It fits!

It fits!

Rep Dan Lipinski from Illinois feels it is a good idea for the TSA to have a uniform carry-on size regulation. He wants to limit the maximum size of a carry-on to 22″ x 18″ x 10″. It is not the size that is as disconcerting, as not allowing the airlines to make their own decisions and the total lack of need for this legislation

Each airline flies different aircraft, have different configurations and clientele with different baggage needs. The bill would require the TSA to enforce the rules (presumably during the security check process). Although TSA has made leaps and bounds with speeding up the security process, this could greatly slow it down. People would be having to take stuff out, trying to cram their bags through and of course having to leave the line to check in their bags and come back through.

CrankFlier points out that many low cost airlines have their “minimum size” larger than what Rep Lipinski is asking for, and legacy carriers are already meeting the requirements. The low cost carriers would have to cut what they already offer.

What is the real reason for this? I don’t see a safety issue here, I would like to see someone try to make a valid one. In fact this would decrease safety. The TSA would have to police bag-size instead of doing what they are trained and look for illegal items taken through security.

This seems like a waste of time and legislation that will really hold no benefit. If airlines want to get together to create their own standard carry-on size, that is one thing, but for the government to come in and require standardization seems unnecessary.

UPDATE: has a great chart showing all the airlines and their bag size requirements.

Image: FlyingWithFish

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
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I’m going to have to go with reason #1, Airlines trying to get people to check in more luggage. They have to make money some other way, I guess!

Leave the TSA out of this! Leave the government out of this! It makes sense to have some regulatory control, but come on! WE need to let the airlines and the free market sort this issue out on its own. I think this is just a way for the airlines to be able to shrink bag sizes while blaming the government!!

I would rather see congress mandate airlines must provide one free checked bag. The elimination of free checked bags has been a disaster for security processing and boarding, as people are now carrying on clearly oversized bags.

Back before 9/11 I used to fly United a fair amount, and they did a good job enforcing their limits on the size of carry-ons. When I once traveled to Denver, on my check in for my return I saw the security checkpoint had a template over the entrance to the x-ray machine with an opening which was sized similarly to United’s carry on size checker. I think there was also a United agent there to check the bag if it did not fit.

As a result, United boarding was quick and efficient, and United also had a policy of closing the door five minutes prior to departure, or earlier if everyone was aboard.

I at one point researched every major domestic and international airline, and bought a roller bag which fit the 22″x14″x9″ limits. Knowing that is the limit for most major airlines, I know when I see something bigger on a major airline, the airline is not enforcing the policy.

Fast forward to today. For the last several years I have flown Delta extensively, and they make no effort to enforce their own 45 linear inches and 22″x14″x9″ “Size Wise” device.

I would like to see check in agents aggressively enforce their airline’s policy.

I would not mind the TSA enforcing a limit, but above the current largest airline limit, which is 26″x18″x12″ for Jet Blue. They could put 20″ x 14″ templates in front of the x-ray machines to prevent people from carrying on obviously oversized luggage. These templates could be hinged to allow strollers and other items which will be gate checked to go through.

Finally, the gate agents for the airlines should aggressively enforce their airline’s policy.

David Silver

You folks have obviously never been a Flight Attendant! Yesterday, while working a flight out of Philly to Chicago, a woman boarded with a full-size suitcase which of course we wound up having to check due to it not being able to fit in an overhead bin. Nobody is taking responsibility for bag issues anymore. TSA people just push it through, agents are understaffed and never look at bags, and it is always up to us Flight Attendants to find the offending size bags and check them (as if we have nothing better to do being understaffed now as well). I asked the agent yesterday how a bag that size got through security and she just shrugged. It is time for legislation on carry-on bags size and I for one can’t wait to see that happen! Watch how fast a boarding will take if carry-on size was reduced! Ever boarded a full 747 going to Japan with mostly Japanese passengers? They take half of what we Americans take and the boarding is done in minutes! Stop this carry-on insanity please!

Quite frankly I’m fed up with the whole “Security Theater” that one has to pass through to get on an airplane these days. While I’m sure there are a handful of good, honest TSA agents out there; the ones I’ve had any interaction with were either rude, incompetent or both. Some didn’t even speak understandable English, how did they get THAT job? TSA employees (out of sight of the pubic of course)treat your checked luggage like it’s their own personal thrift shop; and the luggage they don’t steal from, they destroy the locks on (even if you use TSA approved locks) along with the zipper pulls the locks were attached to. I’ve had two pieces of checked luggage destroyed in the last 5 years; both times I had a little card in the bag from TSA telling me my luggage was “searched”. They probably did it out of spite because I wasn’t dumb enough to put valuable electronics in the bags for them to take.

And now I read this thread and you people actually WANT these incompetent TSA clowns enforcing the AIRLINES rules?!?

Hey Oscar!

Thanks for your comment. You found a pretty old blog I wrote. I have been talking about quite a bit more of the TSA silliness in more recent posts too!


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