If you are going on a big trip it pays to have the largest luggage size for check-in possible. But going over the limits with the size of your checked luggage could end up in costly overweight fees or your checked luggage not making it on the plane.
So, what is the largest luggage size for check-in that you can get away with along with the weight limits? Let’s take a look at this question in a lot of detail so you never get caught out again!
Size and weight limits on checked luggage are a little different from airline to airline but there are some general rules that are safe to follow.
Most airlines let you check in one or two pieces of checked luggage with a maximum weight of 23 kg or 32 kg (50 lbs & 70 lbs) per bag, depending on the class you are flying and the airline.
However, each checked bag must not be larger than 62 linear inches, and we will discuss how to calculate this in the next section.
The reason why checked luggage must be 62 linear inches and weigh 32 kg or less, is to protect the baggage handlers from hurting themselves. These rules are set by airline regulators such as IATA and the FAA, not by the airlines.
Generally speaking, the more you pay for a flight the more free checked luggage you will be allowed to bring with you. Business Class on Emirates for example allows 2 x 32 kg bags of checked luggage per person, whereas economy can be just 1 x 23 kg of checked luggage.
But, there are some odd ways around this. Being a surfer, I always put my surfboard bag in as checked baggage and some airlines do this for free.
For example, when flying with British Airways or Qatar Airways, you can put your surfboard in as checked baggage so long as it is under the weight limits, and my surfboard bag is 84 inches long, a lot more than 62 linear inches.
I would advise you to always check what the largest luggage size for check-in is for the airline you have booked with so that nothing goes wrong at the counter.
The largest luggage size for checked-in luggage is a bag that is 62 linear inches and 32 kg heavy.
But, if we take British Airways as an example, you are allowed to check in a surfboard bag that is a maximum of 75″ x 29.5″ x 25.5″ which is way over 62 linear inches. It is in fact 130 linear inches, more than double 62 linear inches.
The bag must still weigh less than 23 kg or 32 kg though, depending on your ticket. This size bag is considered oversized baggage though and therefore has to be taken to a separate conveyor belt for loading after the check-in desk.
So, the information about 62 linear inches is a bit misleading, I have never seen a bag being measured, and have traveled a lot!
It all depends on the dimensions of the bag or suitcase. A large suitcase size of 32 inches can be within 62 linear inches depending on the dimensions.
When suitcases and bags are labeled 32 inches (or any other number) the manufacturer is talking about their height, nothing else.
You will need to go and find the width and depth of the suitcase or bag and calculate the linear inches. If a 32-inch long bag is 20 inches wide and 10 inches deep, it is 62 linear inches and is not considered oversized luggage.
The same theory applies to 28, 29, 30, and 31-inch bags. Unfortunately, manufacturers of suitcases and bags don’t follow the rules as they should.
On average, 45.4 % of suitcases and bags that are labeled as 28, 29, 30, 31, and 32-inch bags for check-in are actually oversized and are above 62 linear inches, so be careful when buying your suitcase or bag.
Get all the dimensions and calculate the linear inches before paying any money.
It can go one of two ways when you arrive with checked bags that exceed size limits and your baggage allowance.
Sometimes, the person behind the check-in desk is a delight and does not charge you for the extra weight or extra size, and this may be because the flight isn’t very full or they are in a good mood.
If your bag is oversized, you will have to take it to the oversized luggage counter to put it on the flight though.
But, it can also go the other way.
If your checked bags are over 62 linear inches but below the maximum limit of oversized bags (which differ by airline), then you will have to pay a fee.
If your checked bags are over the airline’s maximum linear inches limit, which is 80 for Delta, then your checked bags will be refused.
If your luggage is over the weight restrictions, then you can be charged per kg over the weight allowed for your checked bags as per your ticket.
But, in some countries bags over 32 kg are illegal and these include all of Europe, Cuba, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa and will be turned away. Other countries and airlines allow maximum weight restrictions of 45 kg for oversized baggage.
