Carry On Flying


You often get a fair amount of time to think while flying and as I’ve had the opportunity to fly a little, both domestically and internationally over the past twelve or so months, here are a few of the things I’ve been pondering while thousands of metres above the earth.

The first person to develop noise cancelling headphones that block out the sound of babies and small children crying will become an instant multi-millionare … and quite possibly be awarded a Nobel prize.

No one is so evil that they deserve to drink airline coffee.

When the cabin crew invite you to ask for anything that would make your flight more comfortable are you allowed to ask them to remove the row in front of you so that you’ll have room to store your legs?

But one of the biggest mysteries when flying is how do people manage to bring the entire contents of their home onto the aircraft …. in their carry on baggage? I am honestly amazed at the volume of luggage people attempt to stow in the overhead cabins or stash under the seat. Sure, you need transport when you get to your destination, but that’s no reason to put a luggage strap around your family car and call it cabin baggage.

Now the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade association for the world’s airlines, is looking to do something about the problem with their Cabin OK initiative. IATA represents around 250 airlines or 84% of total air traffic.

IATA has been working on the standardization of cabin bag sizes, as the current variety of policies among airlines can lead to frustration for passengers.

I always do my best to only travel with cabin baggage, even on international trips, but I always check each airline’s policy and ensure that I’m complying with their requirements. Sometimes, when I see the amount of cabin luggage others take onto an aircraft I’m tempted to wonder why I went to all the trouble of ensuring I was within the limit.

This Cabin OK initiative aims to solve the on-board cabin space challenges that passengers, airline ground teams and cabin crew have been facing.

  • Airlines will experience faster turnarounds without having to take bags from the cabin to the hold. Gate staff and cabin crew will be able to easily identify bags which meet the common bag dimensions.

  • Passenger satisfaction will increase with the reduction of frustrations of carrying their bags on board and an increased clarity of acceptable bag sizes.

  • Luggage manufacturers will be able to offer new Cabin OK size-compliant bags to passengers.

Do you think the initiative is a good idea? Do you think it’ll make a difference?

I’m wondering if this will be the end of people lugging heavy items on board while trying to pretend they weigh next to nothing.

Are you one of those people that takes everything, including the kitchen sink, onto a flight as cabin baggage, or are you someone who stares in amazement at the balancing skills of those who load themselves up before heading through the departure gate?

What are the other things you wonder about when flying? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section of this post.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • I just got off a flight to Adelaide on which a drummer had tried to fit his cymbal case into the overhead locker. It was obviously too big, but that didn’t stop him from trying every possible way that it might fit. In the end the cabin crew offers to put it in a ‘special locker’ up the front. I’m just glad he wasn’t a piano player.

    • I can’t remember the flight but I recall a young boy getting onto a plane with his boogie board. How did he think that’d fit in the locker or under the seat? Why did the gate staff even let him take in on board?

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