carry aboard that gets the most attention --- believe it or not, I was once stuck behind a dude who was arguing with the gate agents because he was trying to carry aboard (not check!) A KAYAK..... compared to that, checking through an almost-but-not-quite-within-the-limits suitcase won't even raise an eyebrow. Just remember to stay calm and pleasant, and they'll probably happily wink at a small overage.
posted by easily confused at 3:18 PM on July 14, 2012

Suitcases are designed for airline limits, so you should be fine on the size (assuming you do not expand the expandy sections), but do be careful of weight with the largest bags. It is utterly and entirely possible to push them well over weight limits without packing anything special in them.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:06 PM on July 14, 2012

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