Continental Airlines Objects To Sizers At Denver International Airport

Continental Airlines today issued letters to United Airlines and Denver International Airport requesting that they immediately change their plans to restrict carry-on baggage by installing templates or baggage sizers at x-ray security checkpoints at DIA. This sentiment echoes Continental`s concerns at other airports throughout its system that it finds “sizers” to be an unacceptable solution to carry-on baggage issues.

“The security function should not be confused by having security personnel serve as `bag cops`,” said Mark Erwin, senior vice president of airport services. “As we saw in San Diego, having a sizer at the x-ray machine delays and inconveniences passengers—exactly the opposite result of good customer service.”

Continental believes carry-on baggage should be managed individually by airlines, since policies vary among carriers. Continental is in the midst of a $14 million retrofit project to install expanded overhead bins on more than 150 aircraft. It is also taking delivery of more new aircraft, which have more in-cabin storage space, than any other airline.

Installation of sizers is part of a trend at major airlines to crack down on passengers` purported “abuse” of carry-on baggage. For instance, a flight attendants` union representative from one major airline was quoted in the Nov. 2 Aviation Daily as saying that sizers would help remedy the “spoiled-brat petulance” of carry-on abusers. Continental does not support this industry trend, and intends to accommodate carry-on baggage when practicable.

Continental is raising the issue now in Denver to prevent United`s installation of sizers on x-ray machines located at three security checkpoints which United controls at DIA and shares with other carriers. Continental hopes to avoid the institution of a lawsuit such as it brought in San Diego, where Continental brought an action against Delta Air Lines to have Delta`s sizers removed at San Diego International Airport. Delta has refused to do so voluntarily.