Consumer Reports: Carry-on luggage isn't always carry-on sized

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While many bags are labeled as a carry-on, not all bags truly measure up. (WPVI)

If you've flown recently, you know how expensive it can be to check your luggage. Instead, many people choose to carry on their luggage, but flyers beware - some bags may not be the size you think.

Carrying on your bag will help you avoid the fees and save you time. But as Consumer Reports found, 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," said Nikhil Hutheesing from Consumer Reports.

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 while many bags are labeled as a carry-on, not all bags truly measure up.

Consumer Reports put eleven bags to the test, measuring each one several times with laser precision.

Nine of the eleven 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," said Hutheesing.

Like the Tumi Alpha-2 Frequent Traveler. It says it's a carry-on and testers found the measurements on the tag to be accurate. But it is still 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 - and don't forget to include the handle and the wheels.

And pack with care, particularly outside pockets. Overstuffed can easily become over-sized!

Because one thing is universal: If it doesn't fit, you'll have to check it!

Consumer Reports also recommends checking with your airline. And be aware that some airlines, including Spirit Air and Frontier Air, charge fees even for carry-ons.

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