Carry-on luggage trouble
If you’ve flown recently, you know how expensive it can be to check your luggage. Carrying on your bag will help you avoid the fees and save you time. But as Consumer Reports discovered, it’s flyer beware.
The maximum dimensions for a carry-on for most American-based airlines is 14 inches by 22 inches by 9 inches. But not all bags truly measure up. Consumer Reports put eleven bags to the test, measuring each one several times with laser precision. Nine of the eleven were bigger than their manufacturers claimed, including ones from American Tourister, Samsonite, TravelPro, and Victorinox.
Consumer Reports found that many manufacturers don’t count factors that affect the dimensions of a bag, like the wheels and the handles. But the expectation is that when you buy a carry-on bag, it’s going to fit in an overhead bin.
Take the Tumi Alpha-2 Frequent Traveler. The manufacturer says it’s a carry-on, and testers found the measurements on the tag to be accurate. But it is still several inches too large to be carried onto most airlines.
To help avoid a problem, Consumer Reports suggests measuring a bag yourself before you buy it, and don’t forget to include the handle and the wheels. And pack with care, particularly outside pockets. Overstuffed can easily become oversized. Because one thing is universal: If it doesn’t fit, you must check it.
Consumer Reports also recommends checking with your airline. Some, like Spirit Air, charge fees even for carry-ons, and those fees can increase. Paying for a carry-on when you buy your ticket will cost you $26, but if you end up checking that same bag at the gate, the airline will charge you $100.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars and trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.