Is a Backpack Considered a Personal Item on Delta? 

 February 19, 2022

By  Diane Wuthrich

Passengers who fly with Delta connection flights that have 50 seats or less are allowed to bring one carry-on bag as well as a personal item, both of which are free of charge. But since Delta doesn’t release a limit for the size of personal items, it leaves many passengers confused.

If a backpack can fit underneath the seat in front of you, it will be considered a personal item on Delta. The general size restriction for carry-on bags on Delta is 22 x 14 x 9 inches, so backpacks should be around 17 x 10 x 9 inches to be considered a personal item.

delta airlines plane

There are many other considerations to understand, since the type of Delta aircraft and seat class determines the space underneath seats too. Read on to learn more about them.

Is a Backpack a Personal Item on Delta Airlines?

All passengers on Delta connection flights with less than 50 seats are allowed to bring one carry-on bag, and one personal item, on the flight with them at no extra charge. It’s common knowledge that a carry-on bag will be kept in the overhead bin, and the size restrictions for this is at 22 x 14 x 9 inches. However, Delta is vague about the size of a personal item, which is placed underneath the seat in front of you.

Delta states that a personal item can either be a: purse, diaper bag, camera bag, briefcase, laptop computer, or an item that is of similar size (not bigger) with those previously listed. Given that, it can be said that a backpack that fits any of these item descriptions or sizes counts as a personal item on Delta as long as it would fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you.

The same goes for any other kind of bag; in fact, it wouldn’t really matter what the bag is called or how it’s styled, for as long as it fits.

To be sure about whether a backpack is considered a personal item, it should be around 17 x 10 x 9 inches in size or under to fit underneath seats. Though Delta is not extremely strict about personal items, if you are bringing an unusually large item, it’s always best to call Delta ahead of your flight to find out if they would allow it – just be sure to have the bag dimensions on hand.

What Is a Personal Item on Delta?

For Delta, a personal item can be anything you are bringing on the plane with you when traveling which can be stored under the seat in front of you. It can be: umbrella, blanket, assistive medical devices, personal care items, medical items, a purse, briefcase, small backpack, etc... Personal items are completely separate from each passenger’s carry-on allowance.

In addition, Delta also considers certain free carry-on items which are things you will be using during the flight. Examples of these include strollers, crutches, jackets, child safety seats, duty free goods, food or drink that you bought after the security checkpoint. If you aren’t sure if your personal item would be allowed on your flight, it’s always recommended to check with a Delta Airlines staff before you board your flight, and be sure to have the measurements of the said item with you.

Can I Bring a Backpack and a Carry-on on Delta?

Delta connection flights with 50 seats or less allow passengers to bring both a backpack and a carry-on. The condition is that a carry-on should be a maximum of 22 x 14 x 9 inches, or a total of 45 linear inches including its wheels and handles, which will be stored in the overhead compartment. Meanwhile, a backpack can be considered a personal item if it’s smaller than this, ideally 17 x 10 x 9 inches, meant for storing under the seat in front of you.

Delta Airlines Carry On Dimensions

Delta states that all carry-on items are required to meet the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, which cannot exceed 22 x 14 x 9 inches. Additionally, the FAA has a mandate that all carry-on goods should be kept in an enclosed storage compartment such as the overhead bin, or underneath the seat.

There are several backpack styles that would meet Delta’s carry-on requirements such as small travel backpacks, day pack backpacks, laptop bags, or school bags. Here are some examples that you can compare:

-   eBags TLS Mother Lode Travel Backpack
-   Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack
-   Swissgear SA1908 TSA Friendly Laptop Backpack

Delta Airlines Overhead Bin Size

Delta Airlines’ fleet is made up of Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, and Embraer planes. They all have varying overhead bin sizes depending on the seat class and type of plane.

Delta Underseat Dimensions

The underseat dimensions on most Delta flights is around 20 x 15 x 11 inches. However, it may vary depending on the seat location, boarding class, and type of airplane. For example, there are no underseat storage spaces for the front rows located right behind the bulkhead while smaller airplanes have smaller storage beneath seats.

If you intend to bring a backpack or any other personal item, bring one that is under 20 x 15 x 11 inches or better yet, around 17 x 13 x 9 inches or even smaller to ensure that it fits in underseat storage. These include small daypacks, laptop bags, or school bags, some great examples are listed below:

-   TUMI Alpha Bravo Sheppard Deluxe Brief Pack
-   Fjallraven Kanken Classic Backpack
-   Osprey Fairview 40 Women’s Travel Backpack

Recommended Carry-on Backpack Size for Delta

To bring a backpack as a carry-on for Delta flights, they should have a total of 45 linear inches, or around 22 x 14 x 9 inches. Here are some examples that are available:

-   North Face Borealis Backpack
-   Tortuga Women’s Setout 34L Backpack
-   Briggs & Riley Work-Cargo Backpack

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between carry on and personal item?

Carry-on items on Delta are those that can fit either into the overhead bin or underneath the seat. The dimension restrictions are a maximum of 45 linear inches, while weight restrictions vary from 7 to 10kg depending on the plane.

On the other hand, personal items should be around 17 x 13 x 9 inches or smaller, and should be able to fit in front of you. Personal items will be stored underneath the seat across from you, so that you can easily access things you’ll need during the flight or on your person.

Is Delta strict with personal item size?

Delta can be strict with the size of personal items especially with their smaller planes because the plane should have ample space for all passengers’ personal items. In some cases, you may be able to get away with a personal size item that’s an inch more than the maximum allowable size (22 x 14 x 9 inches).

If a Delta Airlines check-in attendant determines that your personal item has exceeded the size limits, there are three possible outcomes: it will be added to your check-in luggage (may have corresponding additional fees), be stowed away in the overhead compartment, or you may be denied boarding if the flight and cargo is already full.

Can I take two backpacks as carry on?

Delta only allows one carry-on per passenger whether it’s a backpack or another item , so taking two backpacks will either require you to pay an additional charge or have one of them checked into cargo.

Is there a weight limit for Delta carry on?

Delta carry-on weight restrictions vary from 7 to 10kg, depending on the plane.

About the author

Diane is our head writer and researcher for our backpack informational content. Her everyday carry is a Herschel.

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