Looking to save money on bag fees by taking only a carry-on? Keep in mind that each airline has different size requirements for what constitutes a carry-on bag and some charge a fee for any bag larger than a small "personal item".

What are the Size and Weight Limits for Carry-On Bags?

To help you avoid a surprise when boarding your flight, we've put together a handy list of each U.S. airline's rules regarding carry-on bags. While most don't have a specified weight limit, each airline does specify length, width, and height limits for bags that are brought onboard the aircraft.

Maximum Size Restrictions for Carry-On Bags by Airline

All sizes are measured in inches. No published weight limit unless otherwise stated.

  • Alaska Airlines: 22" x 14" x 9" carry-on bag, plus a personal item.
  • Allegiant Airlines: 16" x 15" x 7" free personal item; Allegiant charges a fee for a standard-sized carry-on bag up to 22" x 14" x 9".
  • American Airlines: 22" x 14" x 9" carry-on bag, plus a personal item up to 18" x 14" x 8".
  • Delta: 22" x 14" x 9" carry-on bag, plus a personal item, with no published weight limits (except for flights departing SIN, PEK, and PVG; 15-22 lbs.)
  • Frontier Airlines: 18" x 14" x 8" free personal item with no published weight limit; Frontier charges a fee for a standard-sized carry-on bag up to 24” x 16” x 10” with a weight limit of 35 pounds.
  • Hawaiian Airlines: 22" x 14" x 9" carry-on bag with a 25-pound weight limit, plus a personal item.
  • JetBlue: 22" x 14" x 9" carry-on bag, plus a personal item.
  • Southwest: 24" x 16" x 10" carry-on bag, plus a personal item up to 18.5" x 13.5" x 8.5".
  • Spirit Airlines: 18" x 14" x 8" free personal item; Spirit charges a fee for a standard-sized carry-on bag up to 22” x 18” x 10”.
  • Sun Country Airlines: 17” x 13” x 9” free personal item; Sun Country charges a fee for a standard-sized carry-on bag up to 24” x 16” x 11”.
  • United Airlines: 17” x 10” x 9” free personal item for Basic Economy on domestic and short-haul international flights; 22” x “14” x 9” for all standard Economy tickets and transatlantic Basic Economy flights.

Related: The Best Carry-On Bags for Every U.S. Airline


Size restrictions are inclusive of wheels and handles. Assistive devices and strollers can always be gate claimed for free and do not count toward your carry-on allowance. Most airlines also allow you to bring a jacket and food, drink, or duty-free merchandise purchased after clearing the security checkpoint without counting toward your carry-on allowance.

A general rule of thumb to follow is that a "personal item" must fit under the seat in front of you and a "carry-on" bag must fit in the overhead bin on a standard Boeing 737 or larger aircraft. Carry-on sized bags that fit in the overhead bins on larger aircraft may still need to be gate claimed on smaller regional jets that have smaller overhead bins.

More than likely you'll be ok flying with a bag that fits those general dimensions, but you may want to adhere to the exact dimensions to be on the safe side in case you come across a particularly strict gate agent. And if you decide to pay for a larger bag on ultra-low-cost carriers Frontier, Spirit, or Sun Country, you may be delighted to know that your paid-for carry-on bag can technically be slightly larger than when flying on legacy carriers.

Keep in mind that while most U.S. airlines don't have any weight restrictions, some international carriers do have weight limits and they might be lower than you'd expect. Make sure to check your carrier's restrictions before heading to the airport so you don't get surprised with extra fees.


Related: A New Look at Basic Economy for Transatlantic International Travel


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Featured image: karanik yimpat / Shutterstock

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