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Carry On Cases Guidelines

A guide to help you find the best airline-approved carry-on case or luggage for your next flight.

Whether you’re traveling on Continental or American Airlines, JetBlue or US Airways, you’ll likely encounter a different set of rules for carry-on luggage each time you approach the gate. Why set yourself up for a nightmare?

Cases By Source offers cases that not only protect your precious and delicate gear, but also meet the majority of airlines’ (generalized) carry on size specifications. And if the overhead bin’s packed to capacity? At least you can rest assured that your equipment will be safe and secure inside the protective case while stowed in the plane’s cargo hold. Source is dedicated to helping you find the best solution to get your wares from Point A to Point B. Whether you need a case that can be brought on board your next flight or a case that can be stored below, we have a wide variety of stock and custom containers that will help you transport your equipment around the corner…or around the globe. Most airlines accept a carry-on case that measures 20” x 11” x 7.5” (internal dimensions*). Source offers a number of cases that meet those requirements, including (but not limited to):





3i-2011-7B (with or without foam or moveable dividers) 20.5” 11.5” 7.5”
IM2500 (with or without foam or padded dividers) 20.5” 11.5” 7.2”
PC-1510 (with or without foam) 20.187” 11.375” 7.58”
PC-1510LOC 20.187” 11.375” 7.58”
PRX20118W (with or without foam) 20.08” 11.22” 7.83”
G-TOURCARRYONFO 19” 12.5” 6.5”



One bag + one personal item. The maximum combined linear measurement (L + W + H) of the carry-on bag* is 45 inches (115 cm) up to 22” x 14” x 9”. The maximum weight of the carry-on bag is 40 pounds (18 kg).


One bag plus one personal item. Each bag can weigh no more than 40 lbs/18 kgs. The carry-on* cannot exceed overall dimensions of 45 inches (when you add the length + width + height). The maximum dimensions cannot exceed any of the following measurements: 22" long x 14" wide x 9" tall or 114cm (56 x 35 x 23 cm). The personal item (purse, briefcase, laptop bag) cannot exceed 36 inches to ensure fit in an overhead bin or under the seat


One piece of hand baggage plus a laptop or handbag. Each bag can weigh no more than 51 lbs/23 kg. Your main piece of hand baggage can be up to the dimensions 22" long x 18" wide x 10" tall (56 x 45 x 25 cm). Your laptop or hand bag can be up to dimensions 18" long x 14" wide x 8" tall (45 x 36 x 20 cm),

One purse, briefcase, camera bag, laptop bag, or diaper bag is allowed. Baggage may not exceed 45 linear inches (or 115 cm) in combined length, width, and height. Baggage must fit easily in the Carry-On Baggage Check, which is located near the check-in counters and at the gate and is approximately 22" x 14" x 9" (56 x 36 x 23 cm).

One bag that fits in the overhead bin plus one personal item that fits under the seat in front of you. Your personal item must not exceed 17" (43.2 cm) x 12.5" (31.8 cm) x 8" 20.3 cm) in order to fit under the seat in front of you. To fit in the overhead bin, your item must not exceed the following guidelines*:

  • For the Airbus A320: 26 inches (66 centimeters) length x 18 inches (45.72 centimeters) width x 12 inches (30.48 centimeters) height
  • For the EMBRAER 190: 24 inches (60.96 centimeters) length x 16 inches (40.64 centimeters) width x 10 inches (25.4 centimeters) height


One carry-on bag and one personal item. Personal items include a purse, briefcase or laptop bag. Size requirements*: Up to 45 in/115 cm (22” x 14” x 9” or 36cm x 23cm x 56cm) and up to 40 lbs/18 kg.


One carry-on bag and one personal item such as a large shoulder bag, large backpack, briefcase, laptop bag or an item of similar size. The carry-on bag must fit under your seat or in the overhead bin. It cannot be more than 22" x 14" x 9" (56 x 35 x 23 cm) or 45 linear inches (114 cm).

One piece of baggage on board the aircraft, plus a purse or briefcase or laptop computer or small backpack. The carry on baggage* cannot exceed 45 linear inches—
(22” x 14” x 9”)


Carry-on items* are limited to one bag (24” x 16” x 10”) plus one smaller, personal-type item. Personal-type items include purses, briefcases, cameras, food containers, or laptops (case included).


One carry-on bag must fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you and adhere to the following requirements: cannot exceed dimensions of 22" x 14" x 9" (56 x 36 x 23 cm) and a maximum weight of 13 lbs/6 kg.

*Airline dimensions are external, Cases By Source dimensions are internal, hence our decreased general measurements.

**This information was last updated on 12-21-09. It is not an exhaustive list but merely a sampling of some domestic airline carriers. Please visit carriers’ individual Web sites (hyperlinks are provided above) for exceptions and more detailed information. Be sure to also check new requirements from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regarding restrictions to items in carry-on baggage.


The case industry defines a case as having “left to right,” “front to back,” and “top to bottom” measurements: LxWxH, respectively. To determine the corresponding sides of the case, visualize the case laying flat with the hinge on the side furthest from you (as if you were packing a suitcase).

The height measurement is typically broken down into two proportions called “splits”: The measurement of the lid (H1) and the measurement of the base/bottom (H2) are added together to get the full case height. For example: if H1 equals 4” and H2 equals 11”, your case’s height would be 15”.



Length: The longest measurement, looking down on the case – left to right.

Width: The narrowest measurement, looking down on the case – front to back.

Height: The top to bottom dimension, broken into two measurements: The "lid" is designated as H1 and the "base" is designated as H2.

Visit our customer service page for additional answers to Frequently Asked Questions.


Our Web site boasts superior search capabilities with faster, more inclusive returns on your searches. To find a case that meets your needs, you can:

  • Search by size, keyword, manufacturer or category
  • Set the range for almost any size using our movable scale
  • Search by inches or millimeters, or simply toggle between the two
  • Narrow down the search results by criteria such as case type, color, material, price point, ATA rating, accessories or manufacturing process


Using your chosen airline’s specifications for carry on and “personal items” as a guide, you can search the following categories to find your best case solution:

Many of these cases can be purchased with or without wheels and/or foam interiors. Even better? Customize your interior—we offer foam inserts and custom-molded interiors—to conform to your case’s contents for optimal security during transport. The best solution? Build a custom case from scratch. Our sales engineers will guide you through the process, from Concept to Completion.