Last updated: 02:46 PM ET, Fri June 12 2015

IATA Clarifies its Stance on Carry-On Guidelines

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | June 12, 2015

IATA Clarifies its Stance on Carry-On Guidelines

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Two days after announcing a new initiative designed to reduce the size of carry-on luggage to create more space in cabin bins – and two days after getting some pushback from airlines and some luggage-makers – the International Air Transport Association has clarified its position.

In a new press release, the airline trade group said its idea to create a guideline to assure everyone could bring a carry-on onboard without checking it was just that – a guideline.

"The Cabin OK guideline is not a maximum size limit," IATA said. "The maximum size of cabin baggage is set individually by each airline. This is not affected by the Cabin OK initiative."

IATA announced the plan Tuesday to shrink the size of carry-on luggage, ostensibly to create a uniform policy that would allow all carry-ons to fit in planes with more than 120 seats and to be able to board the aircraft more quickly with its new IATA-approved “Cabin OK” sticker.

Eight international airlines have already said they will adopt the new standard size suggested by IATA, which is 21 percent smaller than current carry-on maximum. The new carry-on size is 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches, compared to the current 22 x 14 x 9.

But that was only eight out of 260 airlines IATA represents, and many critics said it was a poor solution to a problem created by the airlines themselves.

One luggage-maker, Germany-based RIMOWA GmbH, even put out its own release this morning saying “we want to make it quite clear that we do not support plans to reduce the standard size of carry-on luggage, and neither have we provided such a recommendation to IATA or any airline company. If airlines accept and introduce the new dimensions for cabin baggage as recommended by IATA, we will of course be able to offer our customers RIMOWA products of a corresponding size. Furthermore, we would like to point out that there have been no standardised guidelines for carry-on luggage in the past despite previous recommendations from IATA because individual airlines are able to decide for themselves which dimensions are permitted.”

IATA clarified its initial announcement by saying Cabin OK is “an optimum size, not a maximum size (that) will give passengers greater certainty that their carry-on bag will be accepted in the cabin and should have a high priority to remain the cabin. … The Cabin OK initiative does not require passengers to buy new baggage. Cabin OK is not a revenue generating scheme for the airlines.”


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

Discover Club Med All-Inclusive Vacations

Hotels & Resorts