The new carry-on baggage allowance was officially released on Tuesday, and the changes take effect immediately, regardless of when the passenger booked their ticket.
Interestingly, Etihad Airways operates predominantly wide-body aircraft, including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and, more recently, the Airbus A350 — both of these aircraft are equipped with new overhead lockers that have been specially designed to store more hand luggage.
Passengers traveling with Etihad must now ensure that their carry-on baggage complies with the new rules or they will be required to check in excess hand baggage at check-in.
The new rules state that a single piece of carry-on baggage must weigh no more than 7 kg with a size limit of 56 cm x 36 cm x 23 cm.
Thus, all purchases in Duty Free stores made before departure must fit in a bag of a suitable size. Indeed, unlike other airlines, a separate «personal item» not allowed.
Emirates has a much the same strict hand luggage policy, but still allows passengers to bring duty-free purchases on board in separate bags. Qatar Airways allows duty-free shopping and small personal items.
It should be noted that a number of other major airlines are much more generous with carry-on baggage allowances. Air Franceallows one large bag up to 55 cm in length, as well as personal items such as a handbag or laptop, as well as a package from a duty-free shop. American Airlines allows bags, personal items, dut free bags and a wardrobe trunk.
British Airways allows duty-free shopping, personal items and an even larger bag weighing up to 23 kg — by the way, exactly the same norm of the maximum weight of checked baggage for economy class passengers.
As a rule, low-cost carriers, who are looking for an additional source of income in everything, set strict rules for carrying hand luggage. However, in recent years, classic airlines have also been looking to slash regulations and services in an attempt to cut costs.
Will Etihad be as tough on passengers and compliance as budget competitors? Time will tell. In the meantime, we can only hope for the loyalty of the carrier and its tolerance for passengers, even if they slightly exceed the official baggage allowance.