Iata has backtracked on its plans to restrict the size of cabin bags, following a backlash from consumers and the media.
The airline trade body said it was “pausing” the introduction of the so-called Cabin OK scheme to allow for a rethink.
The idea, which was announced at the Iata annual meeting in Miami last week, aimed to limit the size of carry on bags to 55 x 35 x 20 cm or 21.5” x 13.5” x 7.5″ inches.
The association stressed that the initiative was to be voluntary and that bags labelled as Cabin OK would be immediately recognisable as complying with the “vast majority” of airline maximum size requirements for cabin baggage.
But Iata admitted there had been “much confusion” about the scheme.
The organisation described Cabin OK as a “guideline for an optimally sized cabin bag,” not an industry standard.
“Cabin OK does not seek to define a maximum size for carry-on bags, which is something each airline does individually,” it said. “And no consumer will be forced into buying a new bag as a result of this voluntary initiative.”
Iata said: “In North America particularly, there have been significant concerns raised in the media and by key stakeholders.”
Tom Windmuller, senior vice president, airport, passenger, cargo and security, said: “Our focus is on providing travellers with an option that would lead to a simplified and better experience.
“While many welcomed the Cabin OK initiative, significant concerns were expressed in North America.
“Cabin OK is a voluntary programme for airlines and for consumers. This is clearly an issue that is close to the heart of travellers. We need to get it right.
“Today we are pausing the rollout and launching a comprehensive reassessment of the Cabin OK program with plans to further engage programme participants, the rest of our members, and other key stakeholders.”
The Global Business Travel Association said it was pleased Iata “hit the pause button” on its recommendation to reduce carry-on baggage dimensions by 20%.
“This is clearly the right call,” the association said.
“This proposal, if adopted by air carriers, would increase costs and pose headaches for business travelers who want to avoid the delays and time lost associated with checking baggage.”
The Gbta will survey its membership on the issue and provide feedback to Iata.
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