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Research Papers on the Controversy Over Carry-on Baggage

Research papers on the airline industry may focus on the controversy regarding carry-on baggage. This is a relevant and interesting topic, as the debate over carry-on luggage has raged for over a decade.

Within the last several years, the discussion of legislation regarding industry-wide standardization on limitations for carry-on baggage has been widely debated throughout the US airline industry. Meanwhile, the rest of the world has elected to sit back and wait to see what becomes of this debate before pursuing any actions regarding carry-on baggage. While a number of airline industry-based groups have advocated standardization on the number, size, and weight of bags that would be allowed onto an aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has yet to take any serious action to this point. As a result, the debate over carry-on baggage restrictions still exists and causes unnecessary confusion and difficulty for both the airlines themselves as well as their passengers.

As the number of airline passengers has increased in recent years, the number of passengers electing to bring their luggage on board a plane instead of checking their bags has also increased. Some passengers feel that checking their bags will lead to loss, damage, or theft. Others find waiting in check-in lines too time-consuming and opt to check-in at their gate. As a result overhead bins and storage compartments on flights are often overcrowded. These overcrowded bins lead to approximately 4,500 injuries annually in the United States according to Air Safety Week, an industry newletter. These injuries result from baggage that falls on passengers when bins are opened after arrival or when bins accidentally opening during rough transit.

Late last year, the 43,000-member Association of Flight Attendants called for a nationwide law that would regulate the number of bags allowed to be carried onto a flight as well as the size and weight of those bags. The Association of Flight Attendants cited the following as reasons for the legislation:

  • The large number of injuries that occur annually
  • The verbal abuse suffered by flight attendants due to passengers who will not follow existing airline policies
  • The delay of flights associated with longer boarding times needed for passengers with too many bags for the need for carry-on standardization (Air)

An additional organization, the International Transport Workers Federation, expressed similar concerns and findings and also noted that the FAA and other international aviation-governing organizations, such as Transport Canada and the Joint Aviation Authorities, do not impose quantity, weight, or volume limits on carry-on baggage (International). The Luggage & Leather Goods Manufacturers Association have also drafted a proposal for legislation requiring standardized carry-on baggage rules. These recent outcries have brought the issue of standardized carry-on baggage legislation to the forefront of aviation legislation today.

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