Transportation & Logistics

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IATA Backs Down on Smaller Carry-On Rule

22 Jun, 2015

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Selling the idea of smaller carry-ons is a tall order – enough so that the group proposing the idea has tabled it.

When just a few weeks ago, the International Air Travel Association (IATA) put forth the idea of shrinking down carry-on luggage to a smaller (and more standard) size, airlines, governmental officials, travelers and consumer rights groups rebelled.

In the face of the pushback, IATA said that it has put on hold its recently announced international guidelines.

According to a report in Travel Weekly, the U.S. group, Airlines for America, found the measure to be a useless redundancy that would result in extra expenses (not to mention aggravation and complaints) on both the parts of airlines and the passengers they carried. Nicholas Calio, CEO of Airlines for America, said 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.

“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.”

When IATA first proposed the change, it noted that nine major international airlines were planning to use the guidelines, including Avianca, Azul, Caribbean Airlines, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, China Southern, Emirates, Lufthansa and Qatar.

The proposal was roundly rejected by U.S. carriers, all of whom set their own standards for what is allowable in a carry-on bag.

IATA, for its part, is not admitting defeat, but instead saying it will hold its recommendation pending further study and to take the time “to further engage program participants, the rest of our members, and other key stakeholders.”

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