Consumer Reports warns not all carry-on bags are as small as they claim

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It seems not all carry-on bags are as small as manufacturers claim. 7 On Your Side partnered exclusively with Consumer Reports for coverage on luggage trouble.

If you've flown recently, you know how expensive it can be to check your luggage. Carrying on your bag will help you avoid the fees and save you time.

But as Consumer Reports discovered, it's flyer beware - some bags are not as small as manufacturers claim.

Whoever said size doesn't matter never tried to get a piece of carry-on luggage into an overhead bin.

"People often want to use a carry-on so that they don't have to pay to check in a bag. It also saves time at check in and you can bypass baggage claim," Consumer Reports' Nikhil Hutheesing said.

Every inch counts. The maximum dimensions for a carry-on for most American-based airlines is 14 inches by 22 inches by 9 inches.

But not all bags truly measure up. Consumer Reports put 11 bags to the test, measuring each one several times with laser precision.

Nine of the 11 were bigger than they claimed, including ones from American Tourister, Samsonite, Travelpro and Victorinox.

"We found that many manufacturers don't count things that affect the dimensions of a bag, like the wheels and the handles. But the expectation is that when you buy a carry-on bag, it's going to fit in the overhead bin," Hutheesing said.

A Tumi Alpha-2 Frequent Traveler says it's a carry-on and testers found the measurements on the tag to be accurate but it is several inches too large to be carried onto most airlines.

To help avoid a problem, Consumer Reports suggests measuring a bag yourself before you buy it. Don't forget to include the handle and the wheels.

Also don't forget to pack with care, particularly outside pockets. Overstuffed can easily become oversized.

One thing is universal, if it doesn't fit, you must check it.

Consumer Reports also recommends checking with your airline. Some, like Spirit Air, charge fees even for carry-ons and those fees can increase.

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
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