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Size Of Carry-on Bags Likely To Shrink
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As much as almost everyone tends to embrace cheap travel options, such as cheap fares, cheap deals, cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, discount travel deals, and cheap vacation packages, many fliers are disappointed when they board a plane only to find that there is no space in overhead compartments to store their carry-on bags.
This problem might occur less frequently if the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has its way. This organization has come out in support of creating a single standard size for carry-on bags that will be accepted by the world’s airlines.
The intention is to construct “a program that’s designed to make things easier for everybody, first and foremost for the passenger.” 40 airlines across the world have expressed interest in this initiative, according to IATA.
The only potential stumbling block is that the proposed standard is meaningfully smaller than what most U.S. airlines accept today.
IATA is calling for a standard size for carry-on bags of 21.5 inches long by 13.5 inches wide by 7.5 inches deep, claiming that this would “optimize the accommodation of carry-on bags given differing carry-on bag sizes and airline policies.”
Major U.S. airlines, including American, Delta, JetBlue, and United, currently allow larger carry-on bags. The standard U.S. limit is 22 by 14 by 9 inches. U.S. guidelines allow carry-ons that are almost 600 cubic inches larger than the standard proposed by IATA.
Alaska Airlines today allows carry-ons as big as 24 x 17 x 10 inches, which is 87 percent bigger than what IATA wants to impose.
The advantages of the IATA proposed smaller carry-on bags include the fact that more carry-ons could be accommodated in overhead bins on the same size planes and passengers will know if they purchase an IATA approved sized carry-on that most airlines will allow such bags to be carried onto flights.
After loud protests from several American airlines, IATA backed down recently from its proposed new guideline, saying it would hold off the rollout of its voluntary “IATA Cabin OK” rule, which it claims will give everyone an equal chance to store their carry-on bags on a large passenger jet.
Most experts believe that it is only a matter of time before small carry-on bags becomes the rule. Airlines continue to push for greater efficiency and often that in turn means going smaller. Eventually U.S. fliers will likely need new luggage or will have to pack lighter.
Travelers would be wise to look into soft sided carry-on bags which have the advantage of fitting into overhead bins with a little massaging even when similarly sized hard back roller bags cannot fit into the same space. Often soft sided luggage can also slide under a seat if needed.
Given that smaller carry-ons are the way of the future, travelers will want to pack less and smarter. Rolling instead of folding clothes is a more efficient way to pack as is the use nylon straps to condense swollen bags. Compression bags are helpful in squeezing more into less space.
Remember it is not just how you pack, but also what you take. Avoid packing heavy fabrics such as denim. Instead pack clothes made from light fabrics such as silks, light cotton, and polyester. If you want to take jeans on your trip, then your best bet is to wear them on the plane.
The following are suggestions on how to reduce space according to Chris Elliott:
• Go high tech by using a “Genius Pack” which employs laundry compression technology including a secluded laundry pouch, an integrated hanging clothes feature, and a packing list to help travelers get more into less space. Its 22 inch carry-on fits most overhead bins on domestic flights and is priced at $218.
• Go smaller by purchasing a bag that meets IATA’s new recommended dimensions such as the Pathfinder checkpoint friendly wheeled bag ($249) that is large enough to fit a change of clothes, toiletries and a laptop computer, but small enough to fit under a seat or in the overhead compartment of any airline that is enforcing the IATA standard.
• Use a cube, such as Eagle Creek’s Pack-It Cubes ($35) to squeeze shirts, dresses, and undergarments into a small space. These cubes zip down to half of their original size when not in use and are reusable and washable. Best of all, their tops are made of mesh so that the cubes breathable and you can see inside.
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