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I've got a flight coming up on a CRJ-200. I know this is a smaller plane — is there room in the overhead bin for a rollaboard? I usually prefer to fly with carry-on luggage, even paying the upgrade so that I can be sure to be first on the plane and more likely to get overhead bin space. I don't want to pay the extra money if there isn't space.

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4 Answers 4

No, a standard 22" rollaboard suitcase won't fit in a CRJ overhead bin.

In my experience, most airlines that fly the CRJ and similarly sized regional aircraft use a "gate check" system: luggage that is of "carry-on size" (i.e. would fit in a larger airliner's bin) but doesn't actually fit in the bin on the aircraft in use will be taken from you at the gate, put in the plane's cargo bin, and returned to you at the gate after landing. You won't need to check it at the ticket counter or claim it at the carousel.

However, this means that priority boarding gains you nothing as far as carry-on space.

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Just to note that isn't restricted to the CRJ-100, Emirates which only flies wide-body aircraft, does this often when the flight is full. I have also seen this practice on other airlines when the flight is near capacity. –  Burhan Khalid Aug 31 '14 at 8:25
@BurhanKhalid: Yes, but in my experience this is rather different. When "mainline" (not "regional") airlines gate check, your bag is usually treated as checked luggage "to your final destination" from then on. If you have a connecting flight, you don't pick up the bag at your layover airport; it's automatically transferred for you. And you collect it at the baggage carousel at your final destination, not at the gate. I haven't flown Emirates, though, so it could be that they are different. –  Nate Eldredge Aug 31 '14 at 16:41
At the gate it is just as you have described on mainline carriers. Funnily enough, Emirates flies the A380 on the same route serviced by A320/737 (CRJ are not common in the Middle East). So yeah - short haul on an A380! –  Burhan Khalid Sep 1 '14 at 7:30

It depends on the size of your rollerboard. The overhead bin allows for a 52.5" × 14" × 9.5" bag, but, if memory serves, Delta makes passengers check all rollerboards on the CRJ-200 since they reserve the overhead space for soft-sided bags and jackets. Given that policy, the seat upgrade wouldn't give you any early boarding advantage so you should probably save your money and skip the upgrade. They did gate check the rollerboard though, so you probably won't have to to pay the checked bag fee or wait at baggage claim when you arrive.

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My recollection is that CRJ bins are significantly less than 9.5" high. Seatguru says 7" though of course this should be taken with the usual Seatguru grain of salt. As I recall, height is the main obstacle to fitting a larger suitcase. The depth is reduced also; as you say this can be circumvented by putting the bag in sideways, but this will use more than your fair share of space. –  Nate Eldredge Aug 22 '14 at 18:54
"rollAboard", not rollERboard. A rollerboard is a flat plate with 4 wheels used for moving boxes. Narrow ones are called skateboards. Rollerboards definitely won't fit in the overhead of a CRJ, nor most jumbos. –  Paul Aug 22 '14 at 23:43

No. My backpack (that fits under the seat in front of me on a normal airliner) barely fits in the overhead bins on Delta's CRJs, let alone my rollaboard. As others have said, they will collect such bags at the gate, put them in the cargo hold, and then return them to you in the jetway (or on the ramp if you're not using a jetway) as you get off the plane. These aircraft are much smaller than a standard DC-9 or 737 class aircraft. At 6'1", I have to duck the exit signs walking down the center aisle on these things. Personally, I avoid them where feasible.

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I recently measured the overhead bins of the Embraer 145 and the CRJ 100 because I got tired of gate checking bags. I found a bag that is 19" tall, 13" wide and 7" deep. I took it on a 5 day trip recently on which I flew YVR-SFO-ORD-ICT-YQT-YYZ-YVR on several different small regionals including a Dash-8 100 and it fit into every bin- no gate checks req'd.

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