Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

After Cohen Introduces Bill to Stop Airlines from Reducing Carry-On Size Limits, Industry Announces “Comprehensive Reassessment” of Plan

June 17, 2015
Press Release

[WASHINGTON, DC] – After Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) introduced the Carry-On Freedom Act this week to prevent airlines from reducing the maximum size of carry-on baggage, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade association representing the airline industry, announced it is “pausing the rollout of its [new carry-on luggage size] initiative and beginning a comprehensive reassessment” in response to concerns that the initiative could force consumers to pay exorbitant checked bag fees for luggage they would have otherwise carried on or purchase new luggage.

“At a time when it seems that profits, not passengers, are the first consideration of airlines, this announcement is a victory for consumers,” said Congressman Cohen. “This was a transparent attempt to squeeze even more money out of passengers and I hope the industry’s ‘reassessment’ of the Cabin OK initiative results in them scrapping the plan completely. Consumers are already tired of being squeezed—physically and fiscally—by airlines and I will continue to lead the charge in Congress to stop this plan for good.”

Last week, the IATA proposed its “Cabin OK” carry-on size guidelines, which if implemented by airlines would reduce the “optimum” size of carry-on suitcases by 21% compared to those currently allowed on most American air carriers. Bags that meet the new guidelines would be granted preference in overhead bins, meaning larger bags would need to be checked if those bins were already full. This morning, the IATA announced they would pause and reassess this initiative, as well as further engage with airlines and key stakeholders.

Congressman Cohen is member of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation. The Congressman’s legislation would ensure airlines that charge passengers for checked baggage cannot reduce the size of carry-on bags they allow passengers to bring with them onto flights.