The Delta Airlines cabin baggage allowance is simple to understand. However, similar to other US ‘full-service’ carriers, the check-in baggage policy is quite complicated, and any free allowance will depend on your route and fare type/class of travel. Therefore, you should carefully check your allowance for your specific booking, noting that on certain routes seasonal limitations apply which override the standard allowances.
In this article, I explain Delta Airlines’ cabin and check-in baggage allowances, and I describe how you can purchase any additional baggage allowance that you may require.
Given the complexity of the Delta Airlines check-in baggage policy please consult Delta’s website for any latest information, and carefully check the conditions of travel before you book and confirm your ticket.
Delta Airlines Cabin Baggage
Each passenger flying with Delta can bring one carry-on bag and one personal item free of charge.
The carry-on bag is subject to size limitations and must fit in an overhead compartment. Carry-on items can include a small suitcase or an item of roll-aboard luggage.
The personal item can be a purse, a briefcase, a small backpack, a laptop bag, a camera bag, a diaper bag, or an item of similar size and must fit underneath the seat in front of you.
In addition, you can bring on board items such as:
- A jacket
- An umbrella
- Food or drink purchased at the airport after the security checkpoint
- Duty-free merchandise
- Special items like baby strollers, wheelchairs, child safety seats, or assistive devices such as crutches
Cabin Baggage Size Limitations
The combined length + width + height of cabin baggage items cannot exceed 45in (114cm), and the individual length, width and height measurements may not exceed 22 x 14 x 9in (56 x 35 x 23cm). These measurements include any handles or wheels, but do not apply to small musical instruments that can fit in an overhead compartment or in an under-seat space.
No maximum weight applies to cabin baggage items, except in the following locations.
- At Singapore Changi International Airport cabin baggage weight is restricted to a maximum weight of 15lb (7kg)
- At Beijing Capital International Airport, China domestic cabin baggage items are restricted to a maximum weight of 22lb (10kg)
- At Shanghai Pudong International Airport, China cabin baggage is limited to a maximum weight of 22lb (10kg)
Cabin Baggage Exceptions
- If your carry-on bag does not fit in an overhead compartment, or your flight is particularly busy and is short on overhead compartment space, a flight attendant or gate agent may ask you to check in your bag at the gate free of charge
- Passengers traveling on Delta Connection flights, including flights with 50 seats or less, are only permitted to carry personal items on board the aircraft due to limited overhead compartment space. Personal items must be able to fit securely under the seat in front of you or in overhead compartments
Delta Airlines Check-In Baggage
Delta charges fees for US domestic and Canada/Mexico flights, and includes up to two bags for international flights (dependent on your travel class/fare type). Reasonable fees apply for the first two check-in bags if these are not included with your ticket.
If you want to add more than two bags, and if your bags are overweight or oversized, you’ll be subject to some quite significant fees, so you’re advised to remain within your allocation if you can.
Check-in Baggage Allowances
Two free check-in bags are allowed for the following passengers:
- Delta Premium Select (premium economy)
- Delta One (business class – available on long-haul international flights and in certain long-haul domestic markets)
- First Class
If you are traveling in the main cabin on an economy class fare (Basic Economy, Main Cabin, or Delta Comfort+), your check-in bag allowance depends on your route, and varies from zero to two check-in bags. As there are many different rules you are advised to check the specific check-in baggage allowance for your chosen route and travel class/fare type using Delta’s baggage calculator. The calculator will also ask you about your frequent flyer status and whether you are a Delta SkyMiles American Express Card Member.
Two free check-in bags are allowed for economy class passengers on the following international routes:
- USA/Canada/Mexico – the Middle East and Pakistan
- Caribbean/Mexico/Central America – South America (excluding Guyana)
- USA/South America (excluding Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana) – USA/South America (excluding Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana), Main Cabin and Delta Comfort+ only
- Canada/South America (excluding Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana – Canada/South America (excluding Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana)
- Canada/Colombia – Canada/Colombia
- USA/Canada – Brazil
- USA/Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America (excluding Brazil) – Australia, New Zealand, and The Philippines
- USA/Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America – Asia
- USA/Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America – Southern and West Africa
- USA/Canada, Mexico – India
- USA/Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America (excluding Brazil) – First originating point of travel in India
- First originating point of travel in Ghana, Nigeria, Namibia, Angola, Egypt, Jordan, or Lebanon – USA/Canada, second bag free only for Main Cabin and Delta Comfort+
- USA/Canada – Ghana, Nigeria, Namibia, Angola, Egypt, Jordan, or Lebanon
Where bags are not free for Basic Economy fares, the first and second bag fees per bag range from $US30 to $US100 per bag each way.
