New effort to ease travel anxiety: assuring your bag fits in bin

Tue Jun 9, 2015 5:39pm EDT
 
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By Alwyn Scott

MIAMI (Reuters) - Air travelers are all too familiar with carry-on bag anxiety: the feeling sparked by last-minute and sometimes seemingly arbitrary decisions that a piece of luggage is too large to fit in the overhead bin.

On Monday, the world's aviation trade organization, which also focuses on weighty issues such as flight safety and airline profitability, announced an "optimal size" standard and an effort to get world airlines to sign on to the move.

The goal is to give airlines and passengers assurance that compliant bags can board the plane, no questions asked.

"It'll reduce fights between gate agents and passengers," Thomas Windmuller, a vice president of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said at the group's annual meeting in Miami.

However, the new size is slightly smaller than many current standards. At 21.5 inches (55 cm) by 13.5 inches (35 cm) by 7.5 inches (20 cm), including wheels, that is slightly smaller than the 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches that United Airlines (UAL.N: Quote), American Airlines (AAL.O: Quote) and Delta Air Lines (DAL.N: Quote) currently allow.

IATA worked with plane makers Boeing (BA.N: Quote) and Airbus (AIR.PA: Quote) to find a size guaranteed to fit in bins of planes with 120 seats or more, at least a 737 or A319. Travelers on smaller regional aircraft still take the risk of bags being barred from boarding.

IATA said it is talking with major luggage brands, including Tumi and Samsonite, on making bags at the new size, which it expects will be available this year.

Manufacturer Crown Luggage of China has already produced sample suitcases, which IATA handed out at its three-day event.   Continued...

 
Thomas Windmuller, a vice president of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), holds a carry-on bag which conforms to a new minimum size announced by the group in an effort to get world airlines to sign on to the standard, at the group's annual meeting in Miami Beach, Florida, June 9, 2015.  REUTERS/Joe Skipper