Carry-on fliers beware - not all “fly for free” bags are created equal.
A recent study done by Consumer Reports tested 11 popular brands like American Tourister, Samsonite and TravelPro. All were laser-measured and it turned out nine of them were larger than the tag claimed.
“We found that many manufacturers don’t count things that affect the dimensions of a bag, like the wheels and the handles. But the expectation is that when you buy a carry-on bag, it’s going to fit in the overhead bin,” said Nikhil Hutheesing from Consumer Reports.
The standard size for a carry-on is different depending on the airline. Air Canada allows 23 cm x 40 cm x 55 cm bag, where WestJet is a bit smaller at 23 cm x 38 cm x 53 cm.
The largest carry-on allowance on American-based airlines is 23 cm x 35.5 cm x 56 cm.
Jonathan Thiessen, owner of UN Luggage in Winnipeg, said this has been a problem he’s been dealing with for years.
“Some carry-ons are mislabeled. Others, even if they’ve been labeled correctly, have been built wrong sized,” he said.
Thiessen believes there is not enough communication between the airline and the luggage industries to make changes to standard-sized bags.
He keeps a carry-on luggage tester in his store to help customers pick a bag that will carry on guaranteed.
At Winnipeg’s airport on Tuesday, travellers like Joanna Pacwa were shocked to learn their carry-ons didn’t meet the set measurements, and one of them she had just purchased.
“It was bought as a carry-on so I assumed it would work,” said Pacwa.
The first bag she tried to slide into the tester was too wide and the wheels on the other prevented it from fitting.
Now, she will have to pay check both bags.
On Air Canada, a second checked bag costs $26.25 CAD and on WestJet it ranges from $25.00-29.50 CAD.