Daisy Parker

Daisy Parker

Super packer Daisy Parker discusses the IATA recommendation for a standard size for hand luggage bags.

Earlier this week, IATA, the International Air Transport Association recommended a standard size for hand luggage bags. As someone who travels a lot – and prides themselves on being a streamlined packer – I immediately reached for the tape measure to see whether my bag would meet the new recommendations.

You see, IATA’s recommendation of 55 x 35 x 20 cm (21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches) maximum is smaller than the maximum currently allowed by BA (56x45x25 – soon to be reduced to 40x30x15), easyJet (56x45x25), Ryanair (56x40x20), Thomas Cook (55x40x20) and Virgin (56x36x23) – and this means that my trusty (and somewhat battered) case could soon be redundant.

When you only have a short time in a destination, the precious minutes saved waiting for your bags to arrive can be put to good use.

Many years ago, there used to be standard measurements for hand baggage allowed to be carried in an aircraft cabin. Gradually this changed with airlines increasing their hand baggage size, as in recent years travelling with just hand luggage has grown in popularity. You only have to look at the huge array of cosmetics now available in ‘travel size’ to see that more and more of us are travelling with just a small wheelie or back pack.

This is in part due to the popularity of short breaks, in particular city breaks, which our research tells us were the nation’s favourite type of holiday last year. When you only have a short time in a destination, the precious minutes saved waiting for your bags to arrive can be put to good use.

Back to bags, airlines remain free to make their own commercial decision so if you’re a frequent hand luggage traveller, it’s worth keeping an eye on this story as it develops. And I’ll be waiting to replace my battered bag – it would be a shame to buy a new cabin bag now, based on the size your preferred airline currently has, only to see it reduce in the coming months.