Congress Tries to Regulate Carry-On Size

Regardless of whether or not you’re a believer in big government, can we all agree that the government’s latest effort to regulate carry-on size should be outside their jurisdiction? Somehow I doubt we’ll all agree here, but at least now you know where I stand.

H.R. 2870 has been introduced in the House in order to limit carry-on bag dimensions to no more than 22 inches by 18 inches by 10 inches for a total of 50 inches. It would also make the TSA reinstall those obnoxious bag sizers on the security machines. Is this really necessary? I think not.

The legacy carriers have already standardized themselves at 45 linear inches total. Some airlines, like United and US Airways get more specific and say it can be no more than 22x14x9, but that’s still 45 inches.

The low cost carriers, however, are all over the map. Frontier allows 24×15.5×9.5 which comes out to 49 inches. Southwest, Virgin America, and JetBlue’s Embraer 190s are all locked in at 24x16x10 for a total of 50 inches. AirTran allows 55 inches total, and JetBlue’s A320s are the most generous with a 26x18x12 maximum for a total of 56 inches.

So let’s review exactly what this policy would do. It would let the legacies and Frontier continue to keep their policies of allowing less than 50 inches. Even though Southwest and others have a 50 inch maximum, they would have to reduce the length and increase the width by a couple inches to fit the new rules. And AirTran and JetBlue on their A320s would be forced to be more restrictive than they currently allow.

So what do we have? More restrictive rules to piss off customers and still no actual conformity to make things easier. There are also no weight limits involved, so anyone who argues that it’s a safety issue (I’m looking at you, AFA), seems somewhat disingenuous. The feds need to stay out of this one.

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