One-size-fits all does not apply to carry-on bags among different airlines. While most are similar, each airline has slightly different dimensions for its free allowance of carry-on bags. Don’t be surprised at the gate by being forced to check your bag and avoid extra fees by getting the right carry-on bag for your airline of choice.

Free Carry-On Bags for Each Airline

As a general rule, carry-on bags can be up to a maximum of 22 x 14 x 9 inches and usually don’t have a stated weight limit for U.S. airlines. However, some airlines charge extra for any bags larger than a small personal item, which is generally limited to 18 x 14 x 8 inches. While adhering to these general guidelines will likely not cause issues on any airline, each carrier has slightly different specifications and if you come across a particularly strict gate agent, you may want to be on the safe side.

Best Carry-On Bag for Alaska Airlines

Free carry-on size limit: 22” x 14” x 9” with no published weight limit.

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Eagle Creek Expanse Carry-On

In 2018, Alaska Airlines reduced its generous carry-on size limit to fall in line with the rest of the legacy carriers in the U.S. Coming in just under the new restrictions, the Eagle Creek Expanse carry-on bag will fit like a glove. And it’s a heavy-duty bag that can withstand the Alaskan weather (or wherever you decide to fly on Alaska Airlines).

  • Amazon User Review: “Great bag. Bought it to fit the lowering size requirements of the airlines.
  • Price: Starting at $180.68 on Amazon
  • Average Star Rating: 4.5

Best Carry-On Bag for Allegiant Airlines

Free carry-on size limit: 16” x 15” x 7” (personal item) with no published weight limit. Allegiant charges a fee for a standard-sized carry-on bag up to 22” x 14” x 9”.

boarding-blue-allegiant-air-rolling-free-personal-item-under-seat

Boarding Blue Allegiant Air Rolling Free Personal Item Under Seat Bag

This bag from Boarding Blue was specifically designed to fit the dimensions of Allegiant Airlines’ free personal item. It comes in black or navy and even has a couple small pockets for your passport and smaller accessories.

  • Amazon User Review: “Shocked at how much I could fit in this bag which as described is perfect for Allegiant!
  • Price: Starting at $68.85 on Amazon
  • Average Star Rating: 4.8

Related: The 10 Best Underseat Carry-On Bags for Basic Economy


Best Carry-On Bag for American Airlines

Free carry-on size limit: 22” x 14” x 9” with no published weight limit.

american-tourister-stratum-xlt-expandable-hardside-luggage

American Tourister Stratum XLT Expandable Hardside Luggage

This spinner from American Tourister fits the dimensions (and name) of American Airlines perfectly. It’s a hard shell so it can withstand the baggage handlers should you need to gate check your bag on a smaller regional jet. And if you need a little extra room, it is can be expanded.

  • Amazon User Review: “This carry-on actually fits the airline requirements, in contrast with many other suitcases that are larger than the written dimensions. The inside volume is quite large for such a small suitcase.
  • Price: Starting at $83.61 on Amazon
  • Average Star Rating: 4.3

Best Carry-On Bag for Delta

Free carry-on size limit: 22” x 14” x 9” with no published weight limit (except for flights departing SIN, PEK, and PVG; 15-22 pounds).

osprey-packs-farpoint-fairfiew-40-travel-backpack

Osprey Packs Farpoint / Fairview 40 Travel Backpack

These backpacks are the perfect carry-on bags for those who like to maximize space with the most mobility. The Farpoint bag is designed for men and the Fairview is catered to women. Both bags come with a laptop sleeve, padded handles, and straps that can be zipped up when desired. But you’ll rarely need to check this bag at all. Since there are no wheels, it still fits in the smaller overhead bins of most regional jets.

  • Amazon User Review: “This bag is worth every penny you will spend. Let me begin by saying this is the perfect size for carry on in regional/business/commercial aircraft. I was able to fit this easily into overheads on a CRJ-900, -700, EMB 145, 777LR, and A340-600.
  • Price: Starting at $119.95 on Amazon
  • Average Star Rating: 4.7

Best Carry-On Bag for Frontier Airlines

Free carry-on size limit: 18” x 14” x 8” (personal item) with no published weight limit. Frontier charges a fee for a standard-sized carry-on bag up to 24” x 16” x 10” with a weight limit of 35 pounds.

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Point Coast 18x14x8 Personal Item Under Seat Travel Carry On

The right size bag when flying an ultra-low-cost carrier such as Frontier Airlines. This stylish pack doesn’t skimp on organization or space either. There are lots of pockets including a laptop holder and even an inside mesh pocket for laundry. The hidden zippered pocket on the back of the bag is great to keep valuables safe.

  • Amazon User Review: “I used this bag for a trip to Florida for 5 days using Frontier. I was able to get 4 days of clothes, one pair of shoes and my toiletries.”
  • Price: Starting at $39.99 on Amazon
  • Average Star Rating: 4.2

And if you decide to pay extra for a larger carry-on bag on Frontier, take advantage of its larger than normal size restriction and splurge on Samsonite Winfield 2 Expandable Hardside Carry-On with Spinner Wheels.

Best Carry-On Bag for Hawaiian Airlines

Free carry-on size limit: 22” x 14” x 9” with a 25-pound weight limit.

it-luggage-22-worlds-lightest-8-wheel-spinner

IT Luggage 22” World’s Lightest 8 Wheel Spinner

Claiming to be the lightest bag in the world, this carry-on bag will allow you to pack enough and still stay under Hawaiian Airlines’ 25-pound weight limit for hand luggage. It weighs just 4.07 lbs. thanks to its fiberglass frame. Purchase a purple one and blend in with Hawaiian Airlines’ color scheme or choose from 7 other colors.

