The notice, labeled "Changes to the Carry-On Baggage Policy'' with and "Effective Date: Immediately May 18, 2010'' even includes a veiled threat at a fine of $25,000 per bag. American has been stepping up enforcement of their carry-on baggage size limits. All bags must now fit in the sizer boxes located at gates and meet also the airline's dimensional limit.
American's policy states that a carry-on bag cannot exceed length, width and height that add up to more than 45 inches. In addition, the bag can't be longer than 22 inches, wider than 14 inches or deeper than 9 inches. Guitars are an exception to this rule. The airline notes that the policy " includes all passengers, regardless or tier status or class of service flown.'' And it includes a warning in red letters: "Failure to comply with the carry-on bag policy (which is approved by the FAA) could result in a civil penalty up to $25,000.00 USD per bag, per flight.''
Since there are fewer flights this summer and most will be full, most likely other airlines will be enforcing bag sizes as well. The airlines are losing revenue when passengers carry too much on board and then end up checking it for free when bins are too full.
It might be a good idea to check your bag for the dimensions when packed, before going to the airport. It may fit easily into the overhead bin but not comply with posted dimensions.
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