As I understand it, the United States limits are 22x9x14 inches (559×229×356 mm). I have a box for my computer monitor box that is 22x3x15 in (559×76×381 mm), so it does not comply and I would expect it to be forced into check-in. I would prefer to carry it by hand: I would expect it to fit in the overhead compartment because of compliance with the length and thickness compliance (within 22X14 footprint). It's foot print does not comply with the footprint under a seat.

How strict are the US authorities with the 14 inch (356 mm) limit?

That being said, would it be the TSA that would that would force the issue/prevent me from boarding with a 22x3x15 in (559×76×381 mm) monitor box?

I suspect the airline would be indifferent. If you have had success in security screening an item (bag) that exceeded the limits, please state this in your response / comment. I am not inclined to 'play this to the edge', however, I would like to understand the current practice

  • 7
    Sincwe you mention the Theatrical Security Agency, is this question specific to America?
    – Mawg
    Dec 14, 2016 at 9:29
  • 2
    Note that the size limits are different by airline.
    – Aganju
    Dec 14, 2016 at 11:52
  • 5
    @Mawg UK is officially metric except for roads. UK airports and airlines define maximum luggage size in metric units.
    – gerrit
    Dec 14, 2016 at 12:32
  • 3
    @gerrit And in 1975 the US Pres. Gerald Ford signed the Metric Conversion Act that stated that the metric system was "the preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce". Which just leaves you scratching your head.
    – Peter M
    Dec 14, 2016 at 12:42
  • 7
    To clarify @gerrit's post, the UK is "officially metric" in the sense that using non-metric measurement units for any commercial purpose (with a very small number of exceptions) is illegal, not just "preferred", and there have been successful criminal prosecutions of people ignoring that law (e.g. for selling goods using scales which show weights only in pounds and ounces).
    – alephzero
    Dec 14, 2016 at 14:03

5 Answers 5


The airline can and does enforce carry on baggage limits, it is not a duty relegated to TSA. Actually TSA couldn't care less, as long as your items fit through their scanner.

How strict the rule is enforced is determined by realistically just two factors: 1) the plane you are boarding; 2) the level of due diligence engaged in by the gate agent.

As an example of plane based issues, based on your avatar, flying out of Gainesville frequently means flying on Canadair regional jets, whose overhead baggage compartments are minuscule and whose under seat space is also small, so there your screen's box might not fit either and would have to be gate checked.

From a gate agent point of view, they are technically responsible to make sure people boarding obey the rules, though usually they are busy with other aspects of boarding so don't do carry on bag checks on every flight, but I have seen them check.

  • 2
    As far as I know, the last and "most decisive " part is the cabin crew. Cabin crew can refuse to have any carry in item in the cabin if they feel it is not safe, cannot be safely stored, could hide something that it has not been checked for or whatever.
    – skymningen
    Dec 14, 2016 at 10:03
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    @skymningen - Yes cabin crew is the last defense, but have to say in my travels, I have primarily seen gate agents force someone to gate check a bag due to its size. Most bag checks I have seen by cabin crew were simply because there was no space left.
    – user13044
    Dec 14, 2016 at 10:08
  • 1
    @Tom Close! JAX to LGA. Smaller aircraft
    – gatorback
    Dec 14, 2016 at 14:54
  • 22x3x15 definitely fits in the CRJ200, which the smallest Air Canada aircraft other than the BE1900 (which I think has no bins?). Dec 15, 2016 at 2:02
  • 1
    @MartinArgerami - Depends on the plane's configuration. Delta's CRJ200 & CRJ900 under seat dimensions are 16.5 x 18 x 10.5, the CRJ700 16 x 17 x 9. And my 17 x 12 x 7 briefcase just barely squeezes into the overhead bins in the CRJs, so 22 x 3 x 15 would not fly so to speak on those aircraft.
    – user13044
    Dec 15, 2016 at 2:20

I have seen JetBlue in Ft Lauderdale enforce carry on size restrictions prior to going through security.

