The best carry-on bag for every airline

Small Travel Bags

If your airline will only allow you to bring aboard a bag that you can stow under your seat, opting for a backpack is the best option.

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Which carry-on bag is best for airlines?

Wondering which carry-on bag to take on your next adventure? There are a couple of things to consider depending not only on your personal needs but also on the carry-on requirements of the airline you’re flying with. 

Most of them respect the standard rule for carry-on luggage, i.e., one laptop bag, purse or similar small bag, and one carry-on, measuring no more than 22 by 14 by 9 inches and weighing around 40 pounds. However, if you’re flying basic economy, some airlines don’t allow carry-on luggage. 

Read on to discover what you need to know before buying a carry-on suitcase or a backpack, and get familiar with several products that fit the cabin space perfectly.

Which airlines have different rules for carry-on luggage?

While American Airlines, Delta, United, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines adhere to the general 22-by-14-by-9-inch rule, a few notable airlines have smaller dimensions for their carry-on luggage. For instance, Southwest Airlines’ dimensions for carry-on luggage are smaller at 10 by 16 by 24 inches, and Spirit Airlines’ dimensions are 18 by 14 by 8 inches. 

What to look for in a good carry-on suitcase  

Suitcases for carry-on 

Most luggage sets will come with a smaller, carry-on-sized suitcase specifically meant to be taken into the cabin. These are versatile little bags that can be maneuvered with ease through the airport thanks to their wheels and handle. As with their larger counterparts, carry-on suitcases will come in a soft-side and hard-side variety. 

The key to finding a good suitcase that you can use as a carry-on is finding one made from a lightweight material, such as the Samsonite Omni carry-on suitcase. 

Hard-side vs. soft-side suitcases for carry-on 

With carry-on luggage, you don’t necessarily need a hard-side suitcase for extra protection, as you will most likely be the only person handling your bag throughout your travels. However, having a hard-side suitcase to take with you aboard does have its benefits.

Hard-side suitcases will be easier to store in the overhead bins inside the cabin since they won’t lose their shape or expand with their contents. Hard-side suitcases will also give you more peace of mind in the event that you need to check your bag at the gate due to an overcrowded flight. 

What to look for in a good carry-on backpack 

Since most airlines don’t charge for carry-on luggage, finding a carry-on bag that is size-efficient and versatile enough to carry all of your essentials can save you money in the long run. Particularly, backpacks are a great option as most of them not only adhere to the carry-on dimensions, but also they can double as a laptop bag and can fit a lot of clothes.

They are also very convenient in the airport. Since you’ll have to carry them around on your back, your hands will be free for handling documents and money. 

Which backpack is best as a carry-on? 

The Tortuga Outbreaker 45L is an amazing bag to use as a carry-on for a couple of key reasons. This bag is designed for organized travelers that want to take advantage of their free carry-on luggage to save money. 

The Tortuga Outbreaker can fit more than a weeks’ worth of clothes as well as any other traveling essentials such as your tech and laptop. In addition, it comes with many different pockets and compartments for organizing accessories, documents and chargers. 

What you need to buy as a carry-on bag 

Have a glance at some of the coveted carry-on pieces of luggage.

Samsonite Omni

Samsonite Omni

There’s a reason why Samsonite is a standard name in luggage. This is a great suitcase for carry-on with its durable hard-side design. Its dimensions are 22 by 15 by 9.5 inches, so it will work great for airlines like American, Delta and United. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Tortuga Outbreaker 45L

Tortuga Outbreaker 45L

This bag is highly recommended for frequent flyers that like to stay organized. It is a front-opening backpack, so you won’t have to go digging through your clothes every time you need something. Its dimensions are 22 by 14 by 9 inches — in line with all major airlines’ requirements.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Nomatic Luggage- Carry-On Pro

Nomatic Luggage- Carry-On Pro

This hard-side bag from Nomatic is designed for carry-on and is made to make your trip easier with its organized compartments. It works great for trips from 1-3 days.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Tortuga Setout Divide 26L

Tortuga Setout Divide 26L

This backpack is similar to the Tortuga Outbreaker except in a smaller design. Much like the Outbreaker, it packs like a suitcase to help keep you organized. This bag is great when traveling with airlines like Frontier, Southwest and Spirit, which have smaller carry-on requirements. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Spinner Wheel Luggage

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Spinner Wheel Luggage

This spinner suitcase is designed for carry-on and works great for shorter trips. It comes in both a 19-inch and 21-inch model that both work great on board. If your airline requires a smaller carry-on, then opt for the smaller model. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade 

Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade

This stylish hard-side suitcase is great for business trips, both short and long. It is very durable and spacious to fit everything you need. Its dimensions are 22 by 14 by 9 inches, making it a perfect fit for most major airlines. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Eagle Creek Gear Warrior Backpack Duffel Bag

Eagle Creek Gear Warrior Backpack Duffel Bag

A great carry-on backpack that is as durable as it is versatile. The Gear Warrior is a duffel bag that you can carry on your back like a backpack. It’s a breeze to carry it around in the airport, and it will fit the overhead lockers on most airplanes. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Addison Hoggard writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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