Top 3 carry-on suitcases within airline guidelines 22x14x9

Several articles have come out lately bemoaning the inconsistent carry-on policies of airlines. Of course, you don’t need to read a news story—most frequent fliers have experienced it first hand and can tell you all about it. I have been on multi-leg flights where my bag is fine on the first flight and then suddenly is “too big” according to the gate agent. And on that same flight I saw a passenger trying to stuff two huge bags into the overhead bins.

The inconsistent application of the rules is certainly frustrating, but the rules themselves are inconsistent. For example, American Airlines says that a bag needs to be under 45 linear inches, but it also says that it must be no bigger than 22x14x9. So if you have a bag that is, say, 26”x9”x12”, even though it’s within the 45” guidelines, they could still make you check it.

So what’s a business traveler to do? One option is to buy a bag that fits perfectly within the 22”x14”x9” guidelines. It’s not a perfect strategy, as final approval still goes through gate agents, but it will give you the best chance of avoiding accusations of oversized bags.Victorinox werks dual caster

One of the comments on an article I posted on Facebook was that bags that are only 14” wide are few and far between. This surprised me, but when I started researching I found that 15” and even 16” bags were far more common. However, three of my favorite luggage brands make bags that are only 14” wide.

For tips on how to pick the best carry-on, see my Guidelines for Choosing  a Rollaboard Suitcase.

Top 3 Suitcases 22x14x9

Victorinox Werks Dual Caster 20”. This Victorinox bag is basically the suitcase I have (and love) but with spinners and a different handle. It is super light, easy to maneuver, and has a large interior. The Victorinox brand is great because they make high-quality luggage with one of the best warranties in the industry. The dimensions are 20″x13.5″x9″.briggs riley verb

Briggs and Riley Verb Fuse 20” Carry-on. Briggs and Riley makes incredible luggage with a lifetime warranty—if the bag is ever damaged or broken, even if it’s by an airline, they will repair or replace. My brother-in-law has a similar bag to this, and I love it. There are ample pockets for you laptop and other items, it rolls beautifully, and will fit a crazy amount of stuff. The dimensions are 22″x14″x9″.

TravelPro Maxlite 4 21 Inch Expandable Spinner. TravelPro makes my list of top luggage brands because their bags are durable, TravelPro Liteand designed for everyday use. This is the brand that you most often see flight attendants and pilots using. This particular bag is light, solidly constructed, with a pocket for your laptop in the front. The dimensions are 21”x14”x9”. (Also, check out my review of the Travelpro Crew 11 21″ Carryon. Spoiler alert: I LOVE IT.)

Readers, does your carry-on fit within the 22”x14”x9” dimensions?

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  1. The Travelpro Maxlite 22″ Expandable Rollaboard has dimensions of 21 x 14 x 9. So far it has worked well for me both domestically and internationally. I like the expansion feature so that on my way home, if I need additional space due to purchases I made on the trip, I can expand and check the bag.

  2. Last time we purchased a new carry-on, we actually brought a tape measure to the store… and unfortunately found that almost all measurements provided by manufacturers were off. Some included the handle and wheels, while others didn’t – and we know that can make a big difference both in the overhead and getting past the gate!

  3. Forgive me for being the voice of dissension but I gave up the roller bag years ago. Being a seasoned traveler, I found I still needed to gate-check for regional flights…and go through the hassle of waiting and collecting at the end. I’ve learned that a well-made duffle/weekend bag works great. As long as it doesn’t have wheels, the attendants don’t give it a second glance. It can mold to whatever space is provided and in all honesty, holds as much in it as my carry-on-approved roller bag. If you can muscle it (and honestly, I need the workout) it’s a better option in my humble opinion.

  4. As a pilot on the road for 1 week at a time I find the eBags Mother Lode TLS Weekender Convertible to be the BEST bag I have ever had.
    Without the wheels and handle, and with thoughtful packing I can easily pack all that I need for my work week in one bag. I can hang my “spring” jacket from one of the outside straps.
    My arms are free to eat etc and the bag stays off the nasty airport bathroom floors. It also allows me to venture across non-airport terrain where wheels could not go.
    If packed correctly, and my laptop and Nexus 7 removed I have been able to “cinch it tight” and get it into even a Dash 8 overhead – yes it can be done. On occasion I have settled with under-seat stowage.

  5. I am surprised that the Tumi Alpha is not on this list. I am on the road more than 40 weeks per year and my Alpha has been holing up for years. Great design and durability. It has always fit. After buying a new bag every year, this bag turned me into a believer.

  6. These aren’t the real dimensions… the real dimensions include the wheels. For example, the Maxlite 4 definitely won’t meet the 22 x 14 x 9 requirement when you go to check in. It will cost you $$$ to check it as it won’t fit in the little carry on checker. It’s a shame people post review like this and aren’t aware of the rules.

  7. Just returned a Maxlight 4 becouse it was small and is undersized, as are all the new Travelpro bags.
    Travel Pro’s dimensions included the wheels less a half inch. I am replacing an older Travelpro Crew bag that is closer to 23″ and have never had a problem. If you fly 737’s like Southwest they allow 24 tall 16 wide and 10 deep.

  8. American Airlines is terrible about carry-ons. On their regional jets they won’t let you carry on anything with wheels, regardless of the size. I have a bad that fits on all AA regional jets, yet since it has wheels I am forced to gate check it. They are focused on their departure statistics, and unwilling to train their people to discriminate between bags that actually fit. The fact that you may miss your connection as you wait for your gate-checked bag isn’t their concern.

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