Which US Based Airlines Offer The Most Generous Hand Luggage Allowances?

These days, passengers are making the most of hand luggage allowances. But some are taking it too far, resulting in carriers manufacturing solutions to cater for excess hand luggage. But when airlines are so generous with their allowance, are passengers really to blame? These are the top five US-based airlines with the most generous hand luggage allowances.

Which US Based Airlines Offer The Most Generous Hand Luggage Allowances?
Southwest is the most generous US-based airline for hand baggage. Photo: Colin Brown Photography via Flickr

Here are the airlines who offer the best hand luggage allowance for the standard coach-class traveler.

The top five airlines for carry-on allowances

  1. Southwest Airlines
  2. JetBlue Airways
  3. Alaska Airlines
  4. American Airlines
  5. Spirit Airlines

1. Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is the most generous airline for carry-on baggage. It offers not one, but two pieces of carry-on luggage which is something of a rarity these days.

It allows one carry-on bag of the following maximum dimensions; 10 x 16 x 24 inches. Not only is this bigger than other airlines allow in volume, but it’s also just one of the two items allowed.

Southwest Airlines also gives its passengers one personal bag. Unlike some of the other air carriers, it also specifies the maximum dimensions of this extra bag. They are 18.5 x 8.5 x 13.5 inches.

The main item of carry-on baggage will be placed in overhead lockers, whilst the additional personal item must fit underneath the seat. Its dimensions are in line with the Transportation Security Administration’s rulings.

2. JetBlue Airways

Which US Based Airlines Offer The Most Generous Hand Luggage Allowances?
JetBlue also allows its passengers two carry-on bags. Photo: Tomás Del Coro via Wikimedia Commons

JetBlue also allows its passengers to take two carry-on bags within the fare price. Like Southwest Airlines, it also provides dimensions for both. The carry-on baggage must be no more than 22 x 14 x 9 inches and the personal bag 17 x 13 x 8 inches.

It’s rigorous about checking the size of its luggage, according to its website. Any carry-on bag that does not fit the overhead locker will be checked in at the gate.

3. Alaska Airlines and 4. American Airlines

Both Alaska Airlines and American Airlines offer the same amount of baggage allowance for carry-on. And, it’s still generous. Both offer two bags; one carry-on and one personal.

The carry-on dimensions must not exceed the following: 22 x 14 x 9 inches.

However, when it comes to the personal item, the airlines are less specific. All the airlines say is that the personal item should be able to fit under the seat in front of the passenger. Despite that, it does also list examples of personal items that can be brought on board including a purse, a laptop case or a briefcase. These items would generally be smaller than the dimensions offered by Southwest Airlines and JetBlue.

Which US Based Airlines Offer The Most Generous Hand Luggage Allowances?
American has one of the best hand luggage policies allowing two bags. Photo: Simple Flying

5. Spirit Airlines

Included within the ticket price, passengers with Spirit Airlines are allowed to bring one carry-on bag. However, passengers can pay to bring an additional bag with an increased volume.

Which US Based Airlines Offer The Most Generous Hand Luggage Allowances?
Passengers can pay on Spirit Airline for more baggage. Photo: Tomás Del Coro via Flickr

The airline says its carry-on bag is a “one small personal item”. The maximum dimensions are 18 x 14 x 8 inches. Passengers can purchase additional room in the cabin for carry-on baggage with maximum dimensions of 22 x 18 x 10 inches.

The cost of this additional baggage is $37 one way if purchased with initial booking online. If the extra baggage is purchased before or during online check-in, the fare increases to $47. If the baggage is brought to the airport but was not purchased before, the fare increases to $55. If the baggage is presented at the gate, the fee is $65. Discounts apply.

And there we have it, the top airlines for generous hand luggage allowances!

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