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Delta baggage restrictions explained and how to maximise your hand luggage allowance

Flying with Delta and need to know how much hand luggage you can carry on board? Or how much free checked luggage you get? Read up on the Delta Airlines baggage allowance, including all of the rules hold and hand luggage - we've even sneaked in a few money saving tips to help you avoid paying excess baggage fees.

Delta hand luggage allowance: weight, size and fees

Delta cabin bag size Delta hand luggage weight allowance Number of bags allowed onboard Cost to check in oversized hand luggage
Maximum carry on bag dimensions: 56x35x23cm

Personal item: must fit under the seat in front

No weight restrictions* 1 carry on bag + 1 personal item eg. laptop or handbag, per passenger** Free if your cabin bag meets Delta regulations and flight is full

Fees for excess hand luggage are:

$100 on Transatlantic flights

$25 on flights within US/Canada

Delta hold luggage allowance: weight, size and fees

Delta hold baggage size Delta hold luggage weight allowance Number of hold bags allowed Cost of Delta hold luggage
157cm (Total width x height x length) 23kg

Up to 2 items of hold luggage per passenger for free.

Up to 10 in total (bags 3-10 charged excess fees)

For flights within US and Canada:

First bag $25

Second bag $35

For flights between US/ Canada and Europe/North Africa: First bag Free.Second bag $100

Other fees can vary depending on the route you’re flying

* Except for the following airports: Singapore Changi (7kg), South Korea Incheon (10kg), Beijing Capital (10kg) and Shanghai Pudong (10kg)
**Passengers travelling on smaller (50 seats or less) Delta Connection flights may be asked to place their carry on bag in the hold at the boarding gate, free of charge.

How to beat the Delta baggage fees and maximise your hand luggage allowance

Still worried about how you’re going to cram everything into that cabin bag? Read on for five tips on beating Delta Airlines baggage restrictions…

1. Use your handbag

Delta has quite a flexible hand luggage allowance, allowing passengers to squeeze on an additional ‘personal item’ free of charge, as well as their carry-on bag. This can be anything from a laptop bag to a satchel; the only prerequisite is that it fits under the seat in front. So split your luggage into valuables – passport, money, boarding passes in your smaller bag and the rest of your weekend wardrobe in a wheelie or backpack – and you’ll breeze past check-in with time to treat yourself to a quick mocha with the money you’ve saved on baggage charges.

2. Make the most of duty-free

Having a shopping splurge before you fly might sound counter-intuitive if you’re trying to hang on to your holiday budget, but remember that Delta allows any duty-free goods purchased at the airport onto the plane for free. That’s one more carry-on bag, when you think about it. So if you’ve forgotten to bring a bottle of wine for your host, or couldn’t squeeze in all your make-up to the airline’s liquids allowance, just buy at duty-free. Hold onto your receipt and keep it all in the duty-free carrier bag to swan onto the plane like a Hollywood jet-setter.

3. Just accept it, and check in a bag

If all else fails, and you simply can’t get the hang of that whole ‘packing light’ thing, check in a bag. You can bring one piece of hold luggage for free on Delta flights between Europe and North America, two free bags on US-South Africa flights and the fees on domestic flights start from just $25 (about £20) if you book in advance. So you might as well take your favourite jumper. And your slippers. And those wedge heels…

4. If you can’t beat ’em…

…join the rewards programme. SkyMiles is Delta Airlines’ members club, and it’s free to join, though to earn the benefits awarded according to the distance you travel, you need to ‘buy miles’ (see Delta’s website for more details). But in addition to being able to book special seats as you rack up air miles and other privileges, you also accrue Medallion Qualification Miles, which add up to a ‘Medallion Award status’ depending on the amount. The first level is Silver, which lets members take at least one more free checked bag than the standard baggage allowance on most flights, and three on some routes such as Australia/New Zealand. If this all seems like a bit too much faffing around, read more about how to get upgraded on your flight with these Skyscanner staff tips (and confessions)!

5. Compare other airlines

In today’s competitive market, there are plenty of alternative airlines to choose from if you want to shop around for the best deal on baggage. If you know you’re a notoriously heavy packer, larger airlines like British Airways tend to be more generous with their baggage allowance, while budget airlines tend to be the stingiest on hand luggage restrictions, but can have very reasonable pay-for-what-you-need charges if you book checked bags online. It’s worth comparing names like Ryanair and easyJet to see who offers the most room at the lowest fees. Take a look at our at-a-glance guide to baggage restrictions and fees from major European airlines.

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