If the International Air Transport Association gets its way, there will be a standard size for carry-on bags allowed in overhead bins on all commercial planes around the world. Although the IATA recently proposed such a plan, many industry insiders do not think it will happen. This is because the new recommended size would be significantly smaller than most airlines in the USA currently allow.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), announced a new initiative to optimize the accommodation of carry-on bags given differing carry-on bag sizes and airline policies.
Working with airline members of IATA and aircraft manufacturers, an optimum size guideline for carry-on bags has been agreed that will make the best use of cabin storage space. A size of 55 x 35 x 20 cm (or 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches) means that theoretically everyone should have a chance to store their carry-on bags on board aircraft of 120 seats or larger.
An “IATA Cabin OK” logo to signify to airline staff that a bag meets the agreed size guidelines has been developed. A number of major international airlines have signaled their interest to join the initiative and will soon be introducing the guidelines into their operations.
“The development of an agreed optimal cabin bag size will bring common sense and order to the problem of differing sizes for carry-on bags. We know the current situation can be frustrating for passengers. This work will help to iron out inconsistencies and lead to an improved passenger experience,” said Tom Windmuller, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security.
IATA is working with baggage tracking solutions provider Okoban to manage the approval process of bag manufacturers. Each bag meeting the dimensions of the specifications will carry a special joint label featuring IATA and Okoban as well as a unique identification code that signals to airline staff that the bag complies with the optimum size guidelines.
Several major baggage manufacturers have developed products in line with the optimum size guidelines, and it is expected bags carrying the identifying label will start to reach retail shops later this year. Recognition of the IATA Cabin OK logo is expected to grow with time as more airlines opt-in to this IATA initiative.
Alaska Airlines now allows you to carry on luggage that measures up to 24 by 17 by 10 inches, which is more than 80 percent larger than the size the IATA is recommending. If you fly Southwest Airlines, you can carry on bags that are almost that big, and you can bring it on for free. Other US airlines that permit carry-on bags that are a little bit larger than the standard the IATA has proposed include JetBlue, Delta, United and American.