Update: Nevermind! Airline Group Rescinds Plans to Shrink Your Carry-On Bags

June 18, 2015  |  

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Update: A few weeks ago, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced plans to shrink our carry-on bags and — well  — let’s just say the public didn’t take it too well. After facing major backlash, the airline group is rescinding the proposal, according to the Consumerist.

The IATA launched a campaign, known as “Cabin OK,” to reduce airlines’ maximum dimensions for carry-on bags to make room for more overhead bin space. However, consumers — and even politicians — were not buying it. Many say that these new proposed restrictions are just another way for airlines to nickle-and-dime passengers.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) pointed out that IATA’s “luggage diet” might be an “industry ploy related to baggage fees since dubious tactics, like hidden fees, are already used to trick consumers.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) agreed: “Enough already! They charge a fee for peanuts, for leg room, for just about anything,” he said. “Luggage companies have made carry-on bags and now, all of a sudden, millions of them won’t fit.”

Schumer was referring to the fact that IATA’s proposal would shrink the carry-on maximum down to 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches — this is about 20 percent smaller in comparison to the current dimensions of major airlines. These restrictions would have rendered the bags of millions of travelers obsolete.

Caught up in all the hoopla, IATA backpedaled on its plans to change the carry-on size and will begin a “comprehensive reassessment in light of concerns expressed, primarily in North America.”

“While many welcomed the Cabin OK initiative, significant concerns were expressed in North America. Cabin OK is a voluntary program for airlines and for consumers. This is clearly an issue that is close to the heart of travelers. We need to get it right. Today we are pausing the rollout,” said Tom Windmuller, Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, in a press release.

IATA added that there was a lot of confusion concerning the campaign and wanted to clarify the following: “…No consumer will be forced into buying a new bag as a result of this voluntary initiative.”

U.S. airlines have not agreed to accept IATA’s initiative, according to the Consumerist, because if more overhead bin space is the goal, carriers will just invest in making them bigger.

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Originally Posted on June 10, 2015

As if flying couldn’t be more of a headache, now the airline industry is saying our carry-on bags are too big. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is calling for tighter restrictions on the luggage we bring on board,  USA Today reports.

IATA, a trade group that advocates for most of the world’s major airlines, is proposing a new initiative to “optimize the the accommodation of carry-on bags.” IATA asserts that the new maximum allowance will be standardized, which would nix the problem of one carry-on bag size being accepted at one airline, but rejected at another.

However, the new standard size would also be 21 percent smaller than the current dimensions allowed by United, Delta, and American. IATA, in agreement with aircraft manufacturers, suggest the following dimensions: 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches. As of now, the three biggest airlines allow a maximum of 22 inches tall, 14 inches wide and nine inches deep.

In theory,  the new maximum size would allow everyone to snugly store their carry-on bags aboard a 120-seat aircraft or larger.

For late boarding passengers, Washington Post reports, this would be a benefit since overhead storage bins are often overstuffed.

“What we’re trying to do is take away that uncertainty from the 120th passenger in line – will I be able to bring my bag into the cabin?” said Perry Flint, a spokesman for IATA.

But for punctual passengers, the “perks” of smaller carry-on dimensions are difficult to spot. The carry-on bags of millions of passengers would be rendered obsolete.

Eight major airlines, according to the WaPo, have already decided to adopt IATA’s new recommendations: Air China, Avianca, Azul, Cathay Pacific, China Southern, Emirates, Lufthansa and Qatar.

“We’ll certainly be announcing more big carriers,” said Chris Goater, another spokesman for the transport association, according to WaPo. Lovely…

What do you think of IATA’s new recommendations?

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