Travellers want more storage space in overhead lockers so they can bring aboard bags of reasonable size.
That’s the message delivered unequivocally to the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), which has decided to drop its drive to reduce the size of carry-on bags. IATA’s campaign triggered a massive negative backlash, particularly from travellers in North America.
The so-called Cabin OK initiative has officially been “paused” – but the pause is indefinite. IATA admitted it was “beginning a comprehensive reassessment in light of concerns expressed, primarily in North America. This will include further engagement with program participants, the IATA membership, and key stakeholders.”
The Cabin OK initiative was launched just a week ago, on 9 June 2015, with the aim of providing passengers with “greater assurance that their carry-on bags will travel with them in the aircraft cabin, even when the flight is full”.
The initiative provides consumers with a voluntary option to use a Cabin OK labelled bag (with optimally sized dimensions of 55 x 35 x 20 cm or 21.5” x 13.5” x 7.5″ inches) that would be immediately recognisable as complying with the vast majority of airline maximum size requirements for cabin baggage and would be given a priority (determined by airlines individually) to remain in the cabin on full flights when cabin storage capacity is exceeded.
The idea seems to have gone down like a lead balloon.
Interest in the program had been “intense”, IATA said diplomatically. In North America particularly, there have been significant concerns raised in the media and by key stakeholders.
IATA’s senior vice president, airport, passenger, cargo and security, Tom Windmuller, said the issue was clearly “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 program participants, the rest of our members, and other key stakeholders.”
Written by Peter Needham