• IATA recommends crackdown on carry-on size restrictions

    2016-12-01

    The world's largest airlines recently gathered in Miami, Florida, for their annual summit meeting. According to Conde Nast Traveler, one of the biggest topics of discussion was how to limit the size of carry-on luggage. For many travelers, this may seem intimidating, as the current standards for most major airlines already make it difficult to pack a carry-on that meets requirements.

    However, many airlines have started facing serious challenges with a lack of overhead bin space, which has led to this crackdown on how large bags can be before they're considered too big to be carried on board.

    IATA suggests new size guidelines
    Most U.S. airlines allow passengers to bring a carry-on bag - including handles and wheels - that's 22 inches tall by 14 inches wide by 9 inches deep. There are other companies like U.S. Airlines and Southwest that permit carry-ons a couple inches larger than that, while others, such as Spirit airlines, don't allow travelers to have a suitcase that won't fit under the seat in front of them.

    The International Air Transport Association, which represents 250 carriers, has suggested a new limit for bags. The association noted the frustration of both passengers and the flight staff when there's no room left in the overhead cabins for boarding travelers. It recommended new size guidelines for luggage with wheels, which tend to take up the most space. Instead of the current size standards, the group wants to make the optimal carry-on size 21.5 inches tall by 13.5 inches wide by 7.5 inches deep.

    "The development of an agreed optimal cabin bag size will bring common sense and order to the problem of differing sizes for carry-on bags," Tome Windmuller, the IATA's senior vice president for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security. "We know the current situation can be frustrating for passengers. This work will help to iron out inconsistencies and lead to an improved passenger experience."

    Although the new size guidelines are just a suggestion, many major airlines have already expressed their approval of the change. The IATA has also begun working with manufacturers to create bags that meet the new limits. These totes will feature the label "IATA Cabin OK" and should be popping up in stores around the end of 2015.

    What can you do to limit your carry-on?
    Until airlines start to implement the new size rules - which may require you to purchase a new, smaller suitcase - it's important to keep your airline's current size restrictions in mind while you're packing your carry-on. According to ABC News, one trick to help you meet your carrier's carry-on standards is packing all of your light clothes and wearing your heavier items. For example, if you're taking sneakers, flip flops and a pair of boots on your trip, wear the boots to save space in your bag, even if the weather at your take-off destination doesn't call for boots.

    Sometimes leaving toiletries like bottles of shampoo and soap behind can be worth it. Removing them from your bag will open up a lot of space for other belongings that you can't purchase once at your destination. This will also save you the trouble of having to take them from your carry-on and place them in a plastic bag while going through security.

    The way you fold your clothes also impacts the amount of room you have in your bag. Experiment with the different methods, such as rolling and layering, to see which one works best for your belongings. For example, if you're leaving on business travel, you'll fit more by layering your suits and dress paints, whereas bathing suits can generally be rolled to create more space when packing for beach vacations.

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