It’s time to convert to carry-on: LuggageHero ranks airlines by space allowance
It’s time to convert to carry-on: LuggageHero ranks airlines by space allowance
Last updated: Mar 16, 2020 · 3 min read

It’s time to convert to carry-on: LuggageHero ranks airlines by space allowance

As more U.S. airlines boost rates on checked luggage (most recently, JetBlue and United), the ticket to happiness is clear: ditch your checked bag in favor of a carry-on. 

To help travelers make informed carry-on choices, LuggageHero has surveyed nine leading domestic airlines’ luggage allowance rules to determine which ones let you tote the largest bags onboard.

Three came out on top: Southwest, Spirit, and Frontier airlines. Each allows a bag with total dimensions of 50 inches. But there’s a caveat: only Southwest carry-on is free. The other two come with a fee.

With the rest, you lose 5 valuable inches of packing space. American, JetBlue, Alaska, Delta, Hawaiian, and United airlines allow 45 inches. In the case of United, those flying at the lowest “basic economy” level are charged a carry-on fee. The others don’t charge extra for carry-on.

(If you simply cannot travel with only carry-on, be sure to check our recent report on which airlines are least likely to lose your luggage. Be aware of the increase in checked bag fees by many US airlines. Our study on this topic gives an overview of the current prices for checked luggage.)

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Not sure you can switch to carry-on? Here’s how…


We’ve gathered some great packing tips for new carry-on converts. Check out our blog post for the full list, but here are some highlights:

1) Pack Light

It’s obvious, but often avoided. Start off by laying out everything you want to bring, then take away a third. Sounds painful, but you won’t regret it.

2) Put heavy stuff in the bottom and put things within things, like socks in shoes.

3) Keep a ready-to-go toiletry bag with only the essentials.

4) Roll your clothes, which saves space and reduces wrinkles.

Still not onboard?

If you’re still not convinced that carry-on is the way to go, here’s a little inspiration:


Frequent flier and carry-on convert Christa Quarles, CEO of OpenTable: “I’m always surprised at how much I can stuff into a piece of luggage that does not need to be checked— because checking luggage means you lost.


Photographer and creative director Jill Paider, who is frequently on the road, mostly flies with only a carry-on. She documented her travels in the book “Carry-On only: Confessions from 100 Countries.”


Celebrities including Mandy Moore, Karlie Kloss, Margot Robbie, and Jessica Alba have been spotted wheeling the current darling of the suitcase set, Away’s “Carry-On,” with built-in charger.


Always-on-the-road Johnny Jet advises against the hack of wearing multiple layers of clothing to be able to pack more. Instead, slip on a SCOTTeVEST, with more than 20 pockets to shove all your stuff in.

About LuggageHero

LuggageHero is a network of safe, convenient, and affordable luggage storage sites in local shops, cafés, and hotels. We charge by the hour, and have more than 250 drop-off points in New York City, London, and Copenhagen.


Contact for information

Jannik Lawaetz, founder and CEO

Skype: jannik.lawaetz

USA: 718-509-9271

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