Damn!! – Airlines Want You To Buy New “Cabin OK” Luggage

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Jun 10 2015
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New conspiracy revealed – airline authorities are working hand in glove with luggage manufacturers to rip off travellers big time. And how do they plan to do that? The International Air Transport Association (IATA), working together with Boeing and Airbus has recommended a new sized bag to be allowed onto a plane (*grin*).


The guideline says the carry-on bags have to be at 21.5 inches (55 cm) tall by 13.5 inches (35-cm) wide and 7.5 inches (19-cm) deep. The new measurement means that passengers can only bring in 21% smaller than the size currently permitted by American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and even the bankrupt Malaysian Airlines.

Travellers IATA New Carry-On Luggage Measurements

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines all currently allow bags up to 45 inches (22 x 14 x 9 inches) or 115 centimeters (23 x 36 x 56 cm). Malaysian Airlines allows up to 46 inches (22 x 14 x 10 inches) or 115 centimeters (25 x 36 x 56 cm). The problem with the new guideline is this – it is about an inch and a half shallower (depending on airlines) – so you can’t overstuff.


So far, nine major international airlines have already decided to adopt the new rules, namely Air China, Avianca, Azul, Caribbean Airlines, Cathay Pacific, China Southern, Emirates, Lufthansa and Qatar. However, for the time being, the new guideline is non-binding, and carriers are free to ignore the recommendation by IATA.

Travellers IATA New Carry-On Luggage - New Bag Sample

IATA claims the new guideline is designed to allow every passenger to have room for their carry-on bags in a plane of at least 120 seats (Boeing 737 or Airbus A320). That’s because currently, the last 20 or so passengers to board are likely forced to check their bags at the gate because the bins are already full.


Does this mean the airlines have found another way to make their problem the passenger’s problem?  Absolutely, according to many travellers and consultants. In reality, the lack of overhead space is due to airlines cramming too many seats on planes, hence reducing luggage compartment spaces, and in the process charging passengers to check their luggage.

Travellers IATA New Carry-On Luggage - New Standard vs Other Airlines Standard

With the new guideline, which could turn into a new mandatory rule, baggage manufacturers can expect a roaring business selling new bags with labels of compliance – “IATA Cabin OK“. Travellers who do not comply with the new smaller suitcases could be forced to pay a typical US$25 each way, to check their bags. Hence, frequent fliers have to buy new bags to save money on the long run.


While the latest guideline by IATA, which acts for 260 major scheduled carriers, seems like a fair solution, the fact remains that gate crew and cabin crew would most likely reluctant to enforce such guideline. Actually, there’s already a set of guideline in place. But to prevent delay caused by lost tempers, arguments, violence and whatnot, the crew chooses to play dumb.

Travellers Cramping Carry-On Luggage Into Compartment

Clearly, there will be extra operating costs to ensure a strict compliance by passengers, which airlines would most likely refuse to spend. Hence, it is always back to the question of profits for the airlines. They want to maximise their profits but refuse to spend. And now they want you to buy new luggage to solve the problem that they created in the first place.


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This is a problem US airlines could solve in a heartbeat by simply enforcing their existing carry-on rules. However, if they should do so, I suspect only coach flyers will be affected.

After all, US airlines learned a long time ago that a majority of their revenue comes from a small number of flyers and US airlines would rather let the peons suffer than enforce rules that affect their high-paying and high-volume passengers.

As a frequent flyer who does follow the rules, it is always entertaining to watch the entitled fly on a and learn that carry-on and checked baggage rules are applied consistently.

In the US, however, t

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