What is the “real” Delta carry-on Size Check maximum size? Here are the tested numbers!

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delta air lines carry-on size check box old sizewise 22-14-9

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Just how large a bag can you bring on-board a Delta jet? Officially, per Delta.com, it tells us that your bag needs to be 22x14x9 (“ish”). Now we know that unofficially you could just about bring a ships steamer truck to the gate at least if you can get it past TSA (as TSA does not really care about your bag size as long as it can fit in a scanner). Sometimes you must get past the hired non-airline “goons” that act as gate keepers of bag sizes about to be brought on-board.

the real width of the size check box from Delta air lines delta points blog 1

Having said that, if you run into the later, having a bag that will fit into the Delta size checker or the old size wise box is a must as then you are good to go and can tell the goons to go pound sand.

the real width of the size check box from Delta air lines delta points blog 2

But just what are the true dimensions of these boxes? Are they really spot on what Delta tells us they are?

zoom in the real size of the delta air lines size check carryon bag check unit delta points blog

They are in fact just a little bigger than advertised as you can tell by these tests with a tape. The real size is much closer to 23x14x10 (the 14 being a line of paint on the unit so I think you could even fudge a bit there and end up OK with 23x15x10 but note the 10 is really more like 9.9!

So when looking at that perfect travel bag, know you have just a little bit of wiggle room of just what will fit into the tester. After this, the best way to avoid checked bag fees is simply to hold a Delta AMEX card (<-LINK)  that can get you up to 9 bags FREE each time you fly! – René



  1. Getting past TSA or Delta is one thing, hitting every passenger seated on the isle is another. In addition, consider the delay closing the cabin doors because numerous “carry on” bags have to be checked at the gate because they don’t fit or the overhead bins are already stuffed full of oversized bags? Please don’t encourage bigger, it is already bad enough. Instead encourage packing less and doing laundry if necessary. I routinely travel 10+ days at a time in one Briggs and Riley International carry on with room to spare. Thanks and normally love your travel tips.

  2. and lets not forget the overhead bin hoggers who must stick everything they own and wear up there causing ZONE 2 to have to check their roller bags very sad last week the FA’s announced do not put but one bag in overhead and WAIT to put coats or small bags up there .. i guess when people get on a plane they do not hear well or AT ALL cause theywere putting their coats hats whtaever up there .. i wish they would really enforce the rules vs FA’s just watching the nightmare of boarding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Am in the market for a new carryon and looked up the Briggs & Reily International carryon. It looks like all the models are 15 1/2″ wide. Isn’t this a problem if they follow the 22x14x9 rules?

  4. Please note also that the true size of a bag depends on the wheels too. It measures from the ground up, not from the actual bottom of the bag above the wheels. I travel with an older
    2-wheel Briggs & Riley with the enclosed wheels. It gives me the extra square inches one gives up using the exposed 4-wheelers. Seems small, but the extra room can be critical when traveling for 2 to 3 weeks.

  5. Am sitting at metro airport Detroit my bags are checked meanwhile 4 women are sitting across from me with LARGE suitcases on an overbooked flight. What I am thinking because they cannot possible fit those overhead they are coo ting on a FREE check in when they go to board. Don’t think that’s appropriate at all

  6. We paid for our check luggage then you let people just carry on over size for free. That’s BS and waste time trying to cram on

  7. Posting this in 2017 in response to the first comment; I think this post is useful for people like myself, who have a carry on suitcase and remember it fitting into the baggage template at the gate three years ago, but read on its website the maximum allowable depth of 9″, then having a minor freakout the day before the flight because your suitcase measures just under 10″.
    Let’s not pretend an additional 0.9″ is going to smack people on the knees as you roll your suitcase down the aisle. I’m all for travelling light, but all the author did was give reassurance to those who want to make sure – not encourage people to stuff the overhead compartments silly.

  8. Airlines should settle on size limits and then work with luggage companies to make sure the fit of “carry-on” bags is less of a guessing game. And, luggage companies should guarantee compliance.

  9. The reason people are trying to maximize their carry-ons is that airlines started charging for the first piece of checked luggage. Its like they didn’t see this coming. Bring back free first checked bag without any special qualifications and the carry on issues will abate.

  10. I usually travel Frontier Airlines they’re carry-on is 24 inches by 16 inches by 10 inches.

    I booked a ticket with Delta Airlines they’re carry-on is 22 inches by 16 in and 9 in do I have to buy a new carry-on to go on Delta?

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