Does Carry-On Size Include Wheels?

Bringing carry-ons for travel is great, but a lot of people are confused about luggage sizes and if airlines do include the wheels in the dimensions. We've looked into this issue and in this post, we'll talk about carry-on sizes, restrictions, and if wheels do matter when you are bringing your carry-on.

The standard carry-on sizes that most airlines allow for domestic travel is 22x4x9 inches, including the handle and the wheels. International carry-on sizes do tend to be a little bit smaller, so make sure that your carry-on measures 21 inches or less.

Knowing about specific luggage size restrictions can be confusing, especially if they are different for domestic and international flights. In this post, we'll be sharing with you the correct and allowed sizes you can bring to your flight, as well as the number of bags that you can carry onboard so keep scrolling!

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Does Carry-On Size Include Wheels?

Vacation time is fast approaching, and you're probably raring to go start packing your stuff. If you're going for a quick trip, you're probably thinking of bringing a carry-on with you. These bags are easy to carry and it saves you the hassle of lining up to check in your bags at the airport.

However, compared to checked bags, carry-ons have more restrictions imposed upon them due to limited space in the overhead bins. You'll also have to share the space with other passengers, which is why carry-ons have size requirements. Everyone's hand luggage should be able to fit in the space.

Most airlines allow a standard carry-on size of 22x14x9 inches for domestic travel. International travel, however, allows different sizes, depending on the airlines. Typically though, the standard carry-on size for international travel is 21.7x15.7x8 inches.

Two stylish suitcases standing in empty airport hall, unrecognizable traveller's luggage waiting in terminal, creative banner

To be on the safe side and for purposes of practicality, do check that your carry-on bags measure less than 21 inches. This way, you can take your carry-on luggage to either a domestic flight or an international flight without any issues.

For both domestic and international flights, the dimensions stated for their carry-on bags both include the handle and the wheels. Before purchasing your carry-on bags, make sure to check the overall dimensions to ensure that you won't go over the usual sizes that airlines allow.

It is worth noting though that bag measurement are typically done by placing the bag on a metal container to see if the bag fits. Sometimes, they don't check as long as they know it's about the right size for cabin luggage. While there are restrictions in place, it isn't as strict as most people think it is.

What Is The Best Carry-On Bag?

Man with shoulder bag and hand luggage walking in airport terminal

Everyone has a different opinion on the best carry-on bag that they can carry. It all varies depending on what they plan to pack, what their activities are, and how they're planning to bring it. Most people prefer using suitcases as their carry-on bags, but there are some who prefer backpacks and duffles.

Rolling suitcases are great as carry-ons because they are easy to maneuver around while traveling. You also don't have to carry the weight unlike backpacks or duffle bags, as rolling suitcases have wheels. They can also hold more items than your average carry-on, and you need all that space when traveling.

Laptop Compartment

Some carry-on suitcases have the added functionality of having a laptop compartment. This compartment completely eliminates the need to bring a separate laptop bag, which can be cumbersome to carry around.

Most carry-ons with a laptop compartment are hardshell suitcases, with an expandable front compartment that can hold your electronics. These bags are great for short trips, especially for individuals in the corporate world who frequently travel with their laptops.

Get this hardside suitcase with laptop compartment on Amazon.


On occasion, you might need the extra space when you are packing for a trip. Maybe you have some souvenirs you'd like to bring back, or you've done a little shopping during your trip. Some carry-ons are expandable and you can bring home more items on your flight back.

Check out this expandable carry-on on Amazon.

Multiple Front Pockets

One of the things you have to consider when packing for your carry-on is the possibility of getting inspected by the TSA. As a rule, the TSA requires that liquids should be packed in a separate bag, and this is usually inspected at the checkpoints.

Make your life a lot easier by using carry-on suitcases that have front pockets. This way, you won't have to open your entire suitcase to get the quart-sized bag whenever it is asked for an inspection.

Get this softside luggage on Amazon.

The multiple front pockets are also great for keeping small items. Depending on the kind of suitcase that you have, these pockets can help you carry around travel items like documents and other similar paraphernalia.

Hardside Suitcases

These carry-ons are suitcases that you will most commonly find and are being popularly used by many travelers. Hardside suitcases are known for their durability and ease of use. One of the benefits of using hardside over softside suitcases is their ability to hold things in place and not look overstuffed.

See this hardside luggage on Amazon.

Most hardside suitcases fall within the dimensions of the carry-ons that all major airlines allow. To get the best deal when shopping for suitcases, consider getting a set that includes a carry-on along with medium and large-sized luggage that you can use for travels.

Backpacks and Duffles

If you are not keen on bringing wheeled luggage or you prefer to carry your bags around, then the perfect carry-on for you would be backpacks and duffles. Most travelers like backpacks because the straps help distribute the weight. However, some people like duffle bags because of the space.

Just like wheeled suitcases, backpacks and duffles also fall within the size restrictions of carry-on bags. Since they don't have wheels, backpacks and duffles do tend to be a lot bigger compared to the wheeled luggage on board.

If you are looking for a backpack that will fall easily within the size restrictions, a 40-L backpack should fit your needs. Some backpacks meant for airline travel are also expandable, which is great if you are bringing in extra items when you're heading back home.

Get this 40-L backpack on Amazon.

For duffle bags, most of them do fit within the restrictions of different airlines. However, one thing that you shouldn't forget is not to overpack your duffle bags as the airlines may consider these too heavy for the overhead bins.

Check out this duffle bag on Amazon.

How Many Bags Can I Hand Carry?

Carry-on luggage on the top shelf over head on airplane, passenger put bag cabin compartment

Depending on the airlines, passengers are typically allowed to bring on board one carry-on bag and a personal item. A personal item is generally a small bag like a purse, laptop bag, diaper bag, or camera case. These items should be small enough to be stowed safely and securely under the seat.

Most airlines are not strict when it comes to the personal items that passengers carry. However, for everyone's benefit, airlines typically restrict these personal items to sizes 17 inches or smaller. Any bigger than this and they might consider it as a carry-on.

Final Thoughts

woman and suitcase trolley luggage in airport, People and lifestyles concept

Pack light for your travels by bringing a carry-on suitcase that can carry all your items for a short trip. When traveling, always remember to use a carry-on that fits within the size restrictions of your airline, including the wheels and handles. This way, you won't run the risk of having to send your bag for check-in.