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If you’re planning to travel with just a carry-on, you’ll need to be up to speed with airline carry-on policies. Specifically, the various rules and regulations each carrier has for what you can and can’t “carry on” to the plane. Each airline’s rules are different, so don’t just assume that what works for one will work for all airlines.
If you are going to be flying Delta Airlines, here are the Delta Carry-On rules you need to be aware of regarding size, weight, fees, liquids, etc.
Delta Carry-On Size & Weight Limit
Delta allows you to bring one carry-on bag and one personal item onboard with you at no additional charge. The only restriction is that one of the items must be small enough to be stored under the seat in front of you.
Delta Carry-On Size Restrictions
Delta’s size limits for a carry-on are 22″ x 14″ x 9″.
If you aren’t sure what size your carry-on is, Delta has carry-on size check templates located at both the ticket counter and your departure gate.
However, by the time you get to either of these locations, it’s too late if your bag is too big, so it’s better always to know your bag size in advance.
Delta Personal Item Size
Personal items include a purse, briefcase, laptop, backpack, blanket, shopping bag, or a similar-sized item
Additional items that can be carried on include:
- A jacket and/or umbrella
- Food or drink purchased after clearing the security checkpoint
- Duty-free merchandise
- Special items like strollers, child restraint seats, or assistive devices such as wheelchairs or crutches
Delta Carry-On Weight Restrictions
As a rule, Delta doesn’t impose weight restrictions on a carry-on bag. But there are a couple of international exceptions to this rule, including:
- Singapore, Singapore – Changi International Airport (SIN) carry-on should not exceed 15 lbs. (7kgs)
- Beijing – Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) requires that domestic hand carry bags should not exceed 10kgs. Individual carrier rules apply for international flights.
- Shanghai – Pudong International Airport (PVG) carry-on should not exceed 22lbs. (10kgs)
Carry-On Rules for Basic Economy Fares
There is no charge to carry a bag when you buy a Delta Basic Economy fare. The carry-on rules are the same for all classes of service. The main difference is with a Basic Economy ticket, you will be one of the last to board, so overhead space will be limited.
Carry-On Rules for Delta Regional Aircraft
If you are lucky enough to be flying on a Delta Connection flight (ugh..) with fifty seats or less (such as a CRJ 200), you can bring a personal item with you, but not a carry-on bag due to limited overhead space. Personal items must be able to fit under the seat in front of the passenger.
All carry-on bags within Delta’s size restrictions will be gate checked, free of charge, during the boarding process and returned upon deplaning. (Depending on the time of year, this will give you the opportunity to hang out with 50 of your newest friends in either a steaming hot or freezing cold jet bridge. Fun!)
Despite this “official rule” there are some bags you can carry on a regional jet. Check out this article on the best carry-on luggage for regional jets.
Delta Carry-On Liquid Policy
The rules for carry-on liquids are set by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), not by the airline. Delta doesn’t have its own specific Liquids Policy, they just enforce the rules and policies of the TSA.
It’s also important to note that the rules for bringing a “liquid” in your carry-on bag are different from the rules that govern what you can bring in your checked luggage. Liquids in a carry-on bag must be 3.4 ounces or smaller and fit in a 1 quart-sized container. Anything larger must be placed in your checked luggage.
- All liquids, gels, pastes, and aerosols must be in a container of 3.4 ounces or smaller.
- All liquids must be in a resealable quart-sized clear plastic bag that is removed from your carry-on during the TSA screening process.
- Special exceptions are in place for items such as medication, formula, breast milk, etc.
- Food and Drinks purchased once you have cleared TSA checkpoints are not included in these restrictions.
The TSA 3-1-1 Rule
The TSA 3-1-1 rule provides the parameters for how passengers can bring liquids on an airplane in their carry-on.
Each passenger may carry liquids, gels, and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters and are enclosed in a sealed, one quart-size bag. Common travel items that must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, perfume, mouthwash, deodorant, and lotion.
Any liquid that does not meet the TSA 3-1-1 rule will either have to be checked with your luggage or will be thrown away at the security checkpoint.
