The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has developed an optimum size for carryon bags that it hopes will help airlines cope better with the thorny issue of cabin baggage and give passengers certainty about what they can bring on board an aircraft.
Following consultations with the major aircraft manufacturers, IATA has determined a 55cm x 35cm x 20cm bag is guaranteed to fit in an overhead locker or under the seat of an aircraft with 120 seats or more such as a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320.
And it is working with luggage brands such as Samsonite and Tumi to produce bags within that size to include an “IATA CABIN OK” logo that identifies a bag as compliant and participating airlines in the scheme will recognise.
Crown Luggage of China has produced the first batch of cabin bags featuring the “IATA CABIN OK” logo that was launched at the IATA annual general meeting in Miami.
So far, airlines such as Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa and Avianca, among others, have agreed to the new size and IATA senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo and security Tom Windmuller expects more to join up to the scheme in the period ahead.
“I haven’t come across an airline yet that when I have offered the bag to them and explained it to them they said that’s a terrible idea,” Windmuller told reporters on Tuesday (US time).
“People see value in this.”
In Australia, Qantas and Virgin Australia’s carryon policies permits bags up to 48cm x 34cm x 23cm in size for its domestic flights. Tigerair Australia (54cm x 38cm x 23cm) and Jetstar (56cm x 36cm x 23cm), which are not IATA members but can participate in the initiative as it is open to all airlines, have slightly larger dimensions.
Windmuller said the “IATA CABIN OK” would help airlines recognise appropriate sized bags and make the boarding process smoother.
“It signals to the gate agent that piece of baggage meets that agreed size. There is no need to question and hold it back,” Windmuller said.
“It should speed up the boarding process, give passengers certainty, reduce the fights between gate agents and passengers or flight attendants and passengers.”
“It will help airlines speed their turnarounds by not having to take bags out of the cabin and put them down in the hold.
“We see this as a win-win-win for everybody.”
Windmuller said airlines would still be able to allow passengers to take larger bags or additional bags on board even if they signed up to the “IATA CABIN OK” initiative.