They did this by having Jetbue staff at the entrance to the security line get passengers with suspect hand luggage place said luggage in those metal framed devices that indicate the maximum carry-on size (the ones that people always ignore).

I believe that JetBlue was doing this because it was using an older/smaller aircraft with much smaller than typical overhead luggage bins. This invalidates your contention of

I suspect the airline would be indifferent

As in the case of JetBlue they were not indifferent to carry-on size. Thus the airline and type of plane you will be boarding will be decisive factors in the carry-ons allowed to be carried on.

  • This is exactly the type of post I was interested in. If you could clarify which airport this was observed that would be ideal
    – gatorback
    Dec 14, 2016 at 13:54
  • @gatorback Done. But JetBlue only flies to a limited number of locations anyway.
    – Peter M
    Dec 14, 2016 at 14:13
  • 2
    I imagine JetBlue may have been doing this in order to get the maximum revenue from checked baggage fees...
    – Joe
    Dec 14, 2016 at 15:12
  1. How strict are the US authorities. The "authorities" are the airlines themselves. They know what are the limits of their equipment and they optimize how much space is used to carry passengers, luggage, and freight.
  2. would it be the TSA No. Luggage size and weight limits were enforced decades before the TSA was invented.
  3. I suspect the airline would be indifferent. It is the airlines who have the exclusive interest (and authority) to establish and enforce luggage size and weight limits. This is both an economic and a safety issue.

Different airlines have different limits, and some have different limits depending on which equipment is being used. If you regularly fly through certain airports or on certain carriers, then it is your responsibility to select luggage that fits their limits. Or else be prepared to check it in for handling by the luggage primates.

  • 1
    IMHO: The format of this response is the model for clear and concise communication.
    – gatorback
    Dec 15, 2016 at 14:14

There are airports in the world where the carry on size is enforced by security somewhat because of the trays employed -- Heathrow and Budapest comes to mind -- but the United States does not have such idiot systems. Whether the airline cares or not is hard to say but it is indeed likely you will get away with it, for example the United sizer is 10"x15"x23" somewhat bigger than the size in their regulation. This is not an endorsement to take a 15" super-duper fragile item on a flight. I am just giving free advice and can not be held responsible over what happens.

  • 3
    You can usually put a big item without using a tray, when it's checked on the x-ray machine.
    – JonathanReez
    Dec 14, 2016 at 9:05
  • 2
    I don't understand what you mean by "idiot systems". There have been trays at every US airport where I've gone through security. I fly regularly from Heathrow and have found the security procedures there to be essentially identical to the USA, except that the USA has the "idiot system" of making everybody take their shoes off. Dec 14, 2016 at 12:36
  • 2
    I mean this: The trays are not optional. There's no solid belt running just rollers so you must put everything in a tray.
    – user4188
    Dec 14, 2016 at 12:59
  • @chx anything that can't handle running over rollers to an xray machine is a pretty piss poor choice of carryon. it's got to be super fragile, or really tangle prone. I regularly dump a backpack on the rollers, no issues at all.
    – Leliel
    Dec 14, 2016 at 20:30
  • @leliel wait, they let you do that? There doesn't even seem to a place to do that. At least the kind of airports I am talking about. You know, where after the machine there are signs that "the tray will stop".
    – user4188
    Dec 14, 2016 at 20:37

My experience with JetBlue and their 22x14x9 carry on size has been they are very lax with enforcement. Especially with width and depth. Height remember may impact you when you try to get the bag in their bins.

They've taken a more passive aggressive approach of asking for folks to volunteer carry-on to be checked for free especially when flights are full. An effort to speed up boarding and minimize need for messy possibly confrontational enforcement. I once took advantage and had a heavy carry on of filled with clothes checked and asked that it be transferred to my connecting flight. free. For an expensive flight I usually add 1 checked bag for points. Takes the pressure off too.


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