This may come under the “careful what you wish for” category. We have all grumbled under our breath (well sometimes, no-so-under-our-breath) about passengers carrying oversized luggage aboard plane as carry-on luggage. Rep. Lipinski (D-Ill.) is proposing a law mandating the maximum size of bags a passenger can carry on board.

Do you feel a federal law is necessary to standardize carry-on luggage rules?
Do you think TSA should be policing carry-on luggage size? Register your thoughts here on our poll.

A year ago, I predicted the coming overload of carry-on baggage because of the checked-baggage fees. I also predicted the increase in time needed to get through TSA security checkpoints because of the increase in hand luggage. All have come true. This new federal law is only going to make things worse at the TSA checkpoints and will do little to limit carry-on bag problems.

The airlines aren’t doing anything to help themselves, if this is such a big problem. Ticketing agents and airline representatives at check-in are mum as passengers get boarding passes. Airline customer service representatives rarely make passengers go back to check-in when they see travelers waiting in security lines. Gate agents, often take tickets and let passengers with oversized baggage stroll down the Jetway without a word.

Flight attendants, some of the most vocal for this new legislation, don’t stop passengers with oversized luggage and a few extra pieces of luggage from breezing through the plane door with garment bags, purses, computer bags slung over their shoulders while dragging a double rollerboard behind them.

Rep. Lipinski’s proposed legislation that would set a national standard for carry-on luggage and put the TSA in charge of enforcing the carry-on rules as bags go through the screening system. The standardized rule is unnecessary the TSA policing actions simply bad policy.

Getting TSA involved will add to the governments cost of operation by eventually requiring additional TSA staff to handle these additional duties. A template won’t work at the screening area, since the proposed rules maintain a limit of 50 inches on the total dimensions. No maximum height/width/length is proscribed. Undoubtable, the TSA lines will be delayed as officers make additional checks required under the legislation and as passengers complain, argue and repack bags to meet the regulations.

I don’t see anything good about this proposal. The airlines should enforce their own rules and TSA should stick with its focus on security.

Perhaps DOT could mandate a common carry-on size that all airlines can use to eliminate confusion, but passing a law to handle this kind of problem caused in a large part by the airlines’ own greed won’t solve the problem.

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