Your Favorite Carry-On Camera Bag May Soon Be Too Big To Fly

Your Favorite Carry-On Camera Bag May Soon Be Too Big To Fly


Your Favorite Carry-On Camera Bag May Soon Be Too Big To Fly

As a traveling commercial photographer and filmmaker who flies over 100k miles a year, I NEVER let my camera bodies and lenses leave my side. Well, soon, filmmakers like myself may be in big trouble. The reason? The International Air Transport Association (IATA), unveiled a new size guideline this week for domestic US flights that proposed a 21% size reduction in max carry-on size allowed. So my prized and PACKED Think Tank Airport Security camera bag may soon be 21% too big to carry onto a flight. Freaked out? Me too. Read below to learn more.

According to the IATA press release:

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), announced a new initiative to optimize the accommodation of carry-on bags given differing carry-on bag sizes and airline policies.

Working with airline members of IATA and aircraft manufacturers, an optimum size guideline for carry-on bags has been agreed that will make the best use of cabin storage space. A size of 55 x 35 x 20 cm (or 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches) means that theoretically everyone should have a chance to store their carry-on bags on board aircraft of 120 seats or larger.

An “IATA Cabin OK” logo to signify to airline staff that a bag meets the agreed size guidelines has been developed. A number of major international airlines have signaled their interest to join the initiative and will soon be introducing the guidelines into their operations.

“The development of an agreed optimal cabin bag size will bring common sense and order to the problem of differing sizes for carry-on bags. We know the current situation can be frustrating for passengers. This work will help to iron out inconsistencies and lead to an improved passenger experience,” said Tom Windmuller, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security.

So what does this mean to you? Well the IATA is just a trade association, NOT a government agency, so this proposed regulation is not a requirement for airlines to follow. That being said, eight international airlines have already adopted the size guideline. Those airlines include Air China, Avianca, Azul, Cathay Pacific, China Southern, Emirates, Lufthansa, and Qatar.

According to the Washington Post, airlines like American and Delta have not expressed that they will adopt this new policy suggestion anytime soon. Although, if you have flown domestically any time recently, you know that baggage fees and overhead bin space are getting out of hand. You and I know that it is only a matter of time before all of the airlines force us to use smaller camera bags. The IATA’s move this week is merely one scary step closer to that policy change.

An example of an IATA Cabin OK bag. Image supplied by the IATA.

Sure, the IATA claims they want there to be less carry-on bag anxiety for those worried that overhead bin space will be full by the time they board the plane and will be force to check their bag. In fact, around 20 people are forced to check their bags on a full flight with planes that have 120 seats or more. The idea would be if you have “IATA cabin ok” bag, you are guaranteed to not face this issue again, but at what cost to those that fly with precious production equipment?


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