With any travel that includes flying, you want to do as much planning as possible to avoid any surprises. That includes considering what your luggage needs are. You will likely have different needs for a week long trip than you would for a quick weekend away. Considering how many clothes, toiletries, shoes and personal items to bring is important. Therefore not only is the size of your luggage important, but also the weight. Those bigger suitcases can potentially be heavy, and the last thing you want is to take your suitcase to the airport and find out it’s overweight.
An overweight bag may incur an additional fee when checking it. They aren’t small fees either, upwards of $100 depending on the weight. These are the things you have to think about well in advance of your flight. If you are purchasing new luggage and you know it will be stuffed full of your belongings, make sure it is lightweight. Otherwise, you may end up experiencing delays or unnecessary costs such as the overweight baggage fees. The rules, however, depend on your airline.
What Is The Size Limit For Checked Baggage?
The limit for checked baggage will always depend on the airline you’re flying with. Of the five major airlines in the United States, only Southwest Airlines currently allows coach passengers to check two free bags. The other airlines will charge about $25 for your first checked bag, and $35 or above for your second. The size allowance is, however, uniform for most of the airlines. Each bag should not exceed a measurement of around 62 linear inches or weight around 50 pounds. The linear inches are calculated by adding up the length, width and height of your suitcase. See our carry on baggage chart for info on U.S. airlines carry-on size restrictions.
Exemptions and mileage status
Although checked bag fees are a serious source of income for most US airlines, some exemptions are made. You may enjoy these exemptions if you are a frequent flyer, if you hold your airline’s branded credit card, or if you are active duty military or family.
Free bags for premium tickets
You can typically check additional bags at no extra charge if you have a business or first class ticket. Airlines like Alaska, United, Delta and American Airways allow people in this class at least one free checked bag. When flying with a premium ticket, other benefits include increased weight allowance. You can carry up to 70 pounds per suitcase with a premium ticket on United, Delta and American Airways. Remember that each airline has a baggage policy that must be adhered to, and checking the airlines website will give you the most up to date information. There are also seasonal restrictions that may crop up during ticket booking.
Oversized and overweight luggage
If your suitcase is larger or heavier than the standard allowances, you may have to pay an extra fee. However, there is a limit to just how big your bag can be. You cannot travel with a suitcase heavier than 100 pounds in any of the above-mentioned airlines on domestic flights. The airline also reserves the right to refuse any oversize or overweight baggage for international flights.
How Much Do Airlines Charge For Overweight Baggage?
Oversized baggage fees will depend on the airline. For American Airlines, you will be charged a minimum fee of $200, depending on your destination, for any oversized baggage. For Delta Airlines, you will have to pay $100 for luggage up to 70 pounds while that up to 100 pounds will cost you a fee of $200.
Top 10 Best Lightweight Suitcases
Whether you prefer four-wheel suitcases, two-wheel suitcases or even backpacks, you’ll want to get something lightweight. The less your suitcase weighs empty, the more items you can carry before reaching the weight limits. This helps you avoid any of those overweight baggage fees. Here are our top 10 picks for best lightweight suitcases for traveling.
1. IT Luggage-32 Upright
For its size, this bag was dubbed the world’s lightest luggage. It is manufactured by the IT Luggage Company which offers various luggage styles that are budget friendly. Their products include the 32.4-inch upright that boasts a light weight of 5.4 pounds. The wheels have 360 degree mobility for easy maneuvering. The handle is also uniquely wide and designed for a firm grip.
On the exterior, the bag is equipped with a side grip handle that works well for lifting the bag when you have to carry it on stairs or over rougher surfaces. On the interior, there are mesh compartments on the inside of the lid. The main compartment is very spacious and comes with straps that hold the items in place.
2. Coolife Luggage Expandable Suitcase Spinner
This suitcase is available in small, medium, and large sizes ranging from 7.6 – 10 pounds. The wheels allow for 360 degree rolling in all directions making maneuvering very comfortable. Plenty of internal and external pockets for storage. Telescoping handle for rolling and a side handle for carrying. Made from a Jacquard oxford cloth, which is supposed to be more durable than polyester material. The two toned black and tan or navy and white color schemes, I think, look particularly classy. It also has a TSA lock which allows only TSA agents to inspect your bags without damaging the lock.
3. Ricardo Beverly-Hills Malibu Bay
This is a stylish and professional looking, lightweight and efficient suitcase. The bag is medium-sized and has several features. It is manufactured out of a unique Dreamful material that gives it it’s lightweight characteristics. It is lighter than both polyester and nylon. The Malibu is 7.7 pounds and has measurements of 10.5 x 18.5 x 25 inches.
