Have you actually ever measured the dimensions of your carry-on luggage? All airlines set maximum dimension limits (length by width by depth); some of them (Spirit, Frontier) now charge passengers for overhead-stowable carry-ons, and some are getting more serious about enforcing the size limits (like Air Canada, which now won’t let bags in the cabin unless they have received an “approved” tag from airline staff).
And now the worldwide airline trade organization has proposed that its member carriers to adopt uniform size standards for carry-ons — standards that are slightly smaller than major U.S. carriers currently allow.
The International Air Transport Association wants the maximum carry on bag size to be 7.5″ x 13.5″ x 21.5″ — including wheels. That compares with an existing standard of 9″ x 14″ x 22″ at United, American and Delta.
Southwest and Virgin America offer consistently larger bins and both have a larger bag size limit of 24″ x 16″ x 10″. Alaska’s is even larger at 24″ x 17″ x 10″. All three use this as a selling point, so I’m not convinced this new standard is going to be adopted worldwide.
Southwest told TravelSkills: “We follow an FAA-regulated and approved baggage program and have no current plans to change our carry-on baggage size policies. Customers are still allowed to check two bags for free on Southwest and travel with carry-on baggage that meet the existing size policies.”
Plus, many of the newer aircraft flown by major US carriers now offer much larger bins capable of handling bags larger than these proposed limits.
IATA said it selected the proposed dimensions based on discussions with Boeing and Airbus about what size bags would best fit in overhead bins. It has also started talking with luggage manufacturers about developing bags with the new maximum dimensions. The proposed new bags would carry a tag that says “Cabin OK” to let gate agents know they’re pre-approved, size-wise.
Will this idea fly with U.S. airlines? With passengers? Would you go out and buy a new bag if your airline of choice requires it…or would you switch your airline of choice?
And consider this idea previously mentioned in the comments here on TravelSkills: To get a grip on the seemingly uncontrollable carry-on bag issue, airlines should let checked bags fly free– and only charge for carry ons. What do you think about that solution?
NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: Big red tail back at SFO + Bumped out of first class by air marshall? + Newest Centurion Lounge + My favorite travel pants