How to measure dimensions-checked luggage?

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#1
Bartlett, TN (Memphis area)
274 Posts
Joined May 2004
If I meaure the storage piece of my roller bag, the size is okay for checking on Northwest Airlines (maximum of 62 linear inches). If I add the additional length cause by the wheels protruding from the bottom of the bag, I get over 62 total linear inches. If I get measured when checking this piece of luggage, will if make it without penalty (assuming weight is okay)?

Anyone had any experience with this?
#2
3,022 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
No experience with length but do watch your depth as well. We traveled on Air Tran last week and all of our bags were too deep. Fortunately, they were expanded so we were able to zip up and reduce the depth. Another person wasn't fortunate and he had to pay $29 extra. That was a first for us.
#3
more or less in TX
10,418 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
the wheels do count in the measurement.

With many airlines struggling to bring in every last dollar of revenue, you are running the risk of having to check that roller bag.

The ticket agents aren't doing most of the checking on carry on bags.

The stop/gate is the person who checks your boarding pass before you get into the TSA line. At that point if your bag is judged too big, you have to give up your place in that line and go back to the line to check in your baggage with the airline.

Often these days this is a very slow line.
#4
Bartlett, TN (Memphis area)
274 Posts
Joined May 2004
The piece of luggage I'm concerned with is fairly rigid, but will bulge in the middle if over-packed.

I finally found a related thread in deep into my search:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...hlight=luggage

This bag is right on the borderline. Take the wheels into account and its over 62 inches (length plus width plus height); don't measure the wheels and its okay. My guess is that NWA would check it as within the no extra fee guidelines...
#5
Alabama
72 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
I had this exact same concern with my bag that has a handle that stuck out too far. I went to the airport the other day just to ask the baggage collectors at my airline, and they took one glance at the bag, and said "Oh that's no problem!" Just to be safe I asked a few more agents of other airlines and they said it was fine! Also, take into account when you are packing that your bag isn't 0 pounds when it is empty. We were surprised to the find that our suitcase was almost 15 pounds before we added anything in it! Hope this helps!
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#6
more or less in TX
10,418 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Replace that suitcase that weights 15 pounds empty! That is not a good suitcase in the modern world.

As I stated above it is not the airline employees who judge the size of carry on bags. It is the person/people who stop you on your way to the TSA line to check your boading pass and sometimes your ID (sometimes another person checks your ID).

These people have absolute authority to turn you and your bag away. If you have already waited in the checking baggage line once, I'm sure you don't want to do it again.

At some airports these people are very fierce and determined. At extremely busy airports they seem to send back many people for having over sized bags.
#7
Bartlett, TN (Memphis area)
274 Posts
Joined May 2004
Originally posted by PennyAgain
the wheels do count in the measurement.

...
The ticket agents aren't doing most of the checking on carry on bags.

The stop/gate is the person who checks your boarding pass before you get into the TSA line. At that point if your bag is judged too big, you have to give up your place in that line and go back to the line to check in your baggage with the airline.

Often these days this is a very slow line.
Thanks, but I'm concerned with checked luggage, not carry-on. I understand the wheels for carry-on since they may not fit correctly in the overhead compartments or under the seat.
#8
more or less in TX
10,418 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Sorry, I get your question. Senior moment!

For checked baggage I think they will give you a bit of slack, just don't overpack.

I've never seen a check in agent with a tape measure.

On a recent trip the airline baggage handlers broke my suitcase. I'm in the hunt for a new one....again.

Thus I recommend those band things to keep your suitcase closed. If I hadn't had one on my suitcase, I think all my stuff would have been lost for good.
#9
Florida
2,424 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Originally posted by day-day
Thanks, but I'm concerned with checked luggage, not carry-on. I understand the wheels for carry-on since they may not fit correctly in the overhead compartments or under the seat.
Most airlines are cracking down on oversize carry-ons to (and it's about time) and making people put the bag in the bin, if it doesn't fit in the bin, down in the luggage hold it goes.
As far as oversize checked luggage, the gate agents visually look at a bag then decide whether or not to pull out a ruler, it really depends what kind of mood he or she is in that day. You may get lucky or you may not be lucky, be prepared to pay the oversize fee if it is oversize or overweight.
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#10
3,022 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Originally posted by PennyAgain
Sorry, I get your question. Senior moment!

For checked baggage I think they will give you a bit of slack, just don't overpack.

I've never seen a check in agent with a tape measure.

On a recent trip the airline baggage handlers broke my suitcase. I'm in the hunt for a new one....again.

