The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is pausing the roll-out of its “Cabin OK” initiative and beginning a comprehensive reassessment in light of concerns expressed, primarily in North America.
This will include further engagement with program participants, IATA membership and key stakeholders.
The Cabin OK initiative was launched on June 9 with the aim of providing passengers with greater assurance that their carry-on bags will travel with them in the aircraft cabin, even when the flight is full. The initiative provides consumers with a voluntary option to use a Cabin OK labeled bag (with optimally sized dimensions of 55 x 35 x 20 cm) that would be immediately recognizable as complying with the vast majority of airline maximum size requirements for cabin baggage and be given a priority (determined by airlines individually) to remain in the cabin on full flights when cabin storage capacity is exceeded.
According to IATA officials, interest in the program has been intense. While the value of this initiative has been welcomed by many, including a growing list of airlines expressing interest in the program, there has also been much confusion. In North America particularly, there have been significant concerns raised in the media and by key stakeholders.
“Our focus is on providing travellers with an option that would lead to a simplified and better experience. 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 travellers. We need to get it right. Today we are pausing the roll-out and launching a comprehensive reassessment of the program with plans to further engage program participants, the rest of our members and other key stakeholders,” said Tom Windmuller, senior vice-president, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security.
IATA reiterated some key principles of the Cabin OK initiative which will continue to guide the reassessment: Cabin OK is a guideline for an optimally sized cabin bag, not an industry standard. Cabin OK does not seek to define a maximum size for carry-on bags, which is something each airline does individually. And no consumer will be forced into buying a new bag as a result of this voluntary initiative.