View Full Version : United Airlines Personal Item: Size Enforcement?

06-20-2014, 04:05 PM
Hello I'm flying United Airlines, early Sunday out of California from what is called Ontario airport (ONT) to Trinidad & Tobago, with a layover in Houston (IAH) and I'm concerned about the size of my laptop bag. If I'm reading it correctly, the new limits are 17" for the length; 10" for height; and 9" for depth. The length and depth of my laptop bag fit the new standards, but the height is just over 12". How strictly is this being enforced? Also any one with specific experience with this at the ports I'll be visiting, is welcome to comment.

Also I have read the other post on this site regarding the new rules, but that post really didn't capture individual reactions as to how the new rules were being enforced lately.


06-20-2014, 04:19 PM
Hello @mngmt490 and welcome to the forums. Which laptop bag are you carrying (if it's a Tom Bihn bag), and did you mean to say you were flying out of Ontario airport in California? Here are a couple of posts regarding United's carryon enforcement from the last few days; maybe others can comment? (We also have some forum members who follow the threads over at the flyertalk forums quite closely.)

We flew United out of SFO a few days ago, and they were really watching every passenger as we boarded. I saw multiple passengers be called out for having too much stuff, including a couple of First Class people! That surprised me, as I was figuring that they'd look the other way for the First Class and higher tier customers.

Curious. I flew United out of SFO earlier this month, and didn't notice any changes in their enforcement (or lack of enforcement) of carryon rules. I did, however, notice that they have been moving over to use more 737-900's for their new planes, and that these seem to have less storage space relative to passengers. (Of course, that could also be because they've both decreased the space between seats in all rows -- even their Economy-Plus seating, and also limited the recline for the seats.) I don't mind the lack of in-flight-entertainment systems, but I had the impression that slightly more individuals than usual among the groups that boarded last ended up having to gate-check their bags when they couldn't find sufficient overhead storage space.

Perhaps the gate agents are being more vigilant based on the experience for these types of planes, to avoid boarding delays? (In some models of aircraft, there is more available storage space in first class, but I don't believe this is true in this model plane. Aisles are also relatively narrow.)


HTH moriond

06-20-2014, 04:26 PM
That's correct, I'm flying out of Ontario airport in CA. No, it's not a Tom Bihn bag, just a small Targus laptop bag.

06-20-2014, 04:54 PM
In my recent experience of four United flights last weekend (Boston>Newark>Asheville>Chicago>Boston), there was NO enforcement. Beyond the limiting factor of what would fit on the commuter jets. I would not worry about your personal item unless it looks huge. If it fits under the seat in front of you, it should not be a problem. (One trick if it does not fit; if it is a slim bag, prop it behind your legs against your own seat, upright, during takeoff and landing. It will not be visible to others.)

Sorry, I have no experience from Canadian airports, though.

06-20-2014, 06:24 PM
You probably want to stick placing a bag under the seat in front of you rather than behind your legs. These rules are for everyone's safety... in the highly unlikely event of needing to rapidly evacuate the aircraft the bag behind your legs will likely end up blocking your row or the aisle jeopardizing everyone's safety. Also, behind your legs it can get loose and become a projectile in an accident. Sorry to be a wet blanket, but as much as some of the rules are capricious and randomly enforced, they are ultimately tied to safety reasons.

06-20-2014, 06:48 PM
Completely agree, I've flown many times with this bag under the seat in front of me with no problem. My main concern is getting the bag on the plane with me. Thanks.