We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Delta LHR to JFK checked baggage size restrictions

Derby
Level Contributor
32 posts
16 reviews
Save Topic
Delta LHR to JFK checked baggage size restrictions

We are flying tomorrow & after checking in online this afternoon I saw a link to their baggage size policy. We fly twice a year all over the world on UK airlines & have never heard of size restrictions for checked baggage (obviously know all the issues with carry on).

In a nutshell we have bought 2 new suitcases specifically with the TSA locks for US travel, but as per Delta website they appear to be a few cms too big. I rang their UK customer services who advised me that 90% of the time a few cms is not an issue and they waive any fee as goodwill. Needless to say it's too late to exchange the suitcases & they are all we have so just going to have to cross my fingers when we get to the bag drop at Heathrow.

I just wondered if anyone had recently flown Delta on a UK to US flight and could tell me if they had any issues...?

Could be an expensive mistake not sticking with Virgin.....

uk
Level Contributor
3,554 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Delta LHR to JFK checked baggage size restrictions

All airlines AFAIK have limitations on checked baggage size, including Virgin, you just didn't know about it.

virgin-atlantic.com/gb/…check-in-baggage.html

It doesn't matter what the experiences of others has been, you could come up against a pedantic check in attendant that decides your bag looks a bit to big.

I have never had the size of a checked bag questioned, but then all of my checked in bags are well below the allowed dimensions.

I would guess majority of the time you will be fine but there is a slim chance they may pull you up on it - just depends if you want to take the risk.

Derby
Level Contributor
32 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Delta LHR to JFK checked baggage size restrictions

Thanks GeordieEngineer. Looked at the Virgin link & they allow much bigger sized cases than Delta, presumably why I've never had an issue or been aware of it before. Our case aren't huge but it looks like unless you have a 'medium' size case, you'll be oversize. (Ours are Antler)

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
14,121 posts
243 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Delta LHR to JFK checked baggage size restrictions

Virtually the only airline we use is Delta, but Delta, just like every other airline has had size restrictions on checked luggage for many decades. All airlines have size restrictions on checked luggage. I am amazed that you are surprised to discover this. If you just think about it, there would have to be size restrictions; otherwise passengers would bring giant objects.

I have never seen anyone measure our checked luggage. Whenever possible we use curbside check-in because it is much more convenient for us, and the curbside people certainly do not check the size if it appears appropriate. On those occasions when we use the Delta check-in and luggage drop procedure no one has ever paid any attention to the size of our suitcases.

However, we have never used any luggage that exceeds Delta's allowance. We never buy a suitcase without making sure that it is legal for Delta. Having said that, however, I can not personally tell the difference between a bag that is legal and a bag that is a few centimeters larger. I would probably assume that the same is true for Delta employees, but I suppose they may be trained to recognize those slight differences.

I would estimate that your chances of getting past Delta luggage check-in with bags that are only slightly larger than legal, would be at least 90%. My concern would be that if you actually had your bags measured you would have no defense. I certainly would not tell the Delta agent that you were not aware that any airline had size restrictions for checked luggage, because I think they would not be moved by that claim. Your best bet would be to be pleasant and explain that you just purchased the luggage, and, at the time, did not realize that it exceeded Delta's allowance. (This would not be a lie because when you purchased the luggage you were not aware it was illegal).

I think that almost all Delta agents would let your luggage slip by, particularly if it is not slightly over-weight as well. The danger is that if someone does not give you a nod and a wink, you could be forced to pay as much as $300USD, if your bag does not exceed 203 centimeters and if your luggage is over 203 centimeters when the width, length and height are added together, Delta can simply refuse to carry the suitcase. The Ts & Cs for Delta Luggage Dimensions for flights between Europe and US can be found on this link.

delta.com/content/…excess.html

I am also a bit concerned about your statement that you purchased new suitcases specifically for your visit to the US because they had TSA locks specific for the US. This causes me to believe that you have purchased luggage with locks built in to the luggage. I just want to warn you that very few people in the US use this type of luggage. Although the luggage should be able to be opened by a TSA master key, sometimes it sticks or sometimes I think they do not even try. It is not unusual to pick up your suitcase only to discover that the suitcase has been cut open for inspection, while the lock remains in-tact.

When I fly alone I do not lock my suitcase because I think it causes more problems than it solves. When I fly with my husband he insists that we use small TSA locks to hold the zippers together. He does not do this for security, but because he is afraid that the zipper might work open and spill the contents of our suitcase all over. This little lock is TSA approved, and the TSA inspector should be able to simply open it with his key, but about half of the time TSA has just cut it off the suitcase. Occasionally everything arrives just as it was when we checked it in, and we would have no idea that the suitcase had been searched were it not from the little note TSA leaves in the suitcase. On other occasions, TSA destroys whatever locking device you are using, and you find the destroyed parts of your lock inside your suitcase. They are within their legal rights to do this.

Obviously you have no alternative but to use the suitcases you have purchased for this vacation. I really think you will be OK in terms of the size of your luggage. TSA will not check your luggage if you claim it at the first airport where you land. If you re-check your luggage to fly to another destination, it will be subject to TSA inspection.

