I am going away soon and I have hand luggage only for the flight (some may know it as cabin luggage) because I am only away for the weekend.

I bought some slightly bigger bags than guaranteed-to-fit size bags so I could maximise the amount of stuff i can take but my issue is the dimensions of the this bag are right on the cusp of the maximum allowed size for the airline I'll be flying with (easy jet).

How can I make sure that the bag will fit into their bag checking box thing they have at the airport?

I've tried measuring it will a measuring tape but with the handles being in the middle at the top of the bag it is hard to be sure that it really fits.
Just for people's information the maximum size for the airline is 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (height x width x depth respectively).

It would also be nice to maybe hear people's personal experience in how lenient airlines have been with their hand luggage allowance!

  • This question may be more at home at travel.stackexchange.com. It feels a little off-topic here, since it's not clear in what way you are looking for a life-hack. Jan 29, 2015 at 10:25
  • 1
    Not technically a "hack" per se, but personally I starting going with hard case luggage exactly sized to the airline's dimensions. Soft cases allow bulging which can make your bag fatally not fit in the airline's stupid bag-size checkers even though it's pretty much the approved dimensions. I have a 9x14x22 hard case spinner that I can easily fit a week worth of clothes and accessories in. (Guess I should have given dimensions in centimeters as you did instead of inches: 22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm) Jan 30, 2015 at 19:54
  • +1 for asking, most people just show up in the aisle with a hockey bag and a mystified look in their eye as to why there is not a miniaturization feature to the overhead bin.
    – Minnow
    Feb 2, 2015 at 2:49

4 Answers 4


One method is to use a board which has about the same size as the front of the suitcase, a spirit level and a tape measure.

  1. Put the suitcase next to a vertical wall and make the front touch the wall.

  2. Put the board on the other side of suitcase parallel to the wall.

  3. Make sure the board is exactly vertical by using the spirit level.

  4. Depending on the shape of your suitcase it might also be neccessary to check by tape measure if the left and right edge of the board have the same distance to the wall.

  5. Measure the distance between the board and the wall. That's the maximum depth of the suitcase.

  6. Repeat for heigth and width, if neccessary.

In case you don't have a spirit level available, you can check the verticality also by using the tape measure as in step 4.

  • Sorry for my bad english, please feel free to edit my answer to change wrong words or correct grammar/spelling mistakes.
    – MaxD
    Jan 29, 2015 at 9:17
  • 1
    Good answer - I went for a method sort of like this. I got some old cardboard and made a box with an open side the maximum size for the airline and then attempted to place my bag in. You will all be pleased to know there were no problem and we sailed through everything and had a very nice (albeit cold) weekend. Thanks for the help.
    – MrPhooky
    Feb 2, 2015 at 8:55
  • @elliotdawes I think you should add your method as an additional answer because it doesn't have much in common with mine.
    – MaxD
    Feb 2, 2015 at 9:12

Here are few tips:

  • organise your stuff as evenly as you can,
  • put some items between clothes to not waste extra space when they're next to other items,
  • use the extra space between and next to handles underneath the bottom (if present),
  • if you're taking extra shoes, use extra space inside them,
  • place small items inside packets of your clothes,
  • use external hand luggage pockets to store some narrow items,
  • if you're taking any boxes (like gifts), fold the box so the item will take less space,
  • take as many items you can on your person (they're not weighing people)
    • take small heavy items from bag into your trousers/jacket pockets (e.g. cables, chargers),
    • dress yourself using the heaviest clothes you're taking with you (e.g. multiple trousers, sweaters or jackets) as usually clothes take the most space),
  • hang on your person any wearable items (such as cameras) - they're not extra bags,
  • if items are not wearable, use strings and wear them hidden under your jacket,
  • hold in your hands any trouble/big items (such as umbrella, laptop) - they're not bags as well,
  • take an extra backpack on your arms, because:
    • you can put big and heavy staff there as usually they don't check/weight the backpacks,
    • when spreading out your staff between 2 bags, it's better than having one big bag with suspicious/unusual size,
    • most airlines accept small hand-bags (such as backpack), because you can put them under your seat,
    • backpacks are less visible,
    • try Apple bags (with strings), they're almost invisible in the front, so they won't ask you about something they won't see,
  • if you're going with a friend, ask to do the same as above (fill their pockets with extra staff as well),
  • when you're with a friend, go to the check-in desk separately looking after each other's bags, they won't check/weight something they don't see,
  • when going to departure gates or security clearance always choose the way with people who look nice and easy, or check how they treat other passengers before moving forward (statistically usually man-woman, woman-man rule works, so if you're man - go to woman and smile nicely),
  • be self-confident, walk fast, passively follow crowd, not distinguish between persons, don't exchange staff eyes (be for them another millionth boring, ordinary passenger),
  • always keep your risky bags behind you and far from the staff who can think about your bag and stop you,
  • if you see bad timing in the front of you, ask friend to distract staff by asking for gate number so you can bypass staff as fast as you can,
  • when they ask you to measure your bag and it's too big or too heavy, repack or go to the next gate and try again,
  • always remember that at security gates they don't care how big/heavy your bags are, the only risky places are at the check-in desk and departure gates.
  • That's... a lot of bullet points.
    – J. Musser
    Jan 29, 2015 at 23:22
  • 1
    So...many...bullet...points. And those last few, sounds like you're turning the OP into a drug trafficker ;-)
    – Darren
    Feb 24, 2015 at 4:12

Please Please Please do NOT be one of those people who have to big of a carry-on. It's very annoying for those who travel frequently to be delayed because of luggage being stuffed in overhead, having to find space, having to check it instead, etc.

What we do, is pack everything we would take in that bag, and perhaps a bit more. Then we check to make sure it isn't bulging out anywhere, and is still relatively flat. We then measure again to be sure that it meets the requirements of whatever airline we are flying on.

I also carry a big tote bag as my purse that still fits under the seat. That helps a lot.

Enjoy your trip!


The method I went for in the end was to use some old cardboard and make a box of the maximum allowed dimensions for the airline (56cm x 45cm x 25cm) and try and fit my bag in this makeshift baggage checker.

All it required was:

  • A few large pieces of cardboard (wood would be better but would be longer and more expensive)
  • A taper measure
  • A sharp knife / scissors
  • Packaging / sticky tape
  • Fast drying super glue (optional)

I measured out a couple of panels for the front and back of my measurement box so two pieces 56cm x 45cm and also a top panel with the dimensions of 25cm x 45cm. When I cut these pieces out I left a little bit extra on either side to act as a flap that I could stick to the other panels to make it easier to hold together.
I only used these three panels as the width of the bag was never really in question as this couldn't bulge and I could confidently measure it to check the size. Also I ran out of cardboard boxes...
Once I had these panels I folder the flaps I had made and aligned one of the front panels with the top and applied some glue to the flaps and then taped them too each other and left a short while for them to dry and become strong enough., I repeated this for the other side.
After it had dried I got my bag and stood it up and placed the box over it and to my delight it fit fine. having the box also made it really easy to measure the width of the bag as some points would push against the box so it gave easy measurability (100% a real word).

At the end of the day there wouldn't have been anything I could have done so I should have just left it til I got to the airport but it was fun and killed some time at work!

Picture below of the finished masterpiece:
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