Airlines’ Carry-on Rules Cause Grief for Summer Travelers

While the U.S. Transportation Security Administration has its own set of warranted rules regarding prohibited items and liquids, some airlines are taking their own private rules a bit too far, according to some travelers.

According to NBC News, George Hobica of Airfarewatchdog was told to take his carry-on back to check-in, despite his bag clearly fitting in the overhead bin on his American Airlines flight. His bag was 43 linear inches long, and while the airline permits bags up to 45 inches long, it appeared to stick out just one inch over the top. Hobica admitted to the source that because of his racing to and from the check-in station and the gate, he nearly missed his flight.

“When I got on the plane, there was a woman with my exact same bag in the overhead bin,” Orbica explained to CNBC. “Enforcement can be very arbitrary.”

ABC News also highlighted a story where a man was stopped at the jet bridge and asked to surrender his bag at Miami International Airport. His wife and child were carrying on the exact same bag, but were permitted to pass through the ramp. He protested, but later surrendered his bag, was offered a shrug and free drink from the flight attendant and later had to find his bag, despite being a member of the airline’s loyalty program. According to ABC News, United Airlines plans to place sizing racks at every gate and is “cracking down” on oversized carry-on luggage in the near future.

The standard
According to NBC News, major airlines in the U.S. will likely limit their carry-ons to be no more than 45 inches in linear length, 14 inches wide, 22 inches long and 9 inches deep. American, Delta and United Continental all told CNBC that they had not changed these rules for years, so what about the recent media blitz about “arbitrary” regulations? It seems that people who had been complying with these rules in a dedicated fashion were requesting more scrutinized enforcement about carry-on size.

It’s true that there has been a trend with fliers having misgivings about fellow passengers who perhaps went with carry-on luggage that is too large. In fact, there has even been a hashtag #Carryonshame that denounces travelers with big bags who are perhaps trying to get away with more than they paid – or didn’t pay – for.