Airlines around the world don’t agree about carry-on luggage size and weight restrictions. This makes it nearly impossible to meet the requirements of every airline.
carry on luggage limits
Luckily there are regulations from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The member airlines can still make their own limits because these are only guidelines. The IATA guidelines suggest the following size limits:

Cabin baggage should have a maximum length of 56 cm (22 inches), width of 45 cm (18 inches) and depth of 25 cm (10 inches) including all handles, side pockets, wheels etc.

However it’s not that easy as just buying a luggage bag that fits within these guidelines. It’s best to buy a carry-on luggage that falls within the limits below to be sure your luggage will be allowed on most airlines.

Recommended Size If You Only Need 1 Carry On Case

If you’re only searching for 1 travel suitcase then we advise buying something smaller than this:

55 cm (21.6 inches), width of 40 cm (15.7 inches) and depth of 20 cm (7.8 inches)

Cabin bags that fall within these size restrictions will be accepted by most airlines and still contain enough space.
Those of you who are frequent fliers probably use different airline companies from time to time. To make sure you have no problem when going on your next travel you may want to purchase 2 bags – one larger bag and one smaller. The latter one can be use with budget airlines that have stricter size limits.

Baggage Rules By Airline Company

Airline Company
Max Dimensions (Inch)Max Dimensions (cm)Max Weight (kg)
Air Lingus21.5 x 15.5 x 9.555x40x2410
Air Canada21.5 x 15.5 x 9 55x40x2310
United Airlines22 x 14 x 9 56x35x22-
Virgin Atlantic22 x 14 x 9 56x36x236
American Airlines22 x 14 x 9 56x36x23-
Thomas Cook Airlines21.5 x 15.7 x 7.8 55x40x2010
South African Airlines22 x 14.2x9 56x36x238
Ryanair21.5 x 15.7 x 7.8 55x40x2010
Lufthansa21.5 x 15.7 x 7.8 55x 40x23 8
KLM21.5 x 13.5 x 9.8 55x35x2512

These are the current restrictions that we could find on the websites of these airline companies. These can change of course. To be sure check with your airline the most up to date carry-on luggage size restrictions. You don’t want to encounter any problems when boarding a plane.

How Strict Are Airline Baggage Policies?

When checking in your bags will be weighed. If they are slightly heavier and larger than the airline restrictions you won’t have any problems. However it’s better to prevent it, just to be on the safe side. Airlines do have other guidelines than weight and size such as the number of carry on bags you can take with you on a flight.