Airline group wants smaller carry-on bags

Airline group wants smaller carry-on bags
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The International Air Transport Association is pushing for airlines to shrink the allowed size of passengers' carry-on luggage.   

The proposal calls for limiting the size of bags that are carried onto flights to a size of 21.5 by 13.5 by 7.5 inches. Most U.S. airlines currently allow bags that are up to 22 by 14 by 9 inches. 

Tom Windmuller, IATA's senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo and security, said the move to adopt a smaller standard for carry-on luggage would streamline the boarding process for flights that are increasingly bogged down as passengers search for space in luggage bins. 

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“The development of an agreed optimal cabin bag size will bring common sense and order to the problem of differing sizes for carry-on bags," Windmuller  said in a statement. "We know the current situation can be frustrating for passengers. This work will help to iron out inconsistencies and lead to an improved passenger experience." 

Customer groups have attributed the increase in the amount of carry-on luggage to fees for checked baggage implemented by almost every U.S. airline in recent years. 

They say passengers are carrying on bags that they would have previously checked to their destinations to avoid the fees. 

Airlines have defended the bag fees, saying it allows passengers to choose how much luggage they want to bring on flights. 

The Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics said that airlines collected $3.5 billion from baggage fees in 2014. 

The IATA said this week that adopting a smaller standard carry-on size "means that theoretically everyone should have a chance to store their carry-on bags on board aircraft of 120 seats or larger." 

The group said it is working with luggage manufacturers to develop a process to identify bags that meet the new lower carry-on standard size. The compliant luggage would be identified with a logo reading "IATA Cabin OK" under the proposal.