Derby
Level Contributor
32 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Delta LHR to JFK checked baggage size restrictions

Thank you for your reply busy-retired, I will definately make sure I'm more vigilant around airline policy in the future but as you say, we have no choice for tomorrow. I am hoping we will be fine as they really aren't huge (I've certainly seen people checking in much bigger suitcases on recent flights, albeit charter flights in Europe, not the US). They are nowhere near 203cm, more like 161cm.

I am very interested in your reply regarding the case locks. In the UK many stores & suitcase manufacturers are selling these cases on the basis of the TSA key, telling us that it prevents the need for breaking the lock & therefore damaging the case. I've been sold a dummy!!

We don't have any internal connections just London to NYC return so hoping there are no issues.

Thanks again

atlanta
Level Contributor
4,125 posts
41 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Delta LHR to JFK checked baggage size restrictions

Not sur why the people told you it would be ok since most airline profit now is coming from those fees.

And the big risk is that with a suitcase at the Delta limit it can be very easy to over on weight and that is probably more likely to catch you then size. So be careful about the weight

I agree these built in locks are just a problem waiting to happen. I would just leave them unlocked

Derby
Level Contributor
32 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Delta LHR to JFK checked baggage size restrictions

No issues with weight. The cases are only 3.7kg and going out, they are less than half full. We could put our clothes into 1 case (which we often do if going on a short holiday) but we want some space to bring a bit of shopping back.

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
14,121 posts
243 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Delta LHR to JFK checked baggage size restrictions

If you are not flying anywhere but to NYC the TSA agents will probably not examine your luggage when you land. They can, however, examine luggage on your return flight.

I am a little concerned about your comment that you are taking one suitcase to bring home things that you purchase on your vacation.

Theft from checked luggage and theft of an entire suitcase from the luggage carousel is a problem in the US. I am sure it is a problem everywhere. It seems like every month there is another news story where TSA workers have been caught slipping jewelry and electronics from suitcases. Your checked luggage is also vulnerable to the people who manage your luggage, and some of them are not honest either.

My general rule is to pack nothing in a checked bag that I am not completely willing to never see again. While only 1% of airline luggage is legitimately lost, the percentage of theft is much higher. I hate having to manage carry-ons, but our medication, all of the electronics we no longer seem able to live without, what little pieces of jewelry I might have, along with any other special treasures have to go into carry-ons because I cannot risk putting them in checked luggage.

I have read many reports of people who have had expensive luggage with built-in locks completely destroyed from TSA searches, and I do not think I have ever been at the luggage carousel where I have not seen at least one bag with a built-in lock that was damaged. Many people advise travelers to leave suitcases unlocked. In your case, however, I do not know if that would protect your luggage. These people are working quickly, and if they see a suitcase with a built-in lock they will probably just assume that it is locked.

I am not sure you have been sold a "dummy", but my philosophy is to spend as little money as possible on airline luggage. I buy the most ugly suitcases I can find so no one can accidentally pick up my black bag that is identical to his black bag. No one wants my ugly green suitcase or my new neon pink suitcase. My husband will not even stand near that suitcase.

I hope to not only deter accidental removal of my luggage from the carousel, but I also hope that people handling my luggage will look at it and immediately assume that anyone with such dreadful taste, and using such cheap luggage would have nothing of value inside. At the very minimum, I can always find my suitcases immediately when they hit the carousel.

Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Winter Sports
Level Contributor
17,484 posts
403 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Delta LHR to JFK checked baggage size restrictions

I fly Delta routinely with a rolling duffel that is actually right at or over (if packed full) the size limit. I've never once seen anyone get out a tape measure. As noted, weight is a more pressing concern. I wouldn't sweat this too much. And clearly you want to be casual about it when checking in - don't ask the question.

FYI, as noted, all airlines have always had size limitations. DL did change about a year ago to somewhat smaller dimensions.

Good luck.

Liverpool, UK
Level Contributor
19,044 posts
34 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Delta LHR to JFK checked baggage size restrictions

All I can add is that on all the flights I've taken to the US the check in clerk is too busy checking paperwork, looking at their computer screen to pay too much attention to the bag size although I'm always under baggage limits in terms of size/weight.

As long as you are under weight limits and only marginally in excess of size limits I doubt you'll have any problems but you never know.

Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
37,556 posts
953 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Delta LHR to JFK checked baggage size restrictions

<<It seems like every month there is another news story where TSA workers have been caught slipping jewelry and electronics from suitcases. Your checked luggage is also vulnerable to the people who manage your luggage, and some of them are not honest either.>>

Yes, the lead story on the "Evening News" is "TSA workers stealing from luggage," and this is often followed up by "Baggage handlers caught stealing from luggage."

While I see most of these in the US, I have no sense of security that they do not happen in other countries, as well.

I try to never pack anything of much value to others, in any checked bag, and so far, that has worked pretty well. Now, if I could ONLY get TSA to not steal my cigar cutters from my golf bag! I now make sure to have one in my carry-on briefcase, for when the cigar-smoking TSA agents strike again.

Hunt