Carry-On Luggage That Will *Actually* Fit in the Overhead Bin of the Specific Airline You’re Flying

Photo: Getty Images/ Yaroslav Astakhov
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No matter if you’re an over-packer or the type of person who refuses to check a bag, carry-on luggage can be a bit of a sore subject for travelers, no thanks to airline baggage policies and what seems like shape-shifting overhead bins. While some major airlines in the United States (hello, American Airlines, United, JetBlue, and Delta) make it easier to invest in luggage with their more standard 22 x 14 x 9-inch carry-on size, many airlines have different carry-on bag policies—and some bag size requirements can even change depending on the aircraft.

If you have a trip planned and need help shopping for carry-on luggage that will actually fit inside the overhead compartments, we’ve got you covered. Up ahead, find our top picks for the best carry-on luggage for JetBlue, Alaskan, United, Southwest, Spirit, and other popular domestic and international airlines.

Best carry-on luggage, at a glance 

The 9 best carry-on luggage for overhead bins

American Airlines: Samsonite, Octiv Carry-On Spinner

Octiv Carry-On Spinner — $230.00

American Airlines Carry-On Size: 22 x 14 x 9 inches

Bag Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 inches

According to American Airlines, a carry-on bag should be no bigger than 22 x 14 x 9 inches, including the handles and wheels, which is standard across several major airlines on our list. Since it is a standard size, it’s relatively easy to find an excellent carry-on bag to not only fit in the overhead bins on an American Airlines flight—but not all are created equal. For one of the best 22 x 14 x 9-inch carry-on bags, we adore The Octiv Carry-On Spinner from Samsonite, which measures at exactly the dimensions allowed, giving you every extra millimeter of room.

Samsonite is tried-and-true for good reason: It’s known for its durability and easy of use, thanks to its polycarbonate shell and packing cube-style interior that makes organizing your belongings a breeze (this includes mesh pockets, a WetPak pocket that keeps liquids to themselves, and elastic tie-downs. Plus, it comes with a TSA-approved locked for security, and Aero-Trac wheels that are designed to be strolled extra smoothly. Over-packers can rejoice, since the suitcase expands by 1.5 inches (every inch counts with a carry-on)! Bonus? It has an USB port in the design, so you can charge your phone or Kindle while you wait at your gate.


United: Monos Carry-On

The Carry-On — $245.00

United Carry-On Size: 22 x 14 x 9 inches

Bag Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 inches

United (along with several other airlines on our list) makes shopping for a carry-on bag easy with its more universal 22 x 14 x 9-inch size requirements. If you’re flying United, one of our favorite bags in this size is the Monos Carry-On—the bag is so good that it’s actually won awards for its design. This carry-on luggage is constructed with a polycarbonate hard shell interior that is ultra-durable, plus a telescoping handle that matches its exterior’s strength. The bag is also water-resistant so you can travel in rain or snow without concerns, has a 350D anti-microbial interior, and comes with a built-in TSA-approved lock for added security. On top of that, when you purchase a Monos Carry-On, you get an anti-microbial laundry bag, two shoe bags, and a vegan leather luggage tag along with it—score!

JetBlue: L.L.Bean Hardside Spinner, 22"

ll bean
Hardside Spinner, 22" — $219.00

JetBlue Carry-On Size: 22 x 14 x 9 inches

Bag Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 inches

As one of the major airlines in the United States, JetBlue also has a more universal carry-on bag policy. When flying JetBlue, you’ll want to ensure that your bag doesn’t exceed the 22 x 14 x 9 requirements, or else it won’t fit in the overhead bin and will need to be checked instead. For a bag that fits—and is made to last—consider the L.L.Bean Hardside Spinner. The durable hard-shell luggage fits the exact specifications, plus it can handle the wear and tear of travel, making it a good investment, too. Like most hardshell suitcases, this bag features four wheels that make dragging your belongings across a busy airport a breeze, only the wheels are particularly inset, making them even more durable. Inside, the bag has two mesh zippered dividers to keep personal items in placed and organized, too.

Delta: Level 8 Textured Carry-On 20''

level 8
Textured Carry-On 20'' — $160.00

Delta Carry-On Size: 22 x 14 x 9 inches

Bag Dimensions: 13.7 x 9.3 x 19.7 inches

Similar to American Airlines, United, and JetBlue, Delta also has standard carry-on size requirements of 22 x 14 x 9 inches. Whether you’re a loyal Delta flyer or are looking for a more universal carry-on bag that will fit overhead bins on most of the major airlines in the United States, the Textured Carry-On 20” from Level 8 is one of our favorites. With pronounced angles, this carry-on boasts a sleek and linear-looking design in a sturdy polycarbonate hard shell that—get this—has an anti-scratch surface.

The carry-on bag also comes in a collection of seven stunning colors, is extra-roomy inside, and you can save 15 percent when you make it a set with the matching checked bag size. On top of that, the luggage has a $159 price tag, which is on the more affordable side of the spectrum compared to carry-on bags with similar design and durability.

