Friday, June 26, 2009

About time! Carry on thugs beware!

I can pack 5 days of clothes in a standard carry on bag. This includes when I travel for work and for vacation. If I can do it so can 95% of travelers. The exception? Those with kids. They should just check bags anyway!

Bill would limit airline carry-on bags

Carry-on bags would have to be 22 inches by 18 inches by 10 inches


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Airline fees for checked bags are yielding an unintended consequence that’s adding to the hassle of travel: Some travelers are lugging bigger bags onto planes, crowding overhead bins and slowing the boarding process.

“You’ve got people lugging huge bags aboard taking up more than their fair share of space, and whoever gets on last as a result is forced to check a bag,” said Nathaniel Zimmer, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D.-Ill. And when bags fall out of overhead bins, “the bigger the bag, the higher the likelihood of some sort of injury.”

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Elissa Eubanks/

Darren Cox, 42, from Columbus, OH, tries to change his flight from a kiosk at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Wednesday.

Lipinski has introduced a bill in Congress to set a standard limit on the size of carry-ons and put the Transportation Security Administration in charge of policing it. The Association of Flight Attendants supports the measure to lessen hassle and safety risks during boarding, but airlines oppose additional regulation that would force them to adopt a federal standard.

The bill would limit carry-on bags to 22 inches by 18 inches by 10 inches. It also dictates that the TSA use templates on its screening conveyor belts to enforce the limit, as airlines once did before the TSA took over security in 2002 and had the templates removed. Passengers whose bags exceed the size limit would need to check them.

The TSA said its policy is to not comment on pending legislation.

The government after 9/11 put a limit on the number of carryons — one bag, plus one “personal item” — and airlines continue to use that rule. But size rules vary by carrier.

The proposed federal limit is slightly larger than the size allowed by Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and other major carriers, but smaller than the size allowed by AirTran Airways, which has its largest hub in Atlanta, and JetBlue Airways.

The bill includes the standard limit of one carry-on bag and one personal item, and would also allow airlines to set smaller size limits. Exempt from the limits would be child safety seats, musical instruments, coats and hats, and items for disabled passengers like wheelchairs, canes and crutches.

The Association of Flight Attendants has pushed for carry-on baggage limits for years, and Lipinski’s father Bill also introduced legislation to limit carry-on bags as a Congressman.

Federal carry-on size limits would “reduce a lot of the frustrations that go on inside the cabin as well as increase safety and security,” said Association of Flight Attendants spokeswoman Corey Caldwell.

“Flight attendants suffer a great deal of injuries from carry-ons, whether they’re too heavy, too big, the passenger can’t physically manipulate it into the overhead bin themselves,” Caldwell said.

The Air Transport Association, which represents Delta and other major carriers, and the Air Carrier Association of America representing carriers including AirTran, oppose the legislation.

“Every airline has different size baggage compartments, so you can’t really set a Congressionally-mandated standard on the size of bags,” said Edward Faberman, who heads the Air Carrier Association of America. He said the bill would also “tell TSA that TSA should focus less on possible threats and look at sizes of bags.”

As it stands now, airline employees can enforce the limits for bags too big to fit, but exercise some discretion, he said. “If I’m the gate agent and I know the plane is only 50 percent full, I may let you on with one extra bag or so,” Faberman said.

Faberman said he believes the bill, which as of Wednesday had no co-sponsors, will not advance very far.

Phil Bush of Atlanta feels business travelers like him, who often carry on only and do not check any bags to save time, are being targeted by the proposal. He disagreed with a carry-on policy that returns to a template system, which he called “a pain.”

“We don’t need the hassle,” Bush said.

Lipinski, a member of the House transportation subcommittee on aviation, is also working on a proposal to limit checked baggage fees charged by airlines, Zimmer said.

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