Do Delta flyers need to fear the IATA Cabin OK Initiative 21.5″ x 13.5″ x 7.5″ carryon size?

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’s Points for Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.
Cabin OK bag

Cabin OK bag from

You would not believe how many e-mail questions I have got during the past week or so about the IATA new recommendation about smaller Cabin OK Initiative 21.5″ x 13.5″ x 7.5″ carryon size.

If you are not aware of it, here is the “skinny” on the matter. The IATA has suggested all airlines adopt smaller carryon size regulations. Many airlines have applauded the idea.

the real width of the size check box from Delta air lines delta points blog 1

So what about Delta? Many flyers have “just” purchased very expensive carryon bags or have selected Delta “Size Check” AOK sized bags as their million miler gifts and are now in FEAR that Delta will also adopt this new tiny size for carryon bags. So I reached out to Delta and was told:

“Delta’s focus and investment in the carryon experience has been with installation of larger bins on both domestic and international aircraft. We’re aware of the IATA proposal. No plans exist to change allowable carryon size on Delta at this time.” – Morgan Durrant Delta spokesman

So there you are. For now, Delta is focused on big bins and no plans to go with the tiny IATA suggestion.

Personally I, and many others I think, would just be happy if Delta enforced the current Size Check rules. As a side note to that, I have seen on a number of flights gate agents doing just that and I smiled as each over-sized bag was issued a tag to go into the belly of the jet. Thank you Delta for enforcing this more! – René

PS – Don’t forget TIME IS RUNNING OUT to get the 60,000 point limited time < — LINK Delta AMEX offer!


Gold Delta SkyMiles®
Credit Card from American Express®
Click HERE for more info



  1. @Jerry – I don’t think they are under those rules(at least when working flying). Often their bags go in closets or in cockpit or are checked plane side.

  2. Geez I had a Scooby Doo lunchbox larger than that IATA Cabin OK bag. But it had a Thermos in it and we all know liquids are a no no.

  3. I personally think that rollaboards should be banned from the cabin completely. You can gate check them, but they can’t be brought aboard.

    I would settle though for much stricter enforcement of the limits. I’ve seen GAs completely disregard all sorts of rules/procedures quite frequently though, so even this might not work.

  4. Rene,

    This makes me mad. (Not what Delta’s doing – the initiative in general.)

    Almost 3 years ago I bought this tiny Tumi International carry-on:

    One of the main reasons why I chose it was because it said it met the guidelines of allowing a bag of that size as carry-on, for the largest number of International carriers. A true “LCD” suitcase as it were.

    The dimensions are 22″ x 14″ x 9″. (Compare to 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5.)

    This thing already holds so little as it is (packing has become a ‘creative exercise’ for me, as I refuse to ever check a bag), and I’ve even found that on some smaller airlines/planes, it barely fits into their overhead bins.

    Going any smaller is just cruel at this point.

  5. Last week I saw Delta gate agents asking passengers to place their carry on luggage on that frame before boarding the plane. My question is: why don’t they enforce that BEFORE passengers go through security? They let people go through with huge bags that of course won’t fit on the plane’s overhead bin but the passengers get to the gat and know they will gate check for free instead of paying at check in. That only delays the boarding process and makes other passengers mad. At the same time, some passengers take huge bags inside and find ways to fit them. This is just a big mess.

  6. I have been on KLM flights in Europe and they did enforce their smaller carry on size and I had to gate check my American sized carry-on. Air France has been more lenient and I have not had to gate-check it. I recently had to buy a carry-on in Europe and I agree with Riot Nrrrd it is so small and holds almost nothing, I can not even use it for a 3 day weekend. I also agree about trying to never check a bag, gate check ok but from the start not if I can help it. Packing for a long trip in a normal carry-on can be a challenge but have been able to do 10 days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *