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Carry-on bags shrinking? Slimmer suitcases are on the way

If carry-on bags must shrink, start looking for your new favorite piece to bring on board.

Carry-on mavens, lighten up a little. The suggestion by the International Air Transport Assn. that carry-on bags shrink a bit means everyone on the plane can fit theirs in the overhead bin.

It's just a guideline right now, but already luggage makers are planning to make the leap.

Travel bag maker Tumi on Wednesday rolled out its design for a sleek bag that conforms to what the IATA proposed the day before: Carry-on bags limited to the smaller size of 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches.

Tumi calls the bag the IATA Cabin OK 4 Wheel Carry-On.

The company says it will carry a logo to signify that it complies with the slimmer size. Also, it will have an ID code that airlines may reference to "validate that the travel case complies with the optimum size guidelines," a Tumi statement says.

It won't be available until later this year, and will cost $495.

IATA's slimmer carry-on guidelines are meant to right some potential wrongs. It would mean each flier on planes with 120 passengers or more would have enough bin space for their bag -- instead of being crowded out and forced to check it.

The IATA said in a statement that it's working with several baggage manufacturers to develop carry-ons that meet its guidelines. So far, no airline has said it would adopt the new carry-on guidelines.

Though the proposed rule shaves just a half inch off some airline limits -- for example, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines allow 22 x 14 x 9-inch bags -- that's a big deal if your favorite go-to carry-on bag gets put on the no-fly list.

So will this all lead to overhead bin bliss? Molly Brown at GeekWire thinks not.

"Instead of once again putting the onus on the air traveler to replace their bag — a pricey and annoying option — perhaps airlines could find a better way to handle the hot mess that is always the carry-on situation," she writes.

"I, for one, am sick of watching Suzy Q. Public haphazardly cram her overstuffed Vera Bradley duffel, puffy coat, snack bag, what-have-you sloppily into the overhead, taking up way more room than she is entitled to. I highly doubt that making your bag smaller by an inch is going to fix this problem."

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