United Airlines removed baggage sizing
templates this week from all security screening checkpoints at Washington
Dulles International Airport following a March 22 court order banning them,
Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) said.
Elimination of the bag sizers was ordered by federal district court Judge
T. Ellis seven weeks ago in an action brought by Continental Airlines
and Continental Express, but United did not comply pending stay motions that
were denied on April 13 by the district court and on May 7 by the by Fourth
Circuit Court of Appeals.
United today faces a “show-cause” hearing where it will have to explain
why it should not be held in contempt of court for ignoring Judge Ellis` March
22 order requiring removal of the sizers.
Meantime, it`s smooth sailing for travelers at Dulles, who no longer face
the prospect of being bounced back to the ticket counter if their bags don`t
fit through the sizing templates. Airlines now have the flexibility to
address excess or oversize carry-on baggage according to their own procedures
instead of being forced to conform to United`s baggage restrictions. Also,
with the sizers gone, personnel at the security screening stations have been
able to return their focus to the primary purpose of their job.
Continental has new and retrofitted jets featuring larger overhead bins,
and Continental Express provides plane-side check-in and pick-up for hand-
carried baggage. Many jetways at Continental hubs and other airports have
special slides attached which allow agents to quickly transfer baggage from
the jetway to the ramp in the event carry-on space is exhausted. With these
advantages, Continental pursues a more flexible approach to managing carry-on
baggage by adapting to flight- and market-specific conditions.