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Air Canada, West Jet say no to standardized carry-on size

06/10/2015 10:17 EDT | Updated 06/10/2016 05:59 EDT
The International Air Transport Association is recommending a standard size for carry-on luggage for all major airlines, but is getting pushback from major Canadian airlines.

Air Canada and West Jet have both said they are not changing their sizes to the recommended 55 x 35 x 20 centimetre dimensions.

"We often review guidelines to ensure they meet the necessary requirements for our guests and our operations, and this is a constant evolution," says a West Jet spokesperson in an email.

"If our guests are connecting with another carrier via West Jet, they are encouraged to review the other carrier's baggage requirements prior to travel to ensure their baggage is compliant."

Since airlines have started charging passengers to check bags, many passengers are opting for carry-on. However, the lack of standardization means many passengers get turned down when checking in.

The IATA says the standardized size will bring common sense and order to the problem and is a win for both passengers and airlines. 

"You don't need to be concerned about the size of the bag and whether your airline this week or next month will accept it," says Tom Windmuller, the travel association's senior vice-president, in an online video. "For the airlines, it means faster turnaround because it will mean fewer bags need to be taken down the ramp and put into the hold."

Eliminating the guessing game

Many of the travellers at Vancouver International Airport were in favour of the standardized size. 

"When I bought this luggage, I asked is this the perfect size for carry on," says Dennis, who didn't want to give his last name. "Some airlines accept it and some don't."

He's in favour of "eliminating the guessing part" and says he'll get a standardized bag if it means he can always take his valuables with him as carry-on luggage. 

Others like Qristina Bachand just want to know they won't have to struggle to make their bags fit in the overhead compartments or under the seats.

"It's always difficult when it fits in one and you go somewhere else and it doesn't," she says.

So far, IATA says around 40 airlines, including Emirates and Lufthansa, have voiced their support for the standardized carry-on luggage size.

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