I am planning on going to Tokyo from USA via United Airlines for the first time. My carry-on bags and checked baggage are within the size limits, however, I have a problem with the personal item size limit of 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches. It is very small to fit my laptop back pack (16 inches), and I already have Targus Drifter II Backpack for 16-Inch Laptop that size 13.8 x 9.1 x 17.7 inches.

At a result, I have to buy the new laptop bag? (But I can't find it) Or will I have to pay this fee when I board?

  • Thankyou for your answer and advice! My carry-on bag is 8.3"x14"x22" that United Airlines allow don't large than 9"x14"x22". However, in your comment I see they serious on carry-on bag than Personal item(laptop bag), so I will take my Targus bag 16inch but just leave enough spaceon. Thank for your advice again!
    – Kerk
    Sep 26, 2014 at 1:07

1 Answer 1


I wouldn't worry about it. While carry-on item sizes can be enforced pretty strictly, nobody pays attention to personal items unless you're clearly going above the limits. But if you want to play it 100% safe, just leave enough space in your carry-on to stuff the laptop if you need to.

For what it's worth, I usually travel with a carry-on rollaboard bag and a backpack, which is larger than 9"x10"x17", and have never been hassled about it.

  • This is my experience as well - while I've been asked to size-check or weigh my carry-on bag (Europe can have pretty strict weight limits), my normal-sized backpack has always accompanied me onto the plane without hassle, even if it contained multiple heavy laptops and was stuffed so that it exceeded size limits.
    – Jonas
    Sep 25, 2014 at 7:05
  • 1
    This probably apply to "traditional" airlines, which are usually not very concerned about carry-on luggage. At least several European low-cost airlines (and I am especially thinking about a particular Irish airline named after its founder Ryan) are however extremely picky with applying horrendous charges for anything slightly beyond their terms and conditions. Sep 25, 2014 at 10:19
  • The OP is flying United. Does anyone have any specific info on that?
    – Fattie
    Sep 25, 2014 at 14:29
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    @JoeBlow One of the problems with United (and I was a longtime 1P with them) is that they are so huge, and the Continental merger has gone so poorly, that there is not much consistency from station to station. I have had some of my best and some of my worst airline experiences with them.
    – choster
    Sep 25, 2014 at 19:05

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