Congressman Wants Luggage Laws

Rep. Lipinski's proposal regulates carry-ons and checked baggage

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Can't keep up with all the different airline baggage rules? One Congressman wants to federally regulate carry-on sizes and checked baggage fees.

    Even the most experienced of air travelers can have difficulty keeping up with airlines' rules about baggage. Which airlines are charging for checked luggage? How much is the fee? What dimensions are permitted for carry-ons?

    U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) is hoping to clear up some of the confusion with legislation. He has introduced a bill this month that would enforce a federal limit on the size of carry-on bags and personal items. His proposal standardized carry-ons at 22 inches by 18 inches by 10 inches.

    Lipinski argues that regulations on carry-ons are necessary because as more airlines charge for checked bags, more people are bringing their belongings onboard.

    "The passengers who board the plane last often don't have any place to stow their carry-ons because the people who got on first fill the overhead bins with oversize roll-on bags," said Lipinski, reports the Tribune.

    Lipinski also believes that if most airlines are now going to charge for checked baggage, they should handle that luggage quickly and efficiently. His bill would require airlines to pay a penalty fee if there is an excessive delay (over 30 minutes) in delivering checked bags from the airplane to the baggage carousel.

    "I waited 50 minutes to get my checked bag off the plane at O'Hare earlier this year," Lipinski said. "It ended up the bags had been taken off the plane and were left sitting somewhere because somebody forgot about them. It was really unbelievable!"

    David Castelveter, spokesperson for the Air Transport Association, argued that such delays cannot always be helped.

    "If your bag doesn't connect with you because your flight misconnected with your next scheduled flight or there were delays in the air-traffic system due to bad weather," said Castelveter, "then why compensate the passenger for a problem that wasn't caused by the airline?"

    Matt Bartosik, editor of Off the Rocks' next issue, is a frequent air traveler.