I just learned from American Airlines that they have reduced the size of “allowed” carry-on bags by 30%. According to a company spokesperson the change was a business decision made by American’s management team. The reason for the change was unclear and when I asked for additional clarification the spokesperson indicated the change was made to reduce the airlines FAA fines for “ground delays.”
I asked if the aircraft in American Airlines fleet had recently or were planned to be reconfigured based on the change and was told that the change would not affect the current or planed aircraft configurations.
So basically, American Airlines reduced the size of carry-on bags they will allow you to bring onboard and instead allow you to pay to check the same size bag you carried on last week. Meanwhile the amount of available overhead space in their aircraft remains the same.
I’ve seen companies do a lot of interesting things but this is just ridiculous. I realize I’m probably a little more sensitive to the issue because I am a frequent flyer (> 100 segments/year). I have a standard size Tumi “pulley style” suitcase that I have carried on many different airlines, on over 200 flights in the last 3 years.
In the interest of fairness, I wrote a letter of concern to American Airlines regarding this matter and I eagerly await their response. In the meantime, I have no choice but to board American Airlines flight 697 but I will be cancelling the remainder of my reservations with American Airlines and rebooking with another airline. I called Continental, Southwest, Jet Blue and US Airways to verify their carry-on baggage policy and they all confirmed my suitcase is within the limits to be carried onboard their flights and welcomed my business.