If you’ve traveled at all this summer you may have noticed passengers in airports pushing and shoving their bags into those bag-measuring contraptions. You know, the ones that tell you whether or not your carry-on bag is within the allowable size limits for your particular airline. Just in case you’re wondering why you’re seeing this situation more and more…after years of refusing to enforce their own size limits, airlines are finally beginning to crack down on oversized carry-on luggage.
There are two trains of thought on this. The airlines say that they are responding to complaints from passengers who are annoyed when they board their flight and find there is no room in the overhead compartment for their bag.
This has definitely become more of an issue since airlines began charging for checked luggage. Naturally, many people resisted the new fees and began traveling with only a carry-on bag. The thing is, as often happens when there’s a change in the rules, many took this as an opportunity to ignore the bag size allowances set by the airlines and felt justified in bringing on board an assortment of bags of all sizes and shapes. Space in the overheads has definitely been at a premium on any flight I’ve been on recently.
The other opinion being voiced is that airlines are cracking down on bag size in an effort to force more people to check their bags, thus creating an even larger revenue stream for the carrier. I’ve read that U.S. airlines earned $791 million dollars in baggage fees in the first quarter of this year. These fees are finally allowing airlines to see a profit, after years of losing money, so it’s a good bet that the fees are here to stay!
I recommend that you check the size restrictions on each airline that you fly with as there doesn’t seem to be any universal standard. Oh, and that carry-on you bought, assuming that it would be one-size-fits-all, not true. Many carry-on bags are 21” or 22” in height x 15” width x 9” depth and the three larger carriers only allow a 14” width. And while wheeled bags are definitely easier to transport through the airport, you have to take into consideration that the wheels count as part of the overall size of the bag, taking away from usable space. Some good news? Many of the newer aircraft are being built with larger overhead compartments.
As many of our regular followers know, Beth is a huge advocate of traveling with only carry-on luggage. Heck, she can travel for a month with one bag…I haven’t yet reached that point. If you’re still struggling with how to manage it, you might want to check out her blog post on how to choose clothes to take on your travels or how to pack your carry-on. Happy packing and make sure you check the airline’s website before you begin!