One free check-in bag is allowed for economy class passengers on the following routes:
- USA/El Salvador, Ecuador, Panama – USA/El Salvador, Ecuador, Panama, Main Cabin and Delta Comfort+ only
- Canada/El Salvador, Ecuador, Panama – Canada/El Salvador, Ecuador, Panama
- USA/Canada & Mexico – Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan
- USA/Canada – Tahiti
- USA/Colombia – USA/Colombia, Main Cabin and Delta Comfort+ only
- USA – Israel, Main Cabin and Delta Comfort+ only
- USA/Canada – Europe and North Africa (Main Cabin and Delta Comfort+ only)
- Caribbean, Central America, South America (excluding Brazil) – Europe and North Africa
- Caribbean, Central America, South America (excluding Brazil) – the Middle East (excluding Israel)
- Europe – India
- Japan – Guam, Saipan, and Palau
- Mexico – Europe, Main Cabin and Delta Comfort+ only
- Caribbean, Central America, South America (excluding Brazil) – India
Where first bags are not free for Basic Economy fares, the fee per bag ranges from $US30 to $US60 per bag each way, and for all economy class passengers, the second bag fee ranges from $US40 to $US100.
On the following Americas/Caribbean routes, there is a zero free check-in baggage allowance for economy class passengers, and all check-in bags are subject to fees:
- USA (including Puerto Rico) – USA (including Puerto Rico)
- USA – Canada
- USA – US Virgin Islands, Central America, Caribbean, Guyana, and Bermuda
- USA/Canada – Mexico
- Mexico, Central America & Caribbean – Mexico, Central America & Caribbean
For these routes the first bag fee is $US30, and second bag fees range from $US40 to $US55 per bag each way.
Medallion members of Delta’s SkyMiles frequent flyer program and SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus Members receive the following baggage benefits:
- Within the USA and Canada:
- Silver: One free bag (70lb/32kg)
- Gold: Two free bags (70lb/32kg)
- Platinum or Diamond: Three free bags (70lb/32kg each)
- All other routes: One additional bag (50lb/23kg) when traveling in Comfort+, Main Cabin, or Basic Economy between the USA/Canada and any international destination, valid for up to eight travel companions on the same reservation, but does not apply to flights departing from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport or Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
If you are a Silver Medallion member and you also hold a SkyMiles American Express credit card you can receive a second 70lb/32kg check-in bag free for yourself and up to eight others traveling with you on the same reservation for flights within the USA and Canada.
Benefits For Co-Branded Credit Card Holders
If you have a Delta SkyMiles American Express Card, you, and up to eight travel companions on the same reservation, receive your first check-in bag (50lb/23kg) free on Delta flights booked with your card. This benefit applies to bags that are not overweight or oversize, and only on flight segments originating on a Delta or Delta Connection carrier when you check in with Delta for both a Delta marketed and Delta operated flight.
The eligible card types for the first bag-free benefit are as follows:
- Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card/Delta SkyMiles Gold Business American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card/Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card/Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card
Seasonal Check-in Baggage Limitations
At some airports, baggage embargoes are in place, during these times Delta accepts only a specified number of bags up to a specified weight limit. For all embargo destinations, the maximum size of each check-in bag is 62in total dimensions.
In addition, to the specified embargo destinations and dates, Delta will only accept boxes as check-in baggage to/from Central or South America if they are the original, factory-sealed box, and no boxes are accepted to/from Brazil, Mexico, and Chile at any time of the year. Also on regional jet services, no additional or excess baggage is accepted on Delta Connection or other regional jet flights to/from Mexico.
Delta embargo destinations and dates are as follows:
- Key West – all year round, maximum of one item for all passengers, 100lb (45kg)
- Lagos, Nigeria via Europe – all year round, maximum of four items for all passengers, 70lb (32kg)
- Quito, Ecuador – June 3 to August 31, maximum of two items for all passengers, 70lb (32kg)
- San Pedro Sula, Honduras – November 16 to January 16, maximum of five items for all passengers, 70lb (32kg)
- San Salvador*, El Salvador – June 3 to August 31, maximum of two items for all passengers, 70lb (32kg), and November 16 to January 16, maximum of five items for all passengers, 70lb (32kg)
- New York, JFK to/from Santiago, Dominican Republic – June 3 to August 31, SkyMiles Elite members up to three bags, and non-members up to two bags, 70lb (32kg), and November 16 to January 16, a maximum of five items for all passengers, 70lb (32kg)
- New York, JFK to/from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – June 3 to August 31, SkyMiles Elite members up to three bags, and non-members up to two bags, 70lb (32kg), and November 16 to January 16, a maximum of five items for all passengers, 70lb (32kg)
*Elite Delta SkyMiles members (Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond) traveling in Delta One or First Class are allowed up to three check-in bags for northbound travel originating in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Check-in Baggage Size and Weight Limitations
All check-in bags are limited to a maximum weight of 50lb (23kg) for Economy Class and 70lb (32kg) for Delta One, First Class, and Business Class passengers.
The maximum total dimensions of check-in baggage items is 62in (157cm).
When flying Delta your standard baggage allowance is either zero, one or two check-in bags depending on your route, and your class of travel/fare type. Fees then apply for your first or second bag if those are not free (see above).
