But contrary to many beliefs there isn't an industry standard. Each airline actually has their own requirements in terms of carry-on bag dimension and weight. And they differ greatly. Mainly by weight.
I have put together a little guide, to take the confusion out of carry-on travel. It is important to have this info before choosing an airline to fly with and before leaving the house (with a possible overweight bag).
I have listed airlines that travel from the U.S. to both France and Italy. It is in no way a complete list of all airlines, but more-so the ones with which I am most familiar.
The restrictions listed are for economy class only. Honestly, if your in first class, you probably have no worries about checking bags. In fact, you may not bring bring any baggage and just buy a new wardrobe once you get to your destination. Lucky you.
If I have left one airline out that you know of, or would like me to add a specific airline to the list, please let me know in the comments and I will do my best to update the list and keep it a current, living-breathing document available for you to consult whenever you are considering carry-on only travel.
Restrictions will be different for domestic flights, usually more generous. All weights and measures are provided in Imperial. Inches and pounds.
You can use this site to convert to metric.
In the chart below, bag refers to a carry-on, while pi refers to a personal item, like a purse or laptop bag.
# of Bags Max Dimensions Max Weight
American Airlines 1 bag, 1 pi L + W+ H = 45 in. 40 lbs
Air France 1 bag, 1 pi 22 x 14 x 10 26 lbs
Alitalia 1 bag, 1 pi 18 x 14 x 10 11 lbs
British Airways 1 bag, 1 pi 22 x 18 x 10 13 lbs
Continental 1 bag, 1 pi 22 x 14 x 9 none listed
Delta 1 bag, 1 pi 22 x 14 x 9 40 lbs
Eurofly 1 bag L+ W + H = 45 in. 11 lbs
KLM 1 bag, 1 pi 22 x 14 x 10 22 lbs
Luftansa 1 bag, 1 pi 20 x 16 x 8 18 lbs
Northwest 1 bag, 1 pi L + W+ H = 45 in 40 lbs
Swiss Air 1 bag L + W + H = 45 in. 18 lbs
United 1 bag, 1 pi L + W + H = 45 in. none listed
US Airways 1 bag, 1 pi* 26 x 14 x 11 40 lbs
Virgin Atlantic 1 bag 22 x 14 x 9 13 lbs
* US Airways actually restricts the dimensions of your personal item to 21L x 16W x 8H.
The information contained here was current when published. However, we all know the
airlines change their policies like you change your underwear- so for the most up to date
information, I suggest you consult an airline's website directly.
Don't forget to check out Cherrye's Travel Tips today!