How to Measure Luggage for Airline Travel

Luggage can't exceed specific requirements for size or weight, or you will be required to pay an additional fee.  But how exactly do you measure your luggage?  Measuring your baggage properly and knowing the dimensions before you leave for the airport can eliminate the nasty oversize and overweight fees that airlines impose.  You can avoid paying these extra charges by taking the time to learn how to measure a suitcase for airline travel properly.

Measuring a Suitcase:

  1. Use a tape measure and place it on one side of the luggage and run it across the front to the other side.  Do this to measure the length, width and height of your suitcase and write down the numbers in inches, not feet or cm.  Airlines use total inches to determine maximum allowable luggage size.

  2. When meauring the suitcase height, make sure to measure the suitcase from the floor to the top of the bag, not just from the bottom of the bag to the top of the bag.  Wheels and protruding handles are included when taking these measurements.  Do not make the mistake of not including the wheels and handles!

  3. If your suitcase has expandable outer pockets and those pockets will be filled while travel is taking place, make sure to take the measurements when the pockets are full.  If you are over by even one inch, the airlines will charge you the oversize fee.  Do not overlook expandable pockets. 

  4. Weigh your luggage after you pack it.  If it is too heavy, you will be charged overweight fee. You can do this by simply standing on a bathroom scale.  We suggest you first step on the scale yourself and record your weight.  Step off, grab the suitcase and step back on the scale.  Subtract the difference and you have your weight of your bag.  We prefer this method over weighing your bag by itself.

Overweight and oversize baggage fees are the most expensive fees that airlines impose.  Not that anybody wants to pay any baggage fees, but you should do your best to avoid these in particular.  Make sure to measure your baggage properly and prepare yourself the best way you can before you get to the airlines.