Alaskan Air: Baboon to the Moon Go Bag Small Duffle

baboon to the moon
Go-Bag Duffle Small — $189.00

Alaskan Air Carry-On Size: 22 x 14 x 9 inches or 45 linear inches

Bag Dimensions: 10.5 x 20.5 x 12.5 inches

If you want a soft-shell carry-on bag and are traveling on Alaskan Air, the Baboon to the Moon Go Bag Small Duffle is a fantastic choice. According to Alaskan Airlines’ baggage policy, carry-on bags must be no bigger than 22 x 14 x 9 inches or 45 linear inches—which this duffle bag matches. Apart from fitting into the overhead bins, the Go Bag is like the ultimate duffle with tons of compartments to keep you organized. It also features a convenient passport zippered pocket for easy access, a clippable all-around daisy chain so you can easily attach items to it with a carabiner and it has double-layered protection. The bag also features locking zippers for security and a zipper rain flap to keep belongings protected in wet weather.

Southwest Airlines: Paravel Aviator Carry-On Plus

The Aviator Carry-On Plus — $375.00

Southwest Airlines Carry-On Size: 24 x 16 x 10 inches

Bag Dimensions: 14.7 x 22.7 x 9.6 inches

We love flying Southwest Airlines because it has one of the most generous carry-on bag policies, which states bags in the overhead bin can’t exceed past 24 x 16 x 10 inches. When flying Southwest, the Paravel Aviator Carry-On Plus is the best carry-on bag for your trip. The classic hard shell luggage is constructed from recycled materials, making it totally carbon-neutral. Featuring 360-degree double spinner wheels that make rolling super smoother, an interior compression board, scuff-camouflaging finish (even if you choose the cream-colored option, it won’t get marked very easily—our senior commerce editor travels everywhere with it, and it still somehow looks brand new), interior pockets, and a removable laundry bag.

It’s a larger “smaller” carry-on, so even if you do end up flying other airlines, it should be able to fit in their compartments, too.

Air France: LOJEL Cubo Small

cubo small
Cubo Small — $300.00

Air France Carry-On Size: 21.7 x 14 x 9.8 inches

Bag Dimensions: 20.9 x 14 x 9.8 inches

If you’re flying Air France, the luggage policy is important to consider, as this airline requires a smaller carry-on compared to some of the major airlines in the United States. Air France’s bag policy states that carry-on bags can’t exceed 55 x 35 x 25 centimeters, which amounts to 21.7 x 14 x 9.8 inches. For a bag you don’t have to sweat about, look to the LOJEL Cubo Small. This hardshell luggage is more pint-sized but packs a punch with the most convenient front pocket that folds out on an angle and reveals all of your essentials—including your laptop—stowed away in designated compartments and pockets.

The carry-on is also designed with maximum space in mind, so you can fit everything you need (including your coat) in the cabin. And, in case you buy too many souvenirs, the bag expands at the center by around 1 inch—although, this might mean you’ll need to check it, too.

Emirates: July Carry-On Light

Carry On Light — $245.00

Emirates Carry-On Size: 21.65 x 14.96 x 7.87 inches

Bag Dimensions: 21.25 x 14.25 x 7.5 inches

Similar to Air France, Emirates’ bag policy prefers smaller carry-ons and says to keep bags under 55 x 38 x 20 centimeters, or 21.65 x 14.96 x 7.87 inches. With this in mind, the July Carry-On Light is the perfect fit. Measuring at 21.25 x 14.25 x 7.5 inches, this bag is built for world travel with its strong German polycarbonate shell and water-resistant and stain-proof lining. The bag also has heavy-duty PVC hinges and trim, which adds to the overall durability factor. Another fantastic thing about July carry-on bags, in general, is that they have a lifetime warranty on manufacturing faults, and they offer personalization, making this bag an excellent gift idea for travelers (or the perfect splurge for yourself).

Spirit Airlines: CALPAK Hue Mini Carry-On Luggage

calpak mini
Hue Mini Carry-On Luggage — $149.00

Spirit Airlines Carry-On Size: 22 x 18 x 10 inches

Bag Dimensions: 16 x 14 x 8 inches

When traveling on Spirit Airlines, it’s ultra-important to consider the carry-on policy, as not every plane will fit a carry-on and, sometimes, a carry-on bag might not even be allowed, depending on your ticket. Additionally, Spirit Airlines’ bag policy says some carry-on bags—even if they meet the allotted 22 x 18 x 10-inch requirements—might not fit on a particular plane. If this is the case, the airline will require you to check your carry-on bag. While a budget-friendly ticket can surely make up for this, you still want to make sure your bag will fit on the plane.

For the best carry-on luggage for Spirit Airlines, we like to play it safe with the CALPAK Hue Mini Carry-On Luggage. Small but mighty, this bag meets the requirements of Spirit Airlines’ personal item dimensions, which means you’ll likely have an easier time traveling. In addition to its small size, the CALPAK carry-on luggage is supremely organized with tons of compartments for in-flight essentials, plus enough room to pack a small fanny bag or crossbody bag inside. The bag also features a hardshell, giving it tons of durability, and comes in a variety of beautiful shades to keep your travel aesthetic on point.

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