Old Jan 2, 19, 4:39 pm
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: NUQ
Programs: UA Gold, AS MVP
Posts: 3,901
No, it's not strict. I have a bag that's just within the 22x14x9 limit, and on literally every flight, I see passengers carry noticeably larger bags.

Having said that, if you fly frequently enough, a by-the-book agent is going to catch up to you. While I agree with @gobluetwo I've noticed GAs (especially on American Airlines) be stricter with the early boarding groups. Gate agents will get the first few folks to size their bags. Then, as the line grows longer and more passengers get anxious to scan their BPs, the GAs drop the schtick.

With an oversize bag, the worst case is you'll be forced to check the bag and pick it up at baggage claim. So just be sure you can quickly grab any essentials out of the bag, if it comes to that.

Edit to add. Some years ago at PHL, I was stopped in the ticketing area -- as I was walking to the TSA line -- by an AA agent who demanded I size my bag. It fit, and I was on my way, but it very much felt like a sting operation.
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