The fees for oversized and overweight checked bags differ between airlines and even the routes of airlines.
If your checked bags are oversized you may have to pay a fee of between $75 and $200 for each checked bag.
The charge per kg overweight can range between $15 and $30 per kg over 23 kg or 32 kg, depending on your ticket and the destination. Some airlines simply do a flat fee of $50 and up, depending on the route and class of your ticket.
Paying extra fees for a checked suitcase simply isn’t worth it so it is worthwhile measuring and weight your checked suitcases before you leave for the airport so you can avoid them.
All airlines will allow a checked suitcase that is 62 linear inches in size or below. Sticking to these size limits is important if you want to avoid costly fees at the airport.
It is therefore very important that you check that the dimensions of the checked suitcase you intend on buying are 62 linear inches or below.
Luggage sizes vary across all checked suitcase models and the last thing you need is a checked baggage size that is too small for all your things, or too big where everything rolls around.
Generally speaking, checked suitcases that are 18-22 inches in length are great for trips up to 14 days. 23 to 27-inch bags are good for 2 to 3-week trips, and 25 to 32-inches are great for 4 weeks and above.
You can find more details on luggage sizes here.
Checked luggage comes in many forms including soft suitcases, hard suitcases, large duffle bags, and backpacks. Hard suitcases provide the most protection for your belongings from damage, and theft as they are also lockable.
But, hard and soft suitcases are not easy to carry over rugged terrain, nor are they malleable to your packing style. This is where duffle bags and backpacks might suit you better.
Pick a luggage type that matches your trip. Heading straight to a hotel, a hard suitcase is ideal. Going on adventures, perhaps a backpack is best.
It goes without saying that having wheels on your suitcase or duffle bag is a must. It makes life so much easier being able to roll your checked bags around, especially when taking public transport to the airport for example.
Backpacks do not come with wheels, but they are at least designed to carry comfortably, so they are great when it comes to portability too.
The best 62-inch checked luggage in my eyes is the Travelpro Maxlite Air Hardside large suitcase.
It is bang on 62 linear inches, very light not to take up your baggage allowance, has 4 wheels for great portability, is hard-cased to protect your things, and has multiple compartments so you can keep things organized.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. This suitcase is also lockable, has lots of handles to carry it with, and it has an in-built water guard so your things stay dry even when baggage handlers are working in the rain.
Checked luggage is not the same as oversized luggage, they are two different things. The largest dimensions allowed for checked luggage is 62 linear inches as I have already stated.
But, the maximum dimensions for oversize luggage depends on the airline. American Airlines for example will allow oversize bags of up to 126 linear inches.
So, it is always best to ask the airline what the maximum size is for their oversize bags before thinking about bringing one to check-in.
Yes, anything sticking out of the checked bag or checked suitcase is considered a part of the 62 linear-inch measurements.
Whether it’s wheels or the handle, it has to be part of the 62-inch measurement.
The maximum number of checked bags you are allowed to put on a flight depends on the airline’s rules.
Some airlines allow a maximum of 15 checked bags per person, you would of course have to pay for 13 of them.
More expensive airlines are more likely to allow more checked bags per person than budget airlines. This also goes for international airlines over domestic airlines too.
Basically, it is always best to check with the airline you are flying with if you intend on bringing more checked bags than is allowed on your ticket. Also, booking your extra bags online is much more affordable than paying for them at the airline check-in desk.
A suitcase that fits 23 kg of your things inside it is usually about 25-29 inches long. But, it depends on what you pack inside it, 23 kg of lead is pretty small for example.
Generally speaking though, you won’t push the size and weight limit for most airlines with a 25 to 20-inch bag.
A suitcase that is between 18 and 22 inches long is enough for a 7-day vacation for most people.
This size suitcase is actually small enough to be used as your carry-on bag, so you won’t even have to check it in if you don’t want to.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!