Here is a little video to help illustrate:
Exceptions to this rule are certain medications and baby food/child nourishment.
Delta Carry-On Food Policy
The TSA also sets the rules for what type of food you can bring on the plane. There are two different scenarios pertaining to food:
- The food you bring with you from home, and
- The food you buy at the airport after you have gone through security.
When bringing food with you from home, an important thing to note is the classification of liquid vs. solid foods.
The general rule is “If you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it, or pour it, then it’s considered a liquid or gel”. This means your food may be considered a liquid and will fall under the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule, which mandates that any liquid, gel, cream, aerosol, or paste in a carry-on must be 3.4 ounces or less, and fit in one quart-size resealable bag (only one such bag is allowed per passenger).
Here’s a link to the TSA website advising what food can be brought with you on your Delta flight. This applies to food you are bringing from home through security. Once you get through security, you can bring just about any food on the plane that you buy at the airport.
Delta Pet Policy
Delta may not charge for your carry-on bag, but they will charge for your carry-on pet.
If you are going to bring a pet on board with you, it must be able to fit in a small, ventilated pet carrier that fits under the seat in front of you.
Pets in cabin kennels will count as your one carry-on item. In addition to the kennel, you can bring one personal item onboard the aircraft. The following fees apply to/from the following destinations.
Delta Airlines Carry On Policy: Pet Fees
Here is a chart showing the pet fees Delta charges each way. Double them for a round-trip flight.
|To/From Destination||Pet Fee Each Way|
|U.S./Canada/Puerto Rico||$ 125.00|
|U.S. Virgin Islands / International||$ 200.00|
TSA Approved Pet Carrier for Delta
If you do plan on bringing your pet with you, make sure you follow TSA’s pet policy and have an approved Pet Carrier that conforms to Delta’s pet policy.
Prohibited or Restricted Items
There are certain items that are considered dangerous and classified as hazardous materials. Dangerous goods are prohibited from both your carry-on and checked bag on all flights. These rules are not specific to any airline and are mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.
- Aerosol products (such as cooking spray or anti-static spray)
- Household Cleaners such as bleach, drain cleaners, or pesticides
- Car Batteries
- Fireworks or explosives
- Ammunition, gunpowder, black powder, mace and pepper spray
- Torch or blue flame lighters and all lighter refills
- Light refills or fuel
- Pocket knife
- Safety razors and straight razor blades
- “Strike-anywhere” matches
- Hoverboards, balance gliders, self-balancing boards, or motorized riding suitcases that use lithium or lithium-ion batteries
- Items with refrigerants including refrigerators, air conditioners, freezers, or dehumidifiers
The following items are not considered “dangerous goods” and are allowed when packaged properly, in accordance with TSA regulations
- Hiking or trekking poles
- Hair dryer/Straightener
- Hair spray
- Sunscreen/bug spray
- Food as a carry on
- Fishing hooks
- Fragile glass items
A complete list can be found on the FAA and TSA websites.
Delta Airlines Carry-On Fees
Delta does not charge a fee for carry-on baggage that meets its size requirements. If your bag is too large and does not meet Delta’s carry-on restrictions, you may be charged a fee to gate check it prior to boarding.
Here is a link to Delta’s Carry-On page to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.
Frequently Asked Questions About Delta’s Carry-On Policy
Delta allows you to bring 1 personal item and 1 carry-on with you onboard your flight.
No. Delta allows you to bring on 1 personal item and 1 carry-on at no additional charge.
Delta does not have a weight limit except for select flights to Asia, such as Singapore, Beijing, and Shanghai.
No. Even though Delta has a weight restriction for some destinations, they typically don’t weigh your carry-on bag. They pay more attention to the size of the carry-on rather than the weight.
Delta’s under-seat dimensions are 20x15x11inches (55x38x28cm) on most of their aircraft.
Yes. If you travel to a country/airport with a duty-free store and purchase items sealed in clear plastic bags, you can travel with those items as a carry-on.
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