Do Luggage Wheels Count For Carry-on Size?: a man holding a suitcase upside down

Already have your vacation all planned out? With your tickets printed, itinerary decided, and hotel booked, what’s left is to pack and prepare for the trip! If you’ll be traveling by plane, it’s only natural that you’ll be confused about luggage measurements, especially if you’re just using a suitcase as a carry-on.

Among the things that make both new and old travelers scratch their heads is the wheel dimensions. Do luggage wheels count for carry-on size? Do they affect the entire luggage measurement?

In this ultimate guide, we will discuss those and more in great detail! Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about wheel dimensions and what they mean to luggage measurements! 

The simple and direct answer is yes! Airlines do include the luggage wheels when measuring your carry-on luggage because they add a few inches to the luggage’s height and weight.

While wheels might not seem like they weigh much or have any significant effect on the luggage’s final measurement, they help accurately represent and determine the exact size of the suitcase or baggage. 

So when you’re out buying new suitcases, be sure to check the product dimension thoroughly. Many brands often leave out the wheel dimensions, which can catch you off guard when you do the final measurements before the trip since the numbers are different than expected.  It’s always better to bring along a tape measurement of your own and not rely entirely on the advertised measurements. 

Do Luggage Wheels Count For Carry-on Size?: Measuring a suitcase size at the airport

If it’s your first time traveling by air, then it would be safe to assume that you have yet gone through any check-in process. You probably want to know if an airline measures checked baggage before you head out for your international or domestic flights. 

Most airlines have their means of measuring checked baggage. One thing is for sure, though — you wouldn’t see any rulers on the check-in or registration table!

Some airlines use special or baggage sizers where you place your bag and pray to all deities that it would fit their required measurements. If not, you will probably need to pay additional fees.

Oversized luggage can cost you a hefty amount. If your carry on bag is also deemed overweight, better prepare your wallet since no amount of negotiation or talking will get you out of paying the extra. 

How can you measure your luggage at home?

Do Luggage Wheels Count For Carry-on Size?: Measuring a suitcase size with a tape rule

Weighing and measuring luggage at home before you leave for the airport is necessary as it will save you the stress of constantly wondering whether it is too heavy or big. Most airlines take carry- on sizes seriously since they need to account for the space inside the airplane.

Your carry-on bag must fit in the overhead compartment or under your seat on the plane. It is why you need to carefully and accurately measure luggage size to ensure that it will fit and that you wouldn’t need to pay extra fees. 

When you’re measuring luggage, be sure to measure from the ground to the top of the handle. Use a tape measure so the final numbers are in inches. 

Although this method will give you an accurate read on the height of the luggage, you would still be missing the internal dimensions. Those count as well. 

To get those dimensions, you will need to get the depth and width of the bag size. Measure luggage correctly from the front to the back of the bag to get the depth. As for the width, the tape measure must go from left to right. 

When writing down these dimensions, it’s typically in this specific order: height x width x depth.

You can add the height, width, and depth together to get the linear inches of the carry on bag. For instance, 20 x 12 x 6 luggage has a total of 38 linear inches. 

The overall size isn’t the only thing you need to consider. The weight restrictions also matter. For that, you can use a bathroom scale or a handheld luggage scale.   

How do the wheels affect the overall measurement?

Do Luggage Wheels Count For Carry-on Size?: a suitcase at the airport

The wheels might seem irrelevant to the overall measurement, but it’s not the case. These can affect the final measurements. They add to the overall width, height, length, and weight. 

If you want that bag to fit a limited-size overhead compartment, know that those few extra inches will matter. It is why you must include the wheels when you’re measuring luggage.

Be sure to measure the luggage size before and after filling it with your stuff. It lets you check if the overall measurement fits the airline’s size limit.

After filling the suitcase, be sure to measure it again since there is a chance that the depth and width will change, especially if you’re using a soft-case type. It could have bulked up or bulged out. 

Don’t make the same mistake as some travelers do. They would overlook the suitcase wheels when measuring carry on bags, which in turn costs them in the end since it warranted them to pay extra.  

What is the standard size and depth of the wheels of a typical luggage?

