Do Backpacks Count As Carryon For Flights?

Yes. You can carry a backpack if only it fits the plane seat right in front of you. For instance, ordinary school backpacks or laptop backpacks can fit underneath your airplane seat. Your more significant hunting or hiking backpacks will not fit under the seat, but if they fit in the overhead bins and meet the specific airline’s carry-on standards, you should be fine. If it does not meet the airline standards, the airline will check in the pack as luggage. If you always want your backpack to be near you, you need to adhere to the strict sizing of the airlines you want to go with. If your backpack is too big, ultimately, you can carry it as luggage. 

This article explains why some backpacks are carry-on items, and some aren’t, and the type of American airlines and the carry-on size they have put in place. At the end of the article, you will have answers on the size of the backpacks and personal items that the airport allows.

What Determines Whether A Backpack Is A Carryon For Flights?

 Backpack  Carryon For Flights

Backpacks come in different sizes. If you have a small backpack that is mainly the backpack that you use to keep a laptop in, you can put it underneath the seat in front of you. It isn’t a carry-on item if it is a big trekking backpack or hiking pack. Also, backpacks can be carried as personal items. 

Most airlines have guidelines on personal items and carry-on bags. The airline will determine which one they can put on the top carrier and the one that they will put underneath your front seat. Most airlines have different rules for the sizes they allow to carry-on items. Below are the most common American airlines and the carry-on sizes they allow.

American Airlines

American airlines give a privilege to the passenger to carry one bag and one personal item. However, there are size restrictions, and your carry-on items shouldn’t exceed 115centimeters, including the handles or the wheels of your bag. 

The personal item might be a purse, briefcase, or laptop bag that shouldn’t exceed that length. Put into consideration that the size also matters most concerning your backpacks.

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines

Delta airlines allow a specific size that must not exceed 157cm or 62 inches. If the size exceeds the stipulated measurements, that isn’t a carry-on but luggage that they will charge you for. If you have a backpack that will fit into your bag and is in those measurements, then that is a carry-on item.

 They also have outlined similar items that you can choose from. For instance, you can select the items that you want to place in your front seat as follows:

1. One bag (purse, briefcase, small backpack, camera bag, diaper bag, etc.)

2. One bag for laptops (They can’t check computers unless directed to by security)

3. One item that is comparable to or smaller than those listed

Southwest Airlines 

The dimensions of a carry-on bag are limited to 10 x 16 x 24 inches. It would be best if you placed a carry-on in the overhead bin. The staff can get the wheels up faster if they store them with the wheels facing out. 

Carriers are considered personal items or carry-on luggage when traveling with a pet.

Purses, briefcases, cameras, food containers, and laptops are personal bags. Your item must fit within the dimensions of 18.5 x 8.5 x 13.5 inches, and you must put it under the seat.

United Airlines

Carry-on bag –should fit in the overhead bin. A carry-on bag’s maximum dimensions are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 centimeters x 35 centimeters x 56 centimeters). The sizes also include the handles and wheels. A personal item should fit underneath the seat in front of you. The maximum dimensions for your personal item are 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 centimeters x 25 centimeters x 43 centimeters).

United Airlines is pretty clear on the dimensions and size they allow, and you should be able to adhere to the measures they have outlined to be on the safe side.

Jet Blue

Carry-on luggage must not exceed 22′′ L (55.88 cm) x 14′′ W (35.56 cm) x 9′′ H (with wheels and handles) (22.86 cm). Personal items shall not exceed 17′′ L (43.2 cm) × 13′′ W (33 cm) x 8′′ H under the seat (20.32 cm). The airline has specific limitations, and you should follow them so that you don’t get disappointed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Permissible For Me To Bring Two Backpacks As Carry-On Luggage?

Yes, the airlines can permit two backpacks on a plane. One backpack will be put in the overhead bin as carry-on luggage, while the other will be stowed beneath the seat in front of you as a personal item. It will solely depend on the personal item and backpack; size matters greatly.

On A Plane, What Is The Maximum Backpack Size?

A 45-liter backpack is recommended. It is best to check each airline’s website before traveling to learn about their specific size requirements for carry-on and personal items. Up to 62 linear inches are allowed on planes. By adding width + feet + length, you may determine the linear inches. Always be vigilant and be able to follow your chosen airline’s specifications.


Backpacks count as a carry-on for flights. There is a catch here as it depends on the size of the backpack you are carrying. If you have a small backpack that wouldn’t fit under your seat, it is best to choose a small size. Most airlines in America have already outlined the size of a backpack they allow. 

However, in most airlines, it is a carry-on item if it fits in the seat in front of you. Before traveling, always check the airlines’ website to figure out which size they allow. Ensure you do deep research before heading to the airport with your backpack to avoid extra charges on items you could have better left at home.

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