  • Amazon User Review: “This is as advertised. Light weight and moves smoothly thru airplane aisles.”
  • Price: Starting at $79.89 on Amazon
  • Average Star Rating: 4.4

Best Carry-On Bag for JetBlue

Free carry-on size limit: 22” x 14” x 9” with no published weight limit.

nautica-ahoy-hardside-expandable-4-wheeled-luggage

Nautica Ahoy Hardside Expandable 4-Wheeled 21-inch Carry-On

You’ll fit right in with JetBlue’s carry-on restrictions when rolling this 4-wheel spinner from Nautica on board. With several color schemes available, you can even match the plane you’ll be flying. The interior has double compartments to protect your clothes from other items, such as shoes, that you may wish to store inside.

  • Amazon User Review: “This suitcase is a great value and is the perfect size for a carry on bag. It's sturdy and maneuvers easily. The wheels work independently & in any direction.
  • Price: Starting at $68.50 on Amazon
  • Average Star Rating: 4.2

Related: JetBlue Introduced Basic Economy Fares to Fall in Line with Competitors


Best Carry-On Bag for Southwest Airlines

Free carry-on size limit: 24” x 16” x 10” with no published weight limit.

coollife-luggage-expandable-carry-on-suitcase

Coolife Luggage Expandable Carry On Suitcase

Southwest includes 2 free checked bags with any ticket you purchase and if you don’t feel like checking a bag, carry-on restrictions are more lenient than other major U.S. airlines. Check out this Coollife spinner bag that is technically too large for travel on most other airlines, but will fit the Southwest bag sizers. It comes with a 2-year warranty and an included TSA lock to keep your belongings safe.

  • Amazon User Review: “Love it! Perfect size for carry on. Fits everything I need for a 4 day getaway and I love the wheels. It allows me to push the suitcase instead of pulling it by the handle and feeling all the weight.”
  • Price: Starting at $59.99 on Amazon
  • Average Star Rating: 4.6 

Best Carry-On Bag for Spirit Airlines

Free carry-on size limit: 18” x 14” x 8” (personal item). Spirit charges a fee for a standard-sized carry-on bag up to 22” x 18” x 10” with no published weight limit.

ulgoo-travel-tote-bag-carry-on

Ulgoo Travel Tote Bag Carry On

A great duffel bag from Ulgoo. If you’re trying to pack as much as possible in a bag small enough to fit personal item dimensions on Spirit, the less pockets the better. This tote measures just under Spirit’s limits so you can even overstuff it slightly and you’ll be safe if asked to place it in the bag sizer during boarding. Choose from several different styles so you can look good on your one-bag adventure.

  • Amazon User Review: “This travel bag is awesome. It is the perfect size for a carry-on or personal item when flying and it fits a LOT of stuff! Alone, it has enough space for weekend.”
  • Price: Starting at $35.99 on Amazon
  • Average Star Rating: 4.4 

If you plan to pay a little extra for a normal carry-on sized bag on Spirit, you’ll be able to take a slightly larger bag than what is allowed on the legacy carriers. Try the Samsonite Omni Expandable Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels.

Best Carry-On Bag for Sun Country Airlines

Free carry-on size limit: 17” x 13” x 9” (personal item). Sun Country charges a fee for a standard-sized carry-on bag up to 24” x 16” x 11” with no published weight limit.

veegul-stylish-doctor-style-travel-backpack

Veegul Stylish Doctor Style Travel Backpack

A spacious bag by Hynes Eagle that has style and multiple pockets to boot. Carry this bag on your next Sun Country flight for free and be ready to be called the doctor of cheap flights.

  • Amazon User Review: “The canvas material it’s made of is EXTREMELY good quality. There’s a snap in case you want the handles to stay together. The side pockets are nice and deep- that’s where I stashed my ID while going through security and it stayed at the bottom, but gave me quick access.
  • Price: Starting at $34.99 on Amazon
  • Average Star Rating: 4.5

Feel like splurging on a full-size carry-on bag? You’ll be able to fit more in it than you would on Delta or other major airlines. Sun Country has slightly larger maximum dimensions for its paid carry-on bag, so see if you can squeeze by with this 24” x 12” x 12” wheeled duffle bag from Timberland. Sure, it’s 1-inch over in one dimension, but it’s also 4 inches under in the other so you’ll probably be ok. We won’t tell anyone if you don’t.


Related: 8 Versatile Backpacks That Are Free to Carry On


Best Carry-On Bag for United Airlines

Free carry-on size limit: 17” x 10” x 9” (personal item) for Basic Economy on domestic and short-haul international flights; 22” x “14” x 9” for all standard Economy tickets and transatlantic Basic Economy flights. There isn’t a published weight limit.

16-inch-aerolite-carry-on-hand-luggage-flight-duffel-bag

16 Inch Aerolite Carry On Hand Luggage Flight Duffel Bag

An ultra-light bag that perfectly fits the personal item size limit and will always be free to carry-on when traveling on United’s Basic Economy tickets. With a 19-liter capacity, you’ll be able to fit enough for a long weekend trip or some in-flight essentials to keep under your seat. At just 1.1 lbs., and under $20, this bag won’t break your back or your bank account.

  • Amazon User Review: “It's a very simple bag. Super light. Fits easily under the seat on a plane. It's just the right size for carrying some travel essentials.”
  • Price: Starting at $15.99 on Amazon
  • Average Star Rating: 4

Traveling across the Atlantic or on a standard United Economy ticket? You’ll be allowed to bring a full-sized carry-on bag so why not go with a bag the professionals trust. The Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Rollaboard Luggage fits the bill.

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Product images: Amazon
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