Last updated: 09:48 AM ET, Mon July 06 2015

IATA Puts Smaller Carry-On Baggage Plan On Hold

Airlines & Airports | International Air Transport Association (IATA) | Patrick Clarke | June 17, 2015

IATA Puts Smaller Carry-On Baggage Plan On Hold

Following a week of controversy, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced on Wednesday that it will halt the rollout of its Cabin OK carry-on luggage initiative and instead reassess its polarizing strategy.

Launched on June 9, the initiative first appeared aimed at shrinking the size of carry-on luggage in order to fit more bags on aircraft and speed up the boarding process. However IATA released another press release just days later clarifying its stance and calling the proposed bag size optimum rather than a maximum.

The organization, which represents 250 airlines worldwide, said the goal of the initiative was to create a size guideline rather than a limit, which is set by the individual airline. 

The new Cabin OK labeled bag would measure 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches compared to the current 22 x 14 x 9 inches, but would not be required so consumers wouldn't be forced to purchase a new piece of luggage. The smaller bag would provide consumers several benefits, including priority based on the airline. 

"Our focus is on providing travelers with an option that would lead to a simplified and better experience. While many welcomed the Cabin OK initiative, significant concerns were expressed in North America," said the organization's senior vice president of airport, passenger, cargo and security Tom Windmuller in a statement. 

"Cabin OK is a voluntary program for airlines and for consumers. This is clearly an issue that is close to the heart of travelers. We need to get it right. 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," he added.

Earlier Wednesday, Airlines For America announced that no U.S. airlines would support the Cabin OK initiative.

"A4A and its members reject the recent carry-on size initiative put forth by IATA because it is unnecessary and flies in the face of the actions the U.S. carriers are taking to invest in the customer experience — roughly $1.2 billion a month — including larger overhead bins,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “Our members already have guidelines in place on what size bags they can accommodate, making this action unnecessary. We agree with IATA’s action to reassess this initiative and take into account stakeholders’ views and recognize work already underway to improve baggage facilitation.”


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