Do Luggage Wheels Count For Carry-on Size?: Measuring a suitcase size with a tape rule

The typical size and depth of a luggage’s wheels will mostly depend on the type of luggage they’re attached to. For instance, a carry on bag usually has smaller wheels than larger and bigger suitcases.

These wheels come in various sizes, although they commonly range between 40 – 87 mm. The wheel size matters as they accommodate the bag’s size to provide better support and stability. 

You can’t exactly give smaller-sized wheels to a large suitcase. The likely ending is that the suitcase would topple over or give out due to the unsupported weight. Due to this, you must choose a suitcase with wheels well-suited to its weight and size. 

Aside from the wheels, check the weight capacity whenever you’re out checking for luggage size wheels. Finding an appropriate-sized wheel will ensure that the bag will roll on the ground smoothly once it is fully loaded and ready to go.

Aside from wheel size, note that the depth is also a must. Most wheels range between 30mm – 50mm in depth. Knowing the exact measurement of your wheel’s depth will help you learn the thickness of your packing material.

How can you ensure a flawless check-in at the airport with your carry-On?

Checking your luggage size is one of the most nerve-wracking parts of traveling with an airline. At this stage, you will be able to find out if your carry on bag fits the size requirements or if you’ll have to pay some hefty bills to bring it along with you. 

To ensure a flawless check-in at the airport, here are a few tips you can consider: 

1. Get The Accurate Measurement Of Your Luggage Before Going To the Airport

Do Luggage Wheels Count For Carry-on Size?: Measuring a suitcase size with a tape rule

By accurate, I mean the overall measurement, including the wheels and handle of the suitcase.

Without taking these into account, there is a chance that you’ll get caught off guard once at the airport. Your bag might be too big or oversized to qualify as a carry on hand luggage.

2. Prepare Your Travel Essentials

Do Luggage Wheels Count For Carry-on Size?: packing checklist for a trip

For a smooth check-in, prepare your travel documents and essentials. Ready your boarding pass, ticket, passports, ID, etc., and place them in an easy-to-access area or compartment of your bag.  

3. Check the Measurement Guidelines of the Airport

Do Luggage Wheels Count For Carry-on Size?: luggage size check

You need to know that every airline has measurement guidelines and size limit. Before the day of your flight, check and see the exact measurements the airline uses. Doing so will help you determine if your bag fits their size requirements or if you have gone over the restrictions. 

It is incredibly vital that you do this if you don’t want to pay any extra fees. An oversized bag will not qualify as carry on hand luggage, so an additional charge will apply. 

Also, be sure to include the wheels and handles when you’re doing your last-check measurements. Among the biggest challenges here is ensuring that your carry on luggage will fit comfortably in the overhead bin or compartment in the plane. They will check that at the gate before boarding, so it would help if you’re prepared to avoid any delays.  

4. Be Polite To The Airport Staff

Do Luggage Wheels Count For Carry-on Size?: airport staff

Yelling and being demanding at the staff and agents at the airport will earn you more negative points than you would have liked. Strong-arming your way into check-in will surely put you in a bad light with them, which is the last thing you want if you’re traveling. 

Being polite and respectful to the staff might help you in the end. The agents will undoubtedly be more inclined to help you if you’re more approachable and kind. Also, a smile on your face can help make their job much easier and better as they are probably tired from dealing with rude and overbearing people.  

Closing Thoughts

Do Luggage Wheels Count For Carry-on Size?: Measuring a suitcase size with a tape rule

So, do luggage wheels count for carry on luggage size?

Do luggage wheels count for carry-on luggage size? The answer is yes, they do. But, if you measure your luggage at home and adhere to the airline’s size restrictions, this shouldn’t be an issue for you. So, be sure to check your luggage thoroughly, including the wheels, to ensure a smooth and stress-free travel experience.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to share in the comments. 

And for any other general questions on carry-on luggage, you are sure to find answers in my ultimate guide to Carry-on luggage post.

Happy travels! 

Leave a Comment


Don't miss out on our periodic giveaways

Join our newsletter and stay up-to-date with the latest blogpost, travel tips and giveaways.


Don't miss out on our periodic giveaway

Join our newsletter and stay up-to-date with the latest blogpost, travel tips and giveaways.