carry-on luggage air canada

Air Canada passenger warns of carry-on luggage crackdown at Toronto airport

People flying out of Toronto are growing bolder, it seems, in trying to sneak their huge bags aboard flights as "carry-on luggage" or "personal items."

The behaviour is far from new; frugal travellers have been stuffing their way-too-big suitcases into overhead bins for years to avoid checked baggage fees with some airlines.

These people get caught sometimes, but often they don't, leaving at least a few passengers on every packed flight without room for their backpacks or purses — which must then either be checked (at a cost) or forced to share what precious little space is reserved for a person's legs behind the seat in front of them.

Discount airlines like Sunwing and WestJet, which usually charge extra for checked bags, are known for this kind of thing, but colloquial tales (and my own recent personal experiences) suggest that people are now trying to pass off huge bags as carry-ons with Air Canada, too.

Some may be hoping to save a buck if they have multiple suitcases in tow, but it stands to reason that many are simply afraid to surrender their precious belongings to an airline that has become notorious in recent months for losing a heck ton of luggage.

Whatever the case, Canada's largest airline and flag carrier has started cracking down on carry-on bag sizes recently.

Food and travel blogger Solmaz Khosrowshahian (aka The Curious Creature) uploaded a video to TikTok from Toronto Pearson International Airport last week in which she warns her followers to check Air Canada's carry-on size standards before leaving home.

"This is a PSA for anyone flying at a Pearson going with Air Canada. They are getting serious about their carry-on luggage situation. Like it's a struggle," she says in the clip, which shows travellers being forced by airport staff to put their bags into metal sizers. "People are just
struggling here."

Solmaz, who flies out of Pearson on an almost monthly basis for work, says this was the first time she'd ever seen Air Canada check the sizes of every single carry-on bag in line.

"The wheels have to fit, so just make sure before you head to the airport," she said in the clip, which has now been viewed more than half a million times on TikTok.

The content creator was careful to note that Air Canada's onboard bag dimensions are currently 55 cm x 40 cm x 23 cm, with no weight limit.

"Maximum dimensions include wheels and handles!" reads a text overlay on the TikTok. "They never used to be strict about this, but they are now."

When asked if staff had been enforcing carry-on baggage rules more carefully lately, Air Canada told blogTO that, "like all airlines, we have various policies and strategies to manage carry-on baggage in a way that balances the convenience of customers with our operational requirements for the efficient boarding of aircraft."

Air Canada pointed us toward the policies available on their website, where it is stated that all passengers, regardless of their destination, can bring one standard article and one personal article with them as they fly.

The dimensions listed for carry-on luggage are the same as those laid out by Solmaz in her PSA, while personal articles (illustrated by a purse on AC's website) must be 33cm x 16cm x 43cm or smaller.

Some customers are calling the policy (or, rather, Air Canada's recent decision to start enforcing it more consistently) a "cash grab," suggesting that the airline simply wants more people to spend money checking their bags in cargo.

"Even after fitting bag in slot Air Canada still made me gate check," wrote one frustrated Twitter user on Wednesday. "YYZ carousels are a pit of despair of delays and lost luggage. #Afraid #WhyDidIBotherPackingSmartly."

Others are checking their bags as instructed, only to find out that there would have been more than enough space to accommodate them in the cabin.

Some, however, are pleased with the move after asking Air Canada to start cracking down on too-big bags in the past.

However they feel about overhead bin hogs, anyone who flies with any airline wants their luggage to arrive with them at their destination, on time, not four weeks later.

Customers who took the time to carefully pack their things into an appropriately-sized carry-on bag for convenience and safety shouldn't be forced to gamble with checking their bags below.

At the very least, Air Canada should try to prioritize customers who agree to put their carry-ons in cargo to save space, as requested by workers.

"So. Got home, and Air Canada successfully got my checked luggage to my destination," wrote one Canadian on Twitter earlier this month.

"However, my carry-on, they also asked me to check, to save on overhead storage capacity did not make it. At the airport, the baggage claim office was closed as well."

I guess it could always be worse, as far as Air Canada (or pretty much any other airline flying out of Toronto these days) is concerned.

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