If you want to take more than two bags, the Delta fees vary from $US100 to $US285 for each additional check-in baggage item.
Up to ten bags may be checked per passenger on flights operated by Delta or Delta Shuttle, and up to four check-in bags on Delta Connection carrier flights, except for embargo destinations during embargo periods.
Delta charges relatively high fees for bags that are oversized and/or overweight.
Overweight baggage charges are levied in two tiers:
- Tier 1 – 51-70lb (23-32kg)
- Tier 2 – 71-100lb (32-45kg)
Noting that the standard baggage weight for economy class passengers is 50lb/23kg and 70lb/32kg for premium passengers.
The overweight baggage fees are $US100-$US150 for Tier 1, and $US200 for Tier 2 per item each way, noting that on most embargo routes Tier 2 overweight bags (bags >70lb/32kg) are not permitted.
Oversized baggage fees apply to bags with total dimensions that exceed 62in (157cm) up to Delta’s maximum permitted dimensions of 80in (203cm). Oversized baggage fees vary from $US100 to $US300 per item each way, depending on your route.
Special Baggage Items
If you have an item of special baggage, you can meet with a Delta agent when you arrive at the airport who will assist you with checking in your special item, and let you know if any extra fees apply.
When traveling with Delta, special items include:
- Bags with a unique size or shape
- Bags that exceed the standard weight limits of 50lb/23kg or 70lb/32kg, or the standard size limit of 62in (157cm) total dimensions (length + width + height)
- Items for infants or children
- Musical instruments
- Sporting equipment
Traveling With Infants and Children
FAA-approved child restraint seats may be brought on board the aircraft if there is an open passenger seat in your row, or if you purchased a seat for your child. If an empty passenger seat is not available for your child restraint, the item must be checked in at the gate.
Delta does not charge for strollers or FAA-approved child-restraint seats and these items do not count towards your (or your child’s) baggage allowance. You can either check-in these items before security, or at the gate.
In addition to the one bag carry-on allowance, passengers may bring the following items into the aircraft cabin free of charge:
- Booster seat or other infant seat
- Breast pump and associated cooler bag
Note that booster seats cannot be used during taxi, take-off, or landing. These items must also meet Delta’s cabin baggage size restrictions.
Baggage allowances for children are based, in part, on the fare paid:
- If your child is traveling for free, there is no baggage allowance. So, any baggage for the child must be included in the accompanying adult’s baggage allowance.
- Children traveling on an international ticket that is 10% of the adult fare are allowed one check-in bag up to 20lb (10kg) in weight with maximum total dimensions of 45in/114cm, plus one fully collapsible stroller or push-chair
- Infants (<2 years old) without a seat on a transatlantic Basic Economy fare are not eligible for a free baggage allowance
- Children traveling on a ticket that is 50% or more of the adult fare, are entitled to a standard baggage allowance
Musical instruments are accepted on Delta and Delta Connection flights as either check-in baggage, cabin baggage, or you can book a seat, depending on your instrument’s size and shape.
Guitars and smaller musical instruments such as violins or flutes are accepted as your free carry-on bag item. Your instrument must fit in an overhead compartment or other approved storage location in the cabin.
Larger musical instruments can be checked-in if the total dimensions do not exceed 150in (381cm), and the weight, including the case, does not exceed 165lb (75kg). The exception to this is musical instruments that exceed 79in (200cm) in length are not accepted as check-in baggage on B767-300 aircraft to/from Tokyo-Narita, Japan. Delta’s standard fees for excess baggage apply.
Alternatively, you may purchase a full-fare ticket for a musical instrument. You can stow the instrument in any passenger seat with a bulkhead or a divider. For instruments in the cabin, these must not exceed 165lb (75kg) in weight.
You can take most sporting equipment on a Delta flight. Delta’s standard check-in baggage fees apply based on your route, and class of travel/fare type. Overweight baggage fees apply to bags that exceed 50lb/23kg and sporting equipment bags cannot exceed 115in/292cm total dimensions, or 100lb/45kg weight.
Any sporting equipment items in excess of your baggage allowance are subject to additional, overweight, and oversized baggage fees.
Details of Delta’s rules for sporting equipment can be found here:
When traveling with Delta, all passengers are allowed one carry-on bag and one personal item.
Delta’s check-in baggage allowances are complicated and depend on your route and class of travel/fare type. On some routes, all passengers receive either a one or two check-in bag free allowance. Whereas on other routes all Basic Economy, Main Cabin, and Delta Comfort+ passengers need to pay for their first and second check-in bags. In addition, Delta operates seasonal check-in baggage restrictions/embargoes on some routes.
I have tried to explain the multitude of rules and exceptions as clearly as I can in this article, but please check your exact allowance when you book your ticket and again before you travel to ensure you are within your allowance, otherwise additional and/or excess baggage fees will apply.