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IATA develops new optimum size for cabin baggage as part of CABIN OK initiative

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 10, 2015

IATA senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo and security Tom Windmuller with the new optimal size cabin bag. (IATA)
IATA senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo and security Tom Windmuller with the new optimal size cabin bag. (IATA)

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.

The IATA CABIN OK logo on the Crown roller bag unveiled at the AGM. (IATA)
The logo on the Crown bags unveiled at the AGM. (IATA)

“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.

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Comments (6)

  • Alex


    Getting to be too many rues and regulations

    Human nature the way it is, doesn’t matter what rules you put in place, things still do not work out

  • Craigy


    Ok the bag may the right size but what about weight

  • RB


    IATA justifying themselves again. Airlines just need to pull their finger out and police what people take onboard. I’m sick of standing in cabin aisles waiting for people to cram their entirely worldly possessions into the overhead bin that shouldn’t have been allowed onboard in the first place.

  • EP


    No doubt people will be very angry when they find out that their present IATA compliant luggage is no longer IATA compliant under the new initiative. Reducing the width from 40cm to 35cm is “splitting hairs”. Looks more like IATA is trying to justify itself, rather than doing anyone a real service.

  • David


    So long as the discount carriers charge high fees for check in luggage, passengers will try to get what they can on board.

  • Boris


    Well, instead of splitting hairs and still having complaints and no space left on the overhead. No really, when was the last time you have seen people putting items underneath their seats? Nearly everyone, with no exception will try to put their baggage on the overhead bins. Solution? “Simple”, each passenger gets an alloted space overhead, and loose style gym bags can go to a designated area that exists in a few aircraft for strollers and coats etc, of which has been removed in most aircraft! That way, they either conform to the overhead bin – per passenger space, and “forced” underseat space, or in the designated area. Simple 🙂 Now no more crew cabin having to keep moving luggage all around to fit for everyone, as many of them do not even let the passengers know that the underseat space can be used!

    Now let the flames begin 😉

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