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Tuesday, 16 June, 2015, 11 : 00 AM [IST]

IATA clarifies Cabin OK guideline; says it does not set maximum size limit for carry-on bags

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has clarified key elements of its Cabin OK initiative, which have been misunderstood in some reporting. “The IATA Cabin OK initiative for carry-on bags aims to provide passengers with a greater assurance that their carry-on bags will travel with them in the aircraft cabin, even when the flight is full,” the Association has said in a statement.

IATA has busted the wrong notion that the guideline sets a maximum size limit for the carry-on luggage. “The maximum size of cabin baggage is set individually by each airline. This is not affected by the Cabin OK initiative. We use the word ‘optimum’ because the Cabin OK dimensions have been calculated to allow all passengers on board a typical jet aircraft of 120 seats or more to be able to carry-on one piece of baggage in the normally available storage space (storage bins and below seats),” the Association clarified. The Cabin OK size guideline, developed by working with airlines and manufacturers, is 55 x 35 x 20 cm (or 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches). This size was calculated to make the best use of storage space in the cabin, IATA said.

A number of major international airlines have signaled their interest to join the initiative. They will soon be introducing operational guidelines to give Cabin OK bags priority to stay on board the aircraft when all carry-on bags cannot be accommodated in the cabin, IATA assured.

“The Cabin OK guideline is smaller than the size set by most airlines as their maximum acceptable for carry-on baggage. Thus, passengers with Cabin OK carry-on baggage can travel with a greater assurance that it will be acceptable across the different airline requirements. And, when travelling on a participating airline there is a further benefit: those bags with a Cabin OK logo will have a priority (determined individually by each airline) for staying in the cabin, should its cabin capacity be exceeded and some baggage need to be moved to the hold,” IATA elaborated.

Further detailed clarifications:
  • Cabin OK will give passengers greater certainty that their carry-on bag will be accepted in the cabin. A typical fully booked, narrow-body jet aircraft is not able to accommodate a bag for every passenger on board at maximum size limits. On-time departures suffer as airline staff search for passengers willing to put their bag in the hold. On participating airlines, the Cabin OK logo will indicate to crew and ground staff that these bags should have a high priority to remain in the cabin. Consequently, the Cabin OK initiative will speed-up the boarding process and provide passengers using Cabin OK sized carry-on baggage greater assurance that their bag will travel with them in the cabin.
  • The Cabin OK initiative does not require passengers to buy new baggage. The Cabin OK size is smaller in dimensions than the published size maximums of most airlines. Passengers with carry-on bags larger than Cabin OK sized bags will not be obliged to buy new bags. However, they will continue to face the same uncertainty that their bags may not be able to be accommodated in the cabin.
  • Cabin OK is not a revenue-generating scheme for the airlines. For the vast majority of airlines, the current practice when all baggage complying with maximum size limits cannot fit into the cabin storage is to check this baggage in the aircraft hold free of charge. The Cabin OK initiative will not change this practice.
  • Cabin OK is an identifier to crew and ground staff. Only bags manufactured with Cabin OK logo are part of the programme. There is no retro-certification planned for existing bags that comply with the Cabin OK dimension.

Thomas Windmuller, Senior Vice President for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, IATA, said, “Cabin OK is all about providing the customer with greater assurances. If you have a Cabin OK bag, you can be pretty sure that you are within the maximum carry-on limits of airlines around the world. If you are travelling on an airline participating in the programme, you will have the best chance that your bag will be with you in the cabin even on a full flight. For passengers travelling with bags that don’t have the Cabin OK logo, there’s no need to worry. If it was accepted for travel before, it will be acceptable for travel now, but with the same uncertainty that if the flight is full it may eventually have to travel in the hold.”
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