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IATA Pauses Confusing Cabin OK Initiative

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Thursday, 18 June 2015

IATA has decided to pause the rollout of its Cabin OK initiative and has launched a comprehensive reassessment in light of concerns expressed, primarily in North America.

This will include further engagement with program participants, the IATA membership, and key stakeholders.

The Cabin OK initiative was launched last week, with the aim of providing passengers with greater assurance that their carry-on bags will travel with them in the aircraft cabin, even when the flight is full.

The idea was to provide consumers with a voluntary option of using a Cabin OK labeled bag (with optimally sized dimensions of 55 x 35 x 20 cm or 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5" inches) that would (1) be immediately recognizable as complying with the vast majority of airline maximum size requirements for cabin baggage and (2) be given a priority (determined by airlines individually) to remain in the cabin on full flights when cabin storage capacity is exceeded.

IATA says the program has created a lot of confusion, especially in North America where there have been significant concerns raised in the media and by key stakeholders.

Our focus is on providing travelers with an option that would lead to a simplified and better experience. While many welcomed the Cabin OK initiative, significant concerns were expressed in North America. Cabin OK is a voluntary program for airlines and for consumers. This is clearly an issue that is close to the heart of travelers. We need to get it right. Today we are pausing the rollout and launching a comprehensive reassessment of the Cabin OK program with plans to further engage program participants, the rest of our members, and other key stakeholders, said Tom Windmuller, Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security.

IATA reiterated some key principles of the Cabin OK initiative. It says Cabin OK is a guideline for an optimally sized cabin bag, not an industry standard, and that Cabin OK does not seek to define a maximum size for carry-on bags, which is something each airline does individually. It also says no consumer will be forced into buying a new bag as a result of this voluntary initiative, but does not explain how a traveller may be able to benefit without doing so.

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