If being eco-friendly is important to you, this bag has some interesting features. The company claims the 100% polypropylene dreamful material creates very little waste material during production; “water and energy are saved by solution dyeing the fabric pre-weaving, which results in a reduced carbon footprint.”
4. Travelpro Maxlite-4 Spinner
The Spinner is a light, sleek and well-made bag. It also works well for a carry-on bag. This is because it only weighs four pounds and can fit the carry-on requirements for any airline. It is made out of polyester, and its measurements are 20 x 7 x 14.5 inches. It can fit in the overhead compartment and can smoothly move around due to the presence of spinner wheels. The Spinner has a telescoping handle that has two levels of stops. This makes it possible for people of different heights to handle the bag comfortably. The exterior material is also water repellant, and that keeps your items safe in case of leakages or spills. The bag comes in blue, black and red colors.
5. Lucas-Luggage Ultra-Lightweight 24-Inch Suitcase
This bag comes with a little more space than other typical carry-ons. The pricing is also reasonable, and the bag is easy to transport. The presence of spinner wheels makes the bag easy to move around using its ergonomic handle. It is 6.5 pounds and measures 26.6 x 16 x 11.5 inches and is made of an easy to wipe & clean material. Has side handles for lifting.
In the interior, you will find fully lined, mesh and zipped pockets on the lid. It also has straps that keep items in the main compartment in place. Many reviewers claim the bag has proven to hold up well through heavy travel. There are a few color options, but the blue, black and white plaid pattern would prove very easy to spot on the baggage carousel!
6. AmazonBasics Packable Travel-Duffel
Depending on the duration of your stay or how much you need to bring, you might be able to use a travel-duffel as an alternative to a standard suitcase. This is a very light travel bag at 1.36 pounds and works well for lower budgets (Only about $20). You could check-it or use it as your carry-on. It measures 23 x 13 x 13 inches and has two carry straps and a removable shoulder strap. The front side has two zippered pouches that are ideal for storing small items.
This is also a handy bag to bring along on trips if you plan on visiting a gym, want a laundry bag, or a want a smaller bag for side trips. It can be folded down to a small square that won’t take up more room than a pair of pants in your suitcase. It has a special front pocket that acts as a separate compartment, great for storing shoes, towels, or dirty clothes.
7. Samsonite-Tectonic Backpack.
This is one of the best backpack options available in the market. Despite being affordable and light, it also comes with cushioned straps. These straps are adjustable and can be secured to a suitcase for easy tagging along. It comes in a few colors and measures 13 x 9 x 19-inches, weighing 3.09 pounds. It also has a laptop sleeve, a tablet sleeve and a pocket spacious enough for over-ear headphones.
8. Ben-Sherman Nottingham
The Nottingham is a lightweight choice for luggage that can hold an adequate amount of traveling gear. It is sturdy and snazzy-looking and weighs 9.3 pounds. The design is sleek and classic with a checkered outside pattern that gives it a unique appearance on its hard-shell exterior. Nottingham comes with reinforced corners that increase the level of security for your gear.
It comes with measurements of 27 x 17.5 x 11 inches. The interior is tear-resistant and adequately lined. The interior has a U-shaped mesh pocket on the lid.
9. Opti-Max-Wheeled Under-Seat Suitcase
For those who only pack lightly, the under-seater may be your option. You can avoid paying baggage fees, but also you won’t be competing for overhead bin space. This bag weighs 4.8 pounds and measures 14.75 x 15 x 8.75 inches. It is made from nylon and has five pockets of different sizes that allow you to access your items quickly.
The inside has a mesh pocket and a laptop sleeve. The bag can also stand without support and comes in black and blue colors. The retracting handle lets you pull the bag around like a traditional suitcase if you wish, or has a handle for hand carrying. Obviously this won’t hold enough for your two week vacation, but could be sufficient for a quick business trip or weekend getaway.
10. Genius Pack-Carry Spinner
This bag has a lot of features to help you stay organized throughout your travel. It has a separate holder for dirty laundry. A unique feature, this laundry compartment uses an air valve to compress clothes and make them fit into a smaller the space, similar to vacuum sealing. The bag also comes with a packing checklist that is built-in. It also has some capabilities for adding on additional accessories such as separate slots for umbrellas and phone chargers. This bag weighs 7.7 pounds and measures 22 x 9 x 14 inches. It is made from a water-resistant material and has smooth and highly responsive spinner wheels.