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And the squeeze goes on: are carry-ons next?

The battle of the overhead bins may take on a new look


Good things often come matched with bad things. This week, the International Air Transport Association, which represents about 250 airlines worldwide, has proposed new baggage standards.

  • The good part: IATA is calling for an industry-wide standard which would mean that if your bag is cabin-ready for one airline it would be ok for all—far from the situation now.
  • The bad part: the proposal calls for a maximum carry-on size that would require many travelers to buy new luggage (not that the luggage-makers would mind).

IATA's proposal includes the idea that in larger planes (120 seats and up) every passenger should be able to store a bag in the overhead compartments. The proposed new rules would call for a size of 21.5" x 13.5" x 7.5" while many airlines, including American, Delta and United allow 22"x14"x9"


The significant shrink is really the depth. Going from 9" to 7" would allow more bags to fit current bins. Gumbo has been checking the catalogs, and found that most current 22 and 21-inch carryons, the most common size, actually already fit the 21.5" and 13.5" rules, but bags that the 7" standard appear only to be newly-introduced models offered ahead of the new proposal. They carry an "IATA Cabin OK" label.


For those of us who have learned to get our entire trips into a single 21-incher, the 7" rule means losing over 20%j of the interior space of the suitcase. That could mean either paying fees to check the bag, or giving up some more of what we meant to take. 


A number of airlines have indicated they will begin phasing in the new standard, although no major U.S. carriers are on the list. Some who are include Avianca, Azul, Caribbean, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Lufthansa and Qatar.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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I favor standardizing, but think the seven inches depth is too skimpy.  Nothing is more frustrating than having a bag that is okay as a carry-on with one airline, but to large with a connecting airline.  


Still, overall it looks like we're getting screwed again!

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

So far, it appears, all the North American majors are staying out of it. Perhaps if this could be rethought so the depth could stay at 9", and the other two change, it would get more love from us customers...

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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