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  1. #1
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    How do airlines measure checked baggage?

    Straightforward question that I can't find an answer via searches and I have not checked any baggage. Personal items and carry-on items have bag sizers as length, width, height each have predetermined maximums. Checked baggage appears to universally be "Sum of length, height, width not greater than 62 inches."

    If they measure it sitting on a flat surface with a ruler or tape measure, they can get the max dimensions L,H,W easily. Problem is bag allowance doesn't state "maximum length+ maximum height + maximum width to not exceed 62 inches"

    So...

    If they use a sewing tape, they could wrap around the bag 3 ways and mathematically determine the average measures. Problem is the room for error in how measure and seems like a lot of work.

    OR is checked baggage measurement like carry-on allowance that they don't measure anything that looks to fit the standards so a little larger may pass without extra oversize baggage fees?

    My reason that prompted me to ask is one large cooler company recommends one size of their cooler to be checked baggage compliant, but viewing the L+H+W in description make the cooler 65 inches, exceeding 62 inches by 5%. Now it is larger top surface and slopes down to a smaller base, so a sewing tape measure may average and consider it a pass at 62 inches.

    So how do they measure checked baggage or how strict do they enforce the rules in your experiences?

  2. #2
    Forum Member DWSeattle's Avatar
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    TAP (Portuguese) airline had a scanner built into the self serve luggage conveyor. In other words, a robot.


    What are you hauling in a cooler? Will it pass customs/agricultural inspection at the other end?

  3. #3
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    Might get better replies at https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trending.php

    I'm pretty sure the answer will be some version of "It varies by airline".

    Might also check special baggage options by airline

    Delta's
    https://www.delta.com/content/www/en...ial-items.html

    Useless fact of the day, Delta will actually let you check a christmas tree.

    Christmas Trees

    Who are we to turn away holiday spirit? We allow cut Christmas trees as limited release baggage on all flights within the United States, including flights to/from Hawaii. However, all Christmas trees will be subject to baggage allowance and size guidelines, as well as some other rules:


    Trees need to be adequately packaged with the root ball or cut base and all branches wrapped and secured using a burlap type material.
    If you are traveling into Hawaii and checking a Christmas tree as baggage, you must include it on your declaration form and the tree must pass agricultural inspection

  4. #4
    Forum Member DWSeattle's Avatar
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    We took a cooler to Hawaii to use for picnicking from our rental car and filled it full of clothing, beach towels, etc. The airline set it aside in baggage claim for the Hawaii agricultural inspectors to inspect. They were relieved when we had no food.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by hachkc View Post
    Might get better replies at https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trending.php

    I'm pretty sure the answer will be some version of "It varies by airline".
    Quote Originally Posted by DWSeattle View Post
    We took a cooler to Hawaii to use for picnicking from our rental car and filled it full of clothing, beach towels, etc. The airline set it aside in baggage claim for the Hawaii agricultural inspectors to inspect. They were relieved when we had no food.

    Flyertalk or similar forum search is where I started the rabbit hole of checked baggage. (I've never checked baggage in my limited air travels). One mention was coolers and then lead to the Yeti 65 company video of cooler for checked baggage. I checked the dimensions of it and to my surprise was 65 inches L+W+H. I couldn't understand how that size would work versus the stated 62 inch policies nor how a company could mention its use if its use commonly was allowed. From there, I couldn't find a good answer to how/if/when they actually measure checked baggage, thus my forum question.

    I would not travel with food anywhere there is restrictions, but in the future for a long term travel with infrequent change of accommodations, I would consider using a cooler for checked baggage for several reasons.
    A cooler is something I would use at home and road travel. Using for air travel would be a multi-use of a useful item I already own.
    A cooler can save some money while travelling if accommodation didn't have refrigerator accessible.
    If any of these brands with bear proof claims are true, it stands a chance of protecting its contents through baggage handling.

    Someday I will likely travel with checked baggage and now realize the standard "it depends" to be true

    Thanks for the help.

  6. #6
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    Yes, airlines almost always use the largest measurement to determine the size..

    So if a handle, wheel or otherwise, makes that one side/measurement larger than the frame or without it, they'll use the larger number.

    How strict is hard to say as there's no real way to measure that. If you travel with bike i would suggest you to use garage bike racks.

    I'll say that when compared to weight, they *tend* to look at size less than they do weight.. but that's not to say that size isn't also scrutinized.

    Alot depends on the airline(s) involved and the actual agent who handles your check-in process.

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