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3 On Your Side: Airlines Cracking Down On Carry-Ons

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Before you book your next trip, you might want to break out your luggage and a measuring tape.  Airlines are cracking down on carry-ons!

As 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan finds, that could cost you.

When a flight is completely full, it usually means the overhead bins will soon be full because many of these bag are bigger than these boxes.

Passengers use to be able to avoid the checked bag fee by shoving oversized carry-ons into overhead bins or checking them at the gate.

But many airlines are now trying to put an end to that. Instructing security screeners to send passengers back to the counter to check their bag if it doesn’t fit in this box.

Even seasoned travelers are being caught off guard because these boxes are shrinking.

“It used to be 45 inches total, but now it’s a strict 22 by 14 by 9 inch requirement,” said Airfare Watchdog editor, George Hobica.

Hobica is a frequent flyer, but even he was unprepared for a recent flight.

“They had me put my bag in a sizer just before the TSA line,” said Hobica.

It was just an inch too big.

“I had to go back to check-in. There was a long line and I almost missed my flight to check my back and pay a $25 fee,” said Hobica.

Jetblue and Southwest are a bit more generous with the size of the bags they will allow in the overhead bins.

But if you are booked on Delta, American or United, and you struggle to fit it into the sizer you could run into trouble, even if it’s a bag you have used before.

The crackdown on carry-ons will likely be a money maker for airlines, as they rake in more checked bag fees. And speaking of fees.  TSA security fees are going up.

Beginning Monday, travelers will pay $5.60 for a one-way trip and $11.20 for round trips.

That’s the first price increase since the fee was introduced after the September 11th attacks.

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