Travel Tips

Travel Tip: IATA Proposes New Dimensions for Carry-On Luggage

lojelOn June 9, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced something called the Cabin OK initiative, which was immediately met with resistance by many U.S. airlines, not to mention passengers. The initiative would create a new across-the-board guideline for smaller carry-on luggage dimensions.

Right now, airlines have different size limits for carry-on luggage and irregular enforcement of those standards.

The IATA stated that a suitcase with the maximum dimensions of 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches would be an optimum size that should allow all passengers to fit their bags on an aircraft of 120 or more seats.

According to a press release from the IATA,

“The IATA Cabin OK initiative for carry-on bags aims to provide passengers with a greater assurance that their carry-on bags will travel with them in the aircraft cabin, even when the flight is full.”

As many travelers can attest, airplanes will often reach capacity for overhead space before an airplane finishes boarding. Smaller carry-on bags could speed up the boarding process, as the overhead bins wouldn’t fill up as quickly.

The IATA also clearly stated that these new dimensions would not be a requirement for all carry-on luggage, but rather act as a guideline. The Association also released a full list of what this initiative does and does not include. On this list, it is stated that passengers would not have to buy new luggage. Individual airlines would be able to enforce carry-on size restrictions according to their own regulations.

Some controversy has been sparked about the idea of the Cabin OK logo on new luggage that meets these dimensions. The IATA argues that this is not part of a money-making scheme, but would rather act as an indicator to flight attendants and ground crew that the luggage should have priority within the airplane cabin.

Luggage manufacturer Lojel has even rolled out a new carry-on suitcase (pictured above) that meets these requirements. It should be available later this month, and will retail at $199.95.

However, Airlines for America (A4A), the U.S. airline lobby, has publicly rejected this initiative. A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio stated:

“A4A and its members reject the recent carry-on size initiative put forth by IATA because it is unnecessary and flies in the face of the actions the U.S. carriers are taking to invest in the customer experience — roughly $1.2 billion a month — including larger overhead bins. Our members already have guidelines in place on what size bags they can accommodate, making this action unnecessary.”

As of June 17, the IATA apparently backed away from the idea. The Association announced it is “beginning a comprehensive reassessment in light of concerns expressed, primarily in North America. This will include further engagement with program participants, the IATA membership, and key stakeholders.”

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