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Carry on luggage

FAA issues new carry-on baggage guidelines

No industry-wide standards on size, however

July 22, 1998
Web posted at: 5:10 p.m. EDT (1710 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Federal Aviation Administration's new guidance on carry-on baggage does not set industry-wide standards for the size of such articles, but it does recommend that individual airlines spell out clearly what is allowed and what is not allowed on board flights.

The FAA issued the new guidance Wednesday.

"Safety is our highest priority," FAA Administrator Jane Garvey said in a statement. "This carry-on baggage AC (Advisory Circular) will make it easier for airlines to establish requirements that will be clear to both passengers and crew."

Should the FAA do more about carry-on bags? Sound off on our message board.

  FAA recommends:
  • Bags stored under seats should not protrude beyond the fully upright seat back

  • Overhead storage bins should not be so full they need to be forced closed

  • Designate a crew member to assure bags are stored properly and overhead bins are closed securely

  • Spell out clearly how child seats are handled under the rules

  • But, Garvey added, the best safety measure is to use common sense. "Keep your seat belt fastened to protect yourself against turbulence, make sure infants travel in safety seats, and listen to crew members," she said.

    FAA guidelines issued in 1988 limited passengers to two carry-on bags, but left it to the airlines to decide what constituted carry-on luggage and what size such bags could be. Some airlines have voluntarily reduced the number of bags allowed per passenger to one on crowded flights, while others have expanded the list of what they count as carry-on (such as laptop computers).

    Many in the airline industry had urged the FAA to set standard size limits, but Wednesday's guidance still allows airlines to make their own rules.

    "Under the new guidance, the airline's FAA-approved, carry-on-baggage program should describe what constitutes carry-on baggage, including the individual carrier's limitations on the size and number of bags permitted per passenger," the FAA's statement announcing the new guidance said. "... Operators should also have procedures for informing passengers about specific carry-on baggage requirements for each flight as well as what cannot be carried in carry-on baggage, such as hazardous materials."

    The new guidance also specifies that the airlines' carry-on program should make clear how child seats are to be handled under their rules.

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