IATA Announces Initiative to Encourage Smaller Carry-Ons (VIDEO)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced a new initiative to encourage smaller carry-on bags.

Under the new "IATA Cabin OK" initiative, IATA airline members and aircraft manufacturers will agree on an optimum size of 55 x 35 x 20 cm (or 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches) for carry-on bags. The new size parameter is aimed at making sure every passenger has space in the overhead bin, the IATA said. 


An “IATA Cabin OK” logo to signify to airline staff that a bag meets the agreed size guidelines has been developed. A number of major international airlines have signaled their interest to join the initiative and will soon be introducing the guidelines into their operations, the IATA said.

IATA is working with baggage tracking solutions provider Okoban to manage the approval process of bag manufacturers. Each bag meeting the dimensions of the specifications will carry a special joint label featuring IATA and Okoban, as well as a unique identification code that signals to airline staff that the bag complies with the optimum size guidelines.

Several major baggage manufacturers have developed products in line with the optimum size guidelines, and it is expected bags carrying the identifying label will start to reach retail shops later this year. The IATA said it expects recognition of the new logo to grow with time as more airlines opt in. 

Carry-on luggage
An example of carry-on luggage that meets the new size guideline.

Frequently Asked Questions

The IATA has also released an FAQ on the new guidelines to address common passenger questions:

IATA is a standard-setting organization. Is this new carry-on size a new standard for the airline industry?

No. Those who participate are not being asked to change their existing requirements. Some or all may continue to accept bags larger than those qualifying for the IATA Cabin OK logo.

Is IATA seeking a new agreement among airlines regarding permissible carry-on luggage?

No. Airlines will participate or not depending on their independent assessment of the program’s value. 

Are there rules governing a participating airline’s implementation of the program? For example, is IATA requiring participating airlines to remove and check non-Cabin OK bags in order to make room for the Cabin OK bags of late-boarding passengers?

Other than agreeing to treat Cabin OK bags as acceptable as carry-ons, there are no rules governing airlines’ implementation of the program. Airlines that choose to participate will also determine independently how best to take advantage of the program.

My current carry-on is the same size as the new IATA Cabin OK bags. Do you have an IATA Cabin OK bag tag that I can attach to my bag?

No. The only bags eligible for the IATA Cabin OK logo are those manufactured after the launch of the program by participating luggage makers in keeping with IATA Cabin OK specifications. 

My current carry-on is larger than IATA Cabin OK bags. Will airlines now insist that I check it? Will I have to buy a new, smaller carry-on?

No. Each airline is free to set its own policy regarding baggage, but this new initiative is not expected to result in any sudden spate of baggage rule changes.

What do you think of the new size guideline? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below. 

Visit www.iata.org

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