Skift Take

You won! Your larger bags are just as OK to fly with as they were all along. And for the dozen of you forced to check yours because someone else brought a too big bag? Well, nothing's changed here either.

After dismay and confusion “primarily in North America” caused by its Cabin OK proposal IATA has chosen to take some time off to “reassess” the program.

Said reassessment will “include further engagement with program participants, the IATA membership, and key stakeholders,” IATA states.

The Cabin OK initiative was first announced on June 9 at IATA’s Annual General Meeting and immediately confused press, passengers and even some airlines who responded immediately with a statement they would not participate. The organization’s stated aim for the proposal was to give passengers a better chance that their carry-on bags would make it on the plane to fit in overhead bins through proposed “optimal” dimensions of 55 x 35 x 20 cm or 21.5” x 13.5” x 7.5″ inches.

But, despite certain airlines saying they would follow the program, and major luggage brands announcing their planned compliant products, IATA was unable to convince many that Cabin OK was a good fit for many of today’s travelers.

“Our focus is on providing travelers with an option that would lead to a simplified and better experience,” said Tom Windmuller, Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security. “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.”

For North American passengers (who represent a large chunk of today’s air travel market) this is a win. For politicians, it’s an opportunity to get back to the business of everyday governance. But for IATA this is an embarrassing disappointment after having put in great efforts to work with its certifying partner Okoban and with major luggage manufacturers to prepare for the launch of the initiative.

For Okoban, at least, this is a finacial disappointment.

Skift received information from a manufacturer, under the condition of confidentiality, that the licensing fee of each Cabin OK label was worth $0.35 to Okoban. We reached out to IATA to ask whether any portion of these label licenses was shared with the airline requests, were told that a responsible party would reply, and the only reply received was this general press release.

IATA has not said when it might restart the initiative, but it could be a while.




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Tags: baggage, iata

Photo credit: Groups of passengers wait at a United Airlines gate to board a flight in separate numbered lanes at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. M. Spencer Green / Associated Press

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