How to Measure a Suitcase in Linear Inches


Airlines have policies as to what size luggage you can take on the plane for free. Sixty-two linear inches is a common checked-bag restriction in the U.S. Forty-five linear inches is a common carry-on bag restriction. Exceeding the measurement can trigger your having to check a bag or having to pay a fee.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Retract the handle fully. Recess the wheels, if possible. You want these figuring into your measurement as little as possible.

  • Measure the width, height and length of the baggage in inches. Include the wheels and handle in the measurement. Include the bulging sides in the measurement.

  • Add the three measurements together. The sum is the bag’s measurement in linear inches.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don’t forget that there are also weight restrictions on luggage. Forty pounds and 50 pounds are common limits in the U.S. for carry-on and checked luggage, respectively.
  • Note that the airline may not be restricting carry-on luggage by linear inches, but instead by each of the three dimensions. For example, if it wants external dimensions no larger than 10 by 14 by 24 inches, then a 14-by-14-by-20-inch bag may not be acceptable because one of the three dimension limits was exceeded. This three-limit type of restriction is more common for carry-on luggage than for checked-luggage, because the carry-on luggage has to be stowed under seats or in luggage bins above the seats. Contact your airline if its website is unclear on the policy.

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