You know the drill…..you are at the airport anxiously awaiting your boarding zone to be called.  You pace…..you get almost in line to be the first in your zone….you are like a race horse waiting for the gate to open to run the Kentucky Derby.  

Why?  

It’s not about getting into your assigned seat, it’s about overhead baggage space.  We shove, we reorganize, we smush items in a teeny space with people pawing at the ground behind us so they can get their turn. We scan the open bins for the perfect spot for our bag so we don’t have to put out bag behind us–putting your bag behind you is the kiss of death for de-planing efficiency…especially if our connection is a big tighter than we would like.  

Sometimes we look at the carry-on bag in front of us knowing there is no way that bag is going to fit in the minuscule space left. 

We push the limits….we wait for the gate agent to be a bit distracted an roll our bag as far out of sight as possible.  We will do anything to get out of the airport faster upon our arrival….and avoid that checked baggage fee….

Well, the good ole days are coming to an end.  We knew it was coming….it’s been on the horizon for a while.  The allowable carry-on sizes are shrinking and the airlines are paying rapt attention to their travelers to ease the carryon congestion.  It was bound to happen. 

Travelers should measure their usual carry-on bags to ensure they meet the new requirements or they will find themselves back at the check-in line to check their bag.  Let me repeat that—travelers may find themselves back in the check in line and if you have already checked a bag, you will find yourself paying that hefty second bag charge. 

Pay close attention!!  When measuring your bag, make sure you include wheels, straps, and handles. 

There have been reports of carry-on size checks by the TSA at the security check points to ensure carry-on compliance. 

You don’t want to miss your flight because you have to re-check your bags.  You don’t want to spend precious dollars of your vacation budget to check a second bag when a nice dinner out would be a better use of those funds. 

Here are the Carry-On allowances for the popular airlines from Indianapolis as of June 20, 2014:  

  • American Airlines  22 inches  x 14 inches x 9 inches
  • Delta Airlines  22 inches  x 14 inches x 9 inches
  • United Airlines  22 inches  x 14 inches x 9 inches
  • Air Canada 21.5 inches x 15.5 inches x 9 inches
  • Frontier 24 inches x 16 inches x 10 inches and the bag can’t weigh more than 35 pounds.
  • Southwest Airlines  24 inches x 16 inches x 10 inches

Look for more streamlining in the future and even greater attention to carry-on baggage size.  Even if you have taken you bag on hundreds of flights, it may be time to consider a new carry-on purchase to avoid hassle.