The Battle Over Your Carry-On Luggage Begins


In a complicated piece of industry news released last week, The International Air Transport Association recommended that carry-on luggage be reduced to 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5. They are calling it Cabin OK. Depending on your favorite airline, that can be a half inch to an inch and a half less. I hear you, that half an inch can make a difference. That’s what she said. Thank you!

First off, we all know that most airlines don’t do a great job in regulating their own guidelines. Hence, my previous post about seeing people carrying on huge hiking back packs onto planes.

I also explained that checking in your luggage is getting better in reducing the risk of losing it. Still, it won’t deter tourists from saving the fees and lugging their crap on-board.

Why did the IATA make this recommendation? Looking at their press release, it looks like it will be used on new luggage so that you know it will fit onto most overhead bins. Most new planes have larger bins to begin with to accommodate idiot tourists who bring too much stuff.

Remember, it’s a guideline, not a law or regulation, but that didn’t stop U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer to over-react.

“This new proposal will not only put a dent in family’s wallets but will also hurt business travelers because the proposed policy also prevents the use of roller bags … Enough already! We pay extra for checked baggage, leg room, head phones, pillows and even peanuts. The airlines are making record profits and don’t need to add this further burden on the backs of travelers.”

I’d like to know if Schumer as ever been denied a carry-on. You know, those little metal frames where you’re suppose to check to see if your bag is too big.

Here’s what us smart travelers do:

  • Check airlines minimum carry-on limit
  • Buy a reasonable sized carry-on
  • Pack less shit

In the end, it’s much ado about nothing. As the NY Times pointed out, “no airline seems to be adopting the new size as an absolute limit, and United States carriers show underwhelming enthusiasm for adopting Cabin OK preferences. United said it is studying the proposal. But representatives for Delta, American, Southwest and Alaska said they had no plans to change their carry-on size limits.”

The real underling problem isn’t standards and regulations, but cultural — why tourists feel the need to bring their life with them on their vacations? It’s simple. Pack smart. Leave room for buying things. Put them in your checked luggage. The airlines will do the rest. Less carry-on = less stress for you.

Here’s what I have in my carry-on. I either have a regulation pilot case, a small 20-in. rolling duffel or a messenger bag / man purse (murse)

  • Laptop
  • Charging cords for mobile or laptop
  • Ipod
  • one or two magazines
  • breath mints
  • Advil
  • tissues
  • crap I bought on trip, usually chocolate or coffee

If only the rest of humanity would follow my guidelines.

2 thoughts on “The Battle Over Your Carry-On Luggage Begins

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