Air Canada won’t reduce carry-on bag size

You may encounter baggage fees if boarding connecting flights

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Air Canada and WestJet say they won’t reduce the size of permitted carry-on luggage to go along with new voluntary international guidelines.

Air Canada, which requires passengers to check baggage larger than its maximum carry-on dimensions, said Wednesday it is satisfied with its luggage size rules but supports the general concept of industry harmonization.

“It would be easier if everyone drove on the same side of the road, and most people would agree with that,” Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said in an email.

“The debate is over which side that should be and that could go on a very long time and is ultimately speculative.”

The International Air Transport Association says many airlines have agreed to reduce the size of carry-on bags to optimize cabin storage space.

Bags measuring no more than 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches (55 x 35 x 20 centimetres) will be tagged with an “IATA Cabin OK” logo.

The dimensions are slightly smaller than what is permitted on Air Canada and WestJet flights.

Air Canada’s (TSX:AC) bag must be no larger than 21.5 x 15.5 x 9 inches. WestJet (TSX:WJA) limits are slightly smaller at 21 x 15 x 9 inches.

“Currently we have no plans to change our carry-on allowance size,” said WestJet spokeswoman Brie Thorsteinson Ogle in an email. “However, we evaluate and evolve guidelines when necessary to ensure they meet the necessary requirements for our guests and our operations.”

IATA says the new carry-on bag size is intended to bring “common sense and order” to the problem of differing sizes.

“We know the current situation can be frustrating for passengers,” senior vice-president Tom Windmuller said in a news release. “This work will help to iron out inconsistencies and lead to an improved passenger experience.”

Fitzpatrick said Air Canada’s larger carry-on baggage dimensions means anyone flying on planes following the IATA guidelines will meet the airline’s size requirements for carry-ons.

But that could cause problems and possibly result in checked baggage fees for Air Canada and WestJet passengers boarding connecting flights with other airlines.

“If our guests are connecting with another carrier via WestJet, they are encouraged to review the other carrier’s baggage requirements prior to travel to ensure their baggage is compliant,” WestJet’s Thorsteinson Ogle said.

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