Global air­line group scraps idea of smaller carry-on bags: exec

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY ROB GILLIES

A global air­line as­so­ci­a­tion said Wed­nes­day that it was scrap­ping its rec­om­men­da­tion to re­duce the size of carry-on bags for air trav­el­ers af­ter an “in­tense” re­sponse in North Amer­ica.

The In­ter­na­tional Air Trans­porta­tion As­so­ci­a­tion, a Mon­tre­al­head­quar­tered trade group whose mem­bers rep­re­sent nearly 85 per­cent of to­tal air traf­fic, said that it is can­cel­ing its pro­posal af­ter “sig­nif­i­cant con­cerns” were raised in North Amer­ica.

“This is clearly an is­sue that is close to the heart of trav­el­ers. We need to get it right,” IATA Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent Tom Wind­muller said.

The group rec­om­mended last week that air­lines re­quire car­ryon bags to be 20 per­cent smaller than what ma­jor U.S. car­ri­ers cur­rently per­mit say­ing that would al­low for more space.

Two U.S. sen­a­tors crit­i­cized the idea, say­ing it would re­quire pas­sen­gers to pay more and buy new lug­gage. A top U.S. air­line group that in­cludes the world’s three largest air car­ri­ers — Amer­i­can, Delta and United — also for­mally came out against the pro­posal on Wed­nes­day.

The cur­rent max­i­mum car­ryon size, depend­ing on the air­line, ranges from a length of 22 to 24 inches ( 56 to 60 cm), a width of about 14 to 18 inches ( 36 to 46 cm) and a depth of 9 to 16 inches (23 to 41 cm).

The air­line groups sug­gested stan­dard­iz­ing the per­mit­ted carry-on size to 21.5 by 13.5 inches (55 by 34 cm) and a depth of 7.5 inches (19 cm).

The IATA in­sisted that was merely a rec­om­men­da­tion, not a re­quire­ment, as each air­line de­cides the max­i­mum size of car­ryon lug­gage on its own.

When an­nounc­ing the rec­om­men­da­tion the group had said the smaller size would help avert the prob­lem that trav­el­ers com­monly face when a plane cabin runs out of stor­age space by the time all the pas­sen­gers board.

Many in­ter­na­tional air­lines al­ready have agreed to adopt the pro­posed pol­icy, in­clud­ing Air China, Azul, Pa­cific, China South­ern, Emi­rates, Lufthansa and Qatar.

But Delta Air Lines came out against the pro­posal ear­lier this week. In a state­ment Tues­day, the At­lanta-based air­line said: “Delta has no plans to re­duce the size al­lowance for carry-on bags, and we are con­cerned IATA called for a change with­out in­put from air­lines. Our fo­cus and in­vest­ment in the carry-on ex­pe­ri­ence have been on in­stal­la­tion of larger bins on do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional air­craft, and will con­tinue to be on de­liv­er­ing the re­li­able bag ser­vice - checked or carry-on - that Delta cus­tomers have come to ex­pect.”

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