A Few Inches Make All The Difference (For Bag Size)

by joeheg

Size matters. Especially when dealing with something as important as the dimensions of your carry-on bag. With passengers not wanting to check luggage because of cost and the possibility of the airlines losing their stuff, people are trying to bring as much as they can with them on the plane. Because of this, airlines are strict about the size and number of items you can bring with you. It’s crucial to have a bag that’ll fit in the airline’s sizing device. Here’s a link showing the current size bags allowed on many airlines.

Since airlines are looking for any way possible to get more money from you, collecting fees to gate check a “too big” bag for the overhead bins is easy money. We’ve even come across gate agents who claimed our bags were too large, when they most certainly were not. See, it fits just fine.


You’ll see websites telling you their bags are “carry-on approved” or “fits in the overhead bin.” Don’t believe them. I’ll share a story of how Sharon and I learned the hard way that 22 inches doesn’t necessarily mean EXACTLY 22 inches.

Sharon loved her full-size Victorinox suitcase so much that she purchased a matching carry-on bag that perfectly fit her needs—the Victorinox Nxt 5.0 Mobilizer 22-inch.


Having stated dimensions of 22 “H  x 14″ W x 9” D, it’s the exact size most domestic U.S. airlines say you can bring as a carry-on. We were proud of our purchase until we went on our first flight. I went to put the bag in the overhead compartment and the door wouldn’t close. I mean it closed if I put the bag in sideways but that’s not why we bought a bag that was the proper size. Depending on the airline, I could put the bag wheels out and it would fit. We took the bag to a sizer and found the bag wouldn’t fit. The bag was the right dimensions, but only if you didn’t count the wheels.


Notice how the wheels stick out under the bag as well as in the back a bit? This was just enough to make the bag “non-regulation.” The bag is wonderful but it was too much of a pain to risk having to gate-check it if we ran up against the wrong airline employee. We now only use it for road trips.

When we were doing research, I picked up a new bag for myself. I read travel blogs and message boards where people were saying how great TravelPro bags are. When picking the size,  I played it safe and got the 20-inch bag. The bag I purchased was the Crew 9 version, which has since been discontinued. I love this bag and it’s as great as everyone said. To replace her new bag, Sharon decided to get the updated Crew 10 – 20-inch Expandable Business Plus Rollaboard (also no longer available – this was a couple of years ago).IMG_5955.jpg

This bag’s dimensions are listed at 20 H x 14 W x 9 D. Several reviewers on Amazon give slightly different “real world” dimensions of  21 1/4 x 14 x 9 1/2. The wheel design is the most important thing for getting this bag to fit in the “sizer.”


See how the wheels are built into the side of the case? This makes you lose a little bit of storage space, but wheels or handles sticking out are the main reason bags do not fit the sizing requirements. I noticed the problem of my version 9 bag tipping forward was fixed on this version with those little feet things.

The newest version of this bag is the Crew VersaPack Global Carry-on Expandable Rollaboard which also has compatible packing cubes.

I love having carry-on bags that perfectly fit the overhead bins and take up the least amount of space possible.

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