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The Incredible Shrinking Carry-On

Is your carry-on bag getting a little old and tired? Consider waiting to replace it until after the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) recommendation to reduce the size of optimal carry-on luggage is addressed by the airline industry.

The IATA recommendation, released after its recent annual general meeting in Miami, outlined the optimal size of a carry-on suitcases as 21 percent smaller than the most widely used current guidelines, reducing maximum dimensions to 21.5 inches tall, 13.5 inches wide, and 7.5 inches deep.

Eight international airlines have already adopted the new guidelines: Air China, Avianca, Azul, Cathay Pacific, China Southern, Emirates, Lufthansa, and Qatar.

Due to concerns throughout the industry, the IATA announced in a June 17 press release a "pause" on this recommendation, to allow for "further engagement with program participants, the IATA membership, and key stakeholders." While these recommendations have not yet been adopted by any domestic airlines, a perk of using luggage with the "Cabin OK" specifications (new luggage is likely to be permanently labeled as such on its exterior) means your carry-on is more likely to actually be stored in the overhead cabin space, instead of being checked at the gate because of its size.

As always, be sure to check with individual airlines for their current specifications, as the IATA's recommendation has not yet been widely adopted.


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