How many bags are allowed on Delta

Delta carry-on baggage policy

So soon I'll be flying with Delta (from Europe to the US if that matters) and I'm trying to understand what I can take with me on my seat.

The following conditions have been taken from Delta’s official hand baggage policy.

We know you've probably heard it before, but just in case you need a reminder: you are only allowed to a carry-on bag and a personal item have on board for free. Just make sure they fit in the trash or under the seat in front of you. Cram sessions aren't nice - and they slow things down.

So what exactly is allowed?

Approved Personal Items

  • 1 wallet, briefcase, camera bag or diaper bag
  • or 1 laptop (computers cannot be checked)
  • or 1 item with a size similar or smaller than the ones listed above

followed by

Hand luggage size restrictions It does not fit. Three words you don't want to hear when you get in. To avoid delays and potential checked baggage fees, keep the following size requirements in mind:

  • Baggage must not exceed a combined length, width and height of 45 cm (45 inches), including all handles and wheels, with the exception of small musical instruments that fit in the space available at the time of the year in the overhead compartment or under the seat
  • The baggage must comply with the size restrictions for hand baggage (approx. 56 x 35 x 23 cm). The templates for checking the reference size are located at the ticket counters and at the gates.

Here's the part I don't understand. A laptop is an electronic device, it is neither a bag nor an electronic device in a bag. A laptop backpack with a laptop inside would qualify as hand luggage (backpack) and personal item (laptop) as per the above, leaving no room for proper hand luggage like the one below (which is intended for that purpose) on this question the reader should assume that it complies with the size restrictions above.

I find the literal interpretation ridiculous (I'm not a seasoned traveler). Who takes their laptops with them without laptop bags? Should people just hold onto their laptops? What about other components that are often paired with laptops like mice, chargers, and USB drives?

I think a much more reasonable interpretation is that I am allowed to get a laptop in its proper backpack / bag, as well as hand luggage as described above.

I have turned to Delta repeatedly, but they don't give exact answers and always err on the side of ambiguity, hence this question.

Can someone explain to me whether or not I can take a laptop in the correct backpack, plus carry-on luggage like the one in the picture above?


A laptop bag or briefcase can be considerably smaller than a backpack. Even so, my daughter has flown Delta dozens of times and got on board successfully with what you describe: a laptop backpack and a carry-on suitcase. I've flown Delta hundreds of times domestically and internationally and have never had problems boarding with a 22 "hardside carry-on bag and a large bag (e.g. a Longchamps 12.25" x 11.75 "x 4, 25 ").

Azor Ahai

Since when can computers no longer be checked?

David Richerby

@ AzorAhai Large lithium batteries are not allowed in the hold.

Federico Poloni

@DavidRicherby So that would mean desktop computers that don't contain lithium batteries can be checked?

David Richerby

@FedericoPoloni It wouldn't be against IATA regulations. You'd have to check with the airline to be sure, but I'm assuming Delta only writes for 99.99% of people for whom "traveling with a computer" means "traveling with a laptop".

Peter M.

I think you thought it over a little. However, I believe that if you say you are getting it right

I think a much more reasonable interpretation is that I am allowed to get a laptop in its proper backpack / bag, as well as hand luggage as described above.

I also think of something like this:

You will be assigned two slots for hand baggage. One slot is in the overhead bin and the other slot is under the seat in front of you. As long as your hand luggage can be placed in your assigned slots, you're fine.

However, the size of the overhead container depends on the aircraft. So on a smaller aircraft, you may need to check to see if your overhead bin is too large for the aircraft in question.

You may also not have a seat in front of you. In this case, both Cary Ons have to be in the overhead lockers.

After all, cabin staff are aware of any potential problems and will try to accommodate you as best they can.

Of course, if there is space (or you are on the plane first) you can take your hand luggage anywhere, and the reduced space becomes a problem for passengers boarding after you.

Honorary citizen of the world

I fly Delta extensively, about four times a month. Delta is very forgiving when it comes to moving on especially personal item. Your laptop bag can be almost the size of a normal carry-on bag. I use a backpack for my personal item and it almost fits the contents of normal hand luggage.

Peter M.

@HonoraryWorldCitizen In Fort Lauderdale, I saw a JetBlue customer service representative forcing the size of the carry-on racks, before the People went through security. It was a new experience.

Honorary citizen of the world

I've never flown Jet Blue before, maybe once. I expect the low cost airlines to be persistent in baggage enforcement. I am wary of all airlines except Delta and American. The American IMO pursues a very generous policy of continuation.


I always found this policy a bit strange and a colleague abused it. He has a large laptop backpack and carry-on luggage that is the maximum size so he doesn't need any checked baggage at all, as everything fits in these two "bags" for a week or two.

David Richerby

You are too literal. The regulations apply to items that are brought onto the aircraft separately.

  • If you have a laptop in a laptop bag in your trolley bag, this is one element: the trolley bag.

  • If you have a laptop in a laptop bag and also a roller bag, these are two items: the laptop bag and the roller bag.

  • When you have a laptop outside of the bag and a roll-up bag, these are three items: the laptop, the laptop bag, and the roll-up bag. In practice, however, the staff will almost certainly allow you to take this combination with you on the plane. They realize that when they object, just sticking to the letter of the policy by putting your laptop in your pocket until you're on the plane and then taking it out again. It would be pointless to make you do it.


The simplest way of thinking is "a carry-on bag and a personal item," so just two items. When you have a laptop bag, a backpack and a roll-up bag. That's three. If you schedule two articles, you are safe.


Can someone explain to me whether or not I can take a laptop in the correct backpack, plus carry-on luggage like the one in the picture above?

I flew on Delta last week with my laptop in a laptop bag. The laptop bag fit under the seat in front of me and I had no problems. Keep in mind that with TSA, you will still need to remove and unplug the laptop from the bag once you go through security.

The basics here are

  1. You always have space under the seat in front of you (except bulkheads, guidelines vary there). If it fits, it sends flies. Most laptop bags fit here.
  2. Possibly you have space in the overhead bin. Priority boarding and zones 1 and 2 usually always have space. Zone 3 becomes dubious and you can basically forget about it for zone 4. They still check hand baggage (i.e. no fees).

My tips for going on are

  • Find a decent travel bag or backpack for your belongings. I've flown with a friend a couple of times and they were a little more forgiving than my small 21-inch carry-on suitcase (i.e. they left it on while they forced me to check mine).
  • Invest in the smaller 21-inch carry-on suitcase. The older and larger sizes still take up more space. The 21 inch suitcases initially fit vertically and on wheels, which means that the chances of finding a spot (and thus avoiding such inconvenience) are far greater)