Air­line group backs off plans for smaller carry-ons due to out­cry


A ma­jor air­line in­dus­try group said Wed­nes­day it is back­ing off plans to in­tro­duce a stan­dard size carry- on bag that would be smaller than some coun­tries cur­rently al­low on planes.

The Geneva- based In­ter­na­tional Air Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion ( IATA) said in a state­ment it was “paus­ing the roll­out of its Cabin OK ini­tia­tive and be­gin­ning a com­pre­hen­sive re­assess­ment in light of con­cerns ex­pressed, pri­mar­ily in North Amer­ica.”

The plan was an­nounced at the group’s an­nual meet­ing in Mi­ami Beach ear­lier this month, and was sub­se­quently met with out­cry from some U. S. law­mak­ers and a hand­ful of U. S. air­lines, in­clud­ing Delta.

“We are con­cerned IATA called for a change with­out in­put from the air­lines,” Delta said in a state­ment this week.

“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 re­li­able bag ser­vice — checked or carry- on — that Delta cus­tomers have come to ex­pect.”

IATA’s Tom Wind­muller told re­porters on June 9 that the pro­posal had been met with en­thu­si­asm from many air­lines, be­cause it would end last- minute bick­er­ing at the gate over whether pas­sen­gers’ bag would fit on a crowded flight.

The ideal size for a carry- on bag on larger jets with 120 pas­sen­gers or more was de­ter­mined — af­ter con­sul­ta­tions with Boe­ing and Air­bus — to be 55 cen­time­ters tall, 35 cen­time­ters wide and 20 cen­time­ters deep.

Many air­lines have dif­fer­ent size re­stric­tions, and bags that fit this new size would be marked with a la­bel “IATA Cabin OK.”

Ever since the an­nounce­ment, in­ter­est has been “in­tense,” IATA said.

“This is clearly an is­sue that is close to the heart of trav­el­ers. We need to get it right,” said Wind­muller, who is IATA’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent, air­port, pas­sen­ger, cargo and se­cu­rity.

“To­day we are paus­ing the roll­out and launch­ing a com­pre­hen­sive re­assess­ment of the Cabin OK pro­gram with plans to fur­ther en­gage pro­gram par­tic­i­pants, the rest of our mem­bers, and other key stake­hold­ers.”

IATA said the idea was meant to be a guide­line for an ideally sized bag, not an in­dus­try stan­dard.

“Cabin OK does not seek to de­fine a max­i­mum size for carry- on bags, which is some­thing each air­line does in­di­vid­u­ally. And no con­sumer will be forced into buy­ing a new bag as a re­sult of this vol­un­tary ini­tia­tive,” the state­ment said.

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