Airline Group Backs Away From That Whole “Carry-On Bags Should Be Smaller” Thing

IATAbagsizeYou might recall a recent suggestion from the International Air Transport Association that airlines should adopt a smaller carry-on bag standard, at which time the industry group showed off the “optimal” design to meet that purpose. But amid consumer outcry, the IATA says it’s taking a time out from the campaign to reconsider.

Though it was a suggested, voluntary guideline and not a new standard, many consumers, airlines and even lawmakers did not respond well to the proposed smaller maximum dimensions for carry-ons, notes the Chicago Tribune, prompting the group to backpedal in an announcement today.

Saying it’s going to pause the rollout of its new Cabin OK initiative, the IATA says it will begin a “comprehensive reassessment in light of concerns expressed, primarily in North America.”

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

Beyond your average traveler who didn’t want to ditch their current luggage, legislators were also ticked off by the recommendation,.

“I’m telling U.S. airlines that if our luggage has to go on a diet, the result cannot be another airline-industry profit binge,” said Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey. “We already have less seat-space, less leg-room, fewer options and higher costs — we have to stand up for consumers and say ‘no’ to the airline industry.”

No U.S. airlines had adopted the smaller standard, however. Airlines for America says U.S. carriers aren’t on board with the new standard “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.”

“Our members already have guidelines in place on what size bags they can accommodate, making this action unnecessary,” said Nicholas E. Calio, CEO of Airlines for America. “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.”

Airline group backpedals on smaller carry-on standard [Chicago Tribune]

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