Thus I recommend those band things to keep your suitcase closed. If I hadn't had one on my suitcase, I think all my stuff would have been lost for good.
I'm not positive but based on our last experience (when all of our bags were too deep) it appeared as if the measuring guide was on the agent side. He seemed to be comparing it to the inside side of the weight platform when he announced the bags were too deep. He wasn't using a ruler or tape. Unfortunately I think the airlines are trying to generate revenue any way possible. I also think they are auditing the check in agents. Two of our bags were in the 45-49 pound range and the agent put a tag with the weight on each bag to indicate that they had been weighed and were within the limit.
#11
Bartlett, TN (Memphis area)
274 Posts
Joined May 2004
debmarie,
What is the depth of the baggage? Seems like if varies on how the luggage is sitting. Does Airtran inisist that one of the 3 diminsions of the checked luggage has to be less than a certain length (or depth)?

I looked at Airtran's website and for checked baggage, the limit is based on total inches just like NWA except the total must be 61 inches or less. This takes into account the length, height, and depth as a total.

For carry-on baggage, there is maximum on total linear inches and also a statement that the items must fit under the seat or in the overhead bin.
#12
3,022 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Originally posted by day-day
debmarie,
What is the depth of the baggage? Seems like if varies on how the luggage is sitting. Does Airtran inisist that one of the 3 diminsions of the checked luggage has to be less than a certain length (or depth)?

I looked at Airtran's website and for checked baggage, the limit is based on total inches just like NWA except the total must be 61 inches or less. This takes into account the length, height, and depth as a total.

For carry-on baggage, there is maximum on total linear inches and also a statement that the items must fit under the seat or in the overhead bin.
No clue where that came from. It was at DFW that we had trouble. I am positive that he told us the bags were too deep but I can't remember the exact size...possibly 16 inches. Incidentally we have traveled many, many times with this exact luggage and have never been questioned. This was my first trip with Air Tran. I got home and checked their website and it doesn't reference depth at all. If I travel with them again, I will print out the baggage policy and bring along a tape measure. There were three of us so the charge would have been almost 180.00 round trip. I would certainly be protesting the charge if I had paid it.
#13
Alabama
72 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
When I said that I went to the airport to check the size of my bags, I was checking the size of the checked bag. The TSA does not tell you your checked bags are too big, at least not in any airport that I have been in. By the time the TSA sends your checked bags through the scanner, you have already paid any extra fees you would have had to pay at the airline counter. You give your bag to the airline agent, who puts it on the scale. Also, many sturdy bags weigh 10-15 pounds empty. That is not uncommon, and I much rather have a more sturdy bag, that a fabric duffle bag that will rip open the moment a luggage guy throws it on the plane!
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#15
6,810 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by tgfSunshine
How do you measure your luggage. And what happens if it doesnt come in that requirement size then what?
Use a tape measure. If it's oversized, you may be able to check it anyway, by paying an exorbitant fee for oversized/overweight luggage. That fee of course, would be in addition to the basic checked bag fee.
YMMV, but in my experience, if one is taking a suitcase that is so big as to exceed the 62" rule, it is most likely going to be overweight anyway, so worrying about something like "it's 62" if you don't count the wheels, will that be ok?" is a moot point.
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#17
London
21,901 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by tgfSunshine
How do you measure your luggage.
The most accurate way is also slightly fiddly. You need a stiff board (like a piece of wood, or very stiff cardboard).

Put your luggage on the floor. Put the board on top of the luggage, keeping it exactly parallel to the floor. Measure the distance between the floor and the underside of the board with a tape measure. That will be a pretty accurate measurement of that dimension.

Repeat for each of the other two dimensions.
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#18
more or less in TX
10,418 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
That's a good idea for doing the measuring!

Recently I've noticed especially at DFW that the people checking in baggage are not in the mood to give a little latitude. In the above post I mentioned that I needed to buy a new bag.

Well I bought a 25 inch bag from Ebags which has lasted all this time although it doesn't look nice any more.

Fully packed for a 2 week long trip it weights 37 pounds. That is all I can manage on my own.
#19
London
21,901 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by PennyAgain
Recently I've noticed especially at DFW that the people checking in baggage are not in the mood to give a little latitude.
Sometimes it's not really a question of being "in the mood". Increasingly, airlines are using technology to make sure that all of the fees are collected.

So, for example, an airline may have the scales connected to the check-in computer, with the computer set up so that if a bag weighs more than the allowance, either a credit card must be swiped for the fee or an explanation entered by the check-in agent (whose identity is of course recorded) before the computer will check-in the bag and print the bag tag.

When every override or non-collection could result in you having to explain yourself to management, you wouldn't often be "in the mood" to let heavy bags go.
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