Last Updated on February 9, 2021
Despite what you might have heard a 55 x 40 x 20 cm bag is not significantly smaller than a 22 x 14 x 9 inch bag.
The maximum capacity of a US-style 22x14x9 bag is 45 liters.
And the maximum capacity of a 50cm x 40cm x 20cm bag is 44 liters.
So there really isn’t much difference in how much these bags will hold.
What is a right pain in the ass is that the shape is different from the carry on that you might already have in your closet.
That means if you are going to be flying on an airline with a 55 x 40 x 20 cm hand luggage limit then your old bag probably isn’t going to cut it.
Here are some 50 x 40 x 20 cm and under bags that will do the job:
- Travelpro Maxlite 5 International – 55 x 40 x 20 cm
- IT Luggage Los Angeles – 55 x 36 x 18.5 cm
- Rockland Luggage F102 – 53 x 33 x 19 cm
- Eaglecreek Expanse – 54 x 35 x 20 cm
- Osprey Farpoint 40 Backpack – 53 x 35 x 23 cm (but squashable)
Read on to find out why I selected those options.
What’s An Inch Here & There…
In case you are wondering…
55 x 40 x 20 cm is 21.65 x 15.74 x 7.87 in inches.
It’s that 20 cm depth that makes it hard to find suitable bags. Chunky US luggage is usually 9 inches deep.
And no, you won’t get away with just using your slightly over-sized bag.
Air China, the most popular airline with that size limit, is strict about carry-on luggage size.
And Ryanair, another popular airline using this size, is the airline that famously wanted to start charging passengers £1 to use the onboard toilet. Ryanair is not an easy-going operation.
So, unfortunately, you are going to need a bag that is under the size limit.
Most importantly, any good 55 x 40 x 20 cm luggage will also have this 1 essential feature.
It should be lightweight!
That’s because all the airlines that use the 55 x 40 x 20 cm carry on limit also have strict weight limits.
Let’s take a look.
Carry On Weight Limits
I don’t know what airline you are intending to fly with.
But I’ll bet it’s probably in the table below.
These are the airlines around the world that use a 55 x 40 x 20 cm carry on size and their carry on weight limits:
|50 x 40 x 20 Airline||Carry On Weight Limit|
|Air China||11 lbs|
|Ryanair (paid)||22 lbs|
|Asiana Airlines||22 lbs|
|Blue Panorama||22 lbs|
|Croatia Airlines||17.6 lbs|
|Iceland Air||22 lbs|
|Korean Air||22 lbs|
|Royal Air Maroc||22 lbs|
|Ukraine Int.||15 lbs|
All these airlines have quite restrictive weight limits!
So you need to think carefully about the weight of your luggage when it’s empty. It’s the top thing to consider when buying 50 x 40 x 20 cm baggage.
A lot of carry-on luggage can weigh 8 or 9 lbs when empty.
It’s best to choose a lighter built suitcase since you don’t want to use up a significant portion of your weight allowance before you even pack any clothes or belongings.
Suppose you were flying with Air China and rocking an 8 lb suitcase. That would only leave you 3 lbs for your belongings!
Getting past the sizer isn’t your main problem. It’s getting past the luggage scales!
5 pairs of socks will weigh around 1 lb.
3 t-shirts will probably weigh around 1 lb. And a single pair of jeans might weigh 1 lb.
And there you go you’ve used up your weight allowance for Air China!
That’s before you think about bringing a laptop or other heavier items.
So when choosing your 55cm x 40cm x 20cm bag it’s all about the weight!
Baggage Under 55 x 40 x 20 cm
If you want luggage that is as close as possible to 55x40x20 then consider the TravelPro Maxlite 5 International Spinner.
It’s designed to push this size limit to the max and give you the lots of storage capacity.
It’s 5.4 lbs which is reasonably lightweight for luggage of this build quality.
Travelpro makes really good luggage and normally I’d be saying… buy this!
Slow Down… Do You Really Want A 40 cm Wide Bag?
You probably don’t want a 40 cm wide bag since you’ll not be able to use it on most of the other airlines.
Many airlines won’t let you have luggage wider than 35 cm.
A bag like the Maxlite 5 international might just end up gathering dust if you don’t fly on regularly on airlines that allow 40 cm wide baggage.
There Is A Sweet Spot For International Cabin Luggage
For the “goldilocks” size of carry-on luggage will fit most airlines around the world I usually recommend 21 x 14 x 8 inches.
That’s basically 53 x 35 x 20 cm. It’s only 38 liters capacity but you be able to use a bag like that all over the world.
With that in mind consider the following options:
IT Luggage Los Angeles
My favorite lightweight luggage is the IT Luggage World’s Lightest.
Dimensions: 55 x 36 x 18.5 cm ( 21.8 x 14.2 x 7.3 inches)
Weight: 1.73 kg (3.81 lbs)
The Los Angeles isn’t very expensive and while it won’t last a lifetime it will be good for a number of trips.
Rockland Luggage also produces a small bag that would fit under these limits.
Dimensions: 53 x 33 x 19 cm (21″ x 13″ x 7.5″)
Weight: 6 lbs
While the Rockland is a little smaller with only a 32 liter capacity it also comes with a 14 liter tote bag.
If your airline permits you to bring a personal item as well as a carry on then this will increase the amount of baggage that you can bring.
The Eaglecreek Expanse International Carry On Bag is very close to being a perfect size for globe trotting.
Dimensions: 54 x 35 x 20 cm
Weight: 2.56 kg (5 lbs 11 oz)
Another option, if you are able to, would be to consider carry on backpacks.
My favorite is the Osprey Farpoint 40 and although the listed dimensions are slightly oversize you’ll easily squeeze a backpack into a sizer if you don’t stuff it full.
What’s more because you don’t have the wheels and frame the Farpoint 40 only weighs 3.5 lbs.
You can find 55 x 40 x 20 cm luggage if you look carefully.
But make sure you don’t buy a suitcase that is too heavy because your airline will likely have a strict weight limit.
Remember that wheels and handles do count when measuring baggage.
Traveling light is mandatory when flying carry on only with Air China because you can only bring 11 lbs.
When dealing with extreme weight limits it can be better to lose the wheels and switch to a backpack if you are fit and able to do so.
If you want some tips on reducing the weight of your luggage and traveling and packing light then check out this post.
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