Does Suitcase Height Include Wheels?

Written By Craig Coleman  |  Suitcase 

Suitcase height can be a bit confusing, because it’s not always clear whether or not the wheels are included in the measurement. In general, though, suitcase height does include the wheels. So, if you’re looking for a suitcase that is a certain height, make sure to measure from the ground to the top of the bag (including the wheels).

What the Airlines Say

The major US airlines all have different policies when it comes to suitcase height, and whether or not wheels are included in that measurement. Delta, for example, says that suitcase height includes wheels, while American Airlines says that it does not. United’s policy is a bit more confusing, as they say that measurements are taken from “the highest point of the fully extended handle,” which could be interpreted either way. So what’s a traveler to do?

What the Luggage Manufacturers Say

Many luggage manufacturers say that suitcase height does include wheels. They advise checking with the airline to make sure they will accept the bag, however.

What the Experts Say

When it comes to buying a new suitcase, one of the key considerations is height – specifically, how tall the case needs to be in order to fit comfortably within the overhead compartment on an airplane. But what many people don’t realize is that when manufacturers list the height of their suitcases, they usually include the wheels in that measurement.

So if you’re looking at a case that’s listed as 22 inches high, for example, keep in mind that this includes the wheels and handles, and actual storage space may be significantly less. This is something to keep in mind when comparing different models and brands; make sure you’re comparing apples to apples by checking whether or not wheel height is included in the listed measurements.


You’ll need to check with your specific airline to find out if their definition of suitcase height includes wheels or not. When packing your bags for your next trip, be sure to factor in the height of the wheels when determining how much space you’ll need.

About the Author

Craig Coleman

Growing up in a small town in Connecticut, Craig dreamed of visiting far-off lands. After college, he hit the road, and became a full-time travel writer.