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This question is regarding check-in, not carry-on, baggage.

I'm considering buying a very spacious suitcase measuring 31 x 21 x 15 inches, for a total of 67 inches. This is greater than the 62-inch limit most airlines have [1]. My present suitcase measures 63 inches, which better fits the limit than the one I'm considering buying.

Do airlines actually enforce the size limit for check-in baggage, such as by levying a surcharge? Has this happened to you or to someone you directly know, or is it only a theoretical risk? If it's only a theoretical risk, I'll buy this suitcase.

I've had my check-in suitcase weighed several times, but never had its dimensions measured, as far as I can remember.

[1] Except for Emirates, which recently decreased its limit to 59 inches.

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    What do you mean with safe? – Bernhard May 17 '15 at 10:00
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    As I've experienced its not a problem.. but i would recommend buying baggage inside designated limit because some airlines like Turkish airlines may create problems...specifically Turkish airlines have a history of creating ridiculous problems. – Suraj Bhawal May 18 '15 at 7:41
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    Why give airline employees a free shot to mess with you? – TheMathemagician Jul 21 '15 at 11:43
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    The requirement has more to do with the luggage equipment (conveyer belts and so on) than anything else. As with most things there is a leeway/margin given to these devices, but I would not count on this. If you have oversized baggage they have to handle it separately, which has an extra charge. – Burhan Khalid Aug 10 '15 at 12:08
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    I guess they check by sight, so you probably get away with one or two inch over, but there is a limit where even the sleepiest counter agent will see it is oversize and smilingly charge you 100 $ per leg. Remember that the airline industry made over 6 billion $ last year on luggage fees - do you think they would let this chance pass for long? – Aganju May 20 '16 at 21:31
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Even when they do not measure now, it is likely that they will measure in the future.

Are you willing to invest money in a good quality case that you might not be able to use on flights in the future?

I have never seen them on the airport scales, but in many places they have little lines (or build in lines) that show the outlines on the maximum sizes. I have never seen someone who was told to check in his case as oversized luggage, but I am not a frequent flyer.

And when they are out of your view, luggage handlers have the time to take out a tape measure when your case does not fit in the spot they want it to take.

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    While carry-on baggage is indeed often scrutinised, I've never seen the size of check-in baggage inspected. Most airlines also have procedures for checking in oversized/odd-sized bags, possibly for a surcharge. – jpatokal May 17 '15 at 10:36
  • Thanks. I updated the question to clarify that a) I don't want to pay a surcharge. b) Do airlines actually check this? If it's only a theoretical risk, or something that might (or might not) happen in the future, I'm not worried about it. BTW, it's not an expensive case. It costs only ₹6300 ($100). – Vaddadi Kartick May 17 '15 at 11:30
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    @Willeke At which point it will be too late for them to do anything about it. I'd assume that they if refuse it, or want to levy a surcharge, they'll do so at the check-in counter, not after the fact. – Vaddadi Kartick May 17 '15 at 11:38
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    Let's not speculate about the future. Please tell me if there's any likely problem (not a theoretical problem) as things stand today. – Vaddadi Kartick May 17 '15 at 11:42
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I wouldn't. Check this comment from Amazon.com:

I just Goodwilled a similar bag (65.5 inches linear) with a long history of reliable service after being warned twice on a recent overseas trip that they'd "let me go this time" but that it was oversize and to not trust that I encounter someone as flexible next time through...

Posted on May 29, 2013. Airlines rarely become more forgiving with luggage as time passes.

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I recently flew with KLM from Amsterdam, where self-checking luggage is possible. Apparently (the screen tells you so) it will measure the size of your luggage, so it seems to get enforced at least somewhere. It tells you to make sure handles are down etc. Then it will take a few seconds to scan your bag and will tell you if it is okay or not. Possibly, as Willeke already points out in her answer, this will be implemented by more airlines in the future.

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