Airline carry-on luggage - will there be a uniform size?

A new recommendation from the International Air Transport Association suggests an “optimal” carry-on luggage size of 21.5 inches (55cm) tall by 13.5 inches (34cm) wide by 7.5 inches (19cm) deep for airline passengers.

This is smaller in size than the current maximum size allowed by many airlines.

While non-binding, the IATA recommendation has already been adopted by eight carriers: Air China, Avianca, Azul, Cathay Pacific, China Southern, Emirates, Lufthansa and Qatar.

IATA represents 260 major scheduled carriers, or 83 per cent of total commercial air traffic.

"There has to be a size that if the passenger buys it, they know they can take it on board with them," Thomas Windmuller, IATA's  senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo and security told media. "It should speed the boarding process. We see this as a win, win, win for everybody."

Airlines currently have many different rules in place. For example, maximum allowable hand-luggage volumes are 41, 800cm3 on Emirates, but  63,000cm3 with British Airways. That's 22 inches tall, 18 inches wide and 10 inches deep.

Consumer campaigners have blamed airlines wanting to get more seats on aircraft for trying to reduce luggage capacity.