We refer to the letter from your correspondent asking about airline cabin baggage regulations (Sunday Morning Post, December 29).
We acknowledge that cabin baggage regulations, or the administration of them, tend to be inconsistent in some parts of the world and that this can lead to confusion for airline customers. We can also understand why the travelling community may want airlines to adopt common standards and practices, however, in reality, it is not that simple.
Conditions throughout the world are different, when taking into account the abundant mix of aircraft types and associated in-cabin storage.
This can be further complicated by increased inter-airline travel, where customers are directly connecting between flights operated by wide-body aircraft, on to relatively small aircraft, with more confined storage.
For international sectors, Ansett Australia essentially allows one item for each guest travelling in the economy class cabin, with a maximum linear dimension of 46 centimetres x 33cm x two centimetres.
Each guest travelling in first or business class is allowed two items, each not exceeding 56cm x 36cm x 23cm. This is possible because of the additional storage capacity in those cabins.
Having said that, we are also mindful that some guests have different in-flight requirements. For example, a mother travelling with small children may require additional storage and, therefore, at Ansett Australia we promote a common-sense approach amongst our customer service staff, taking into account each individual circumstance. This is practical, provided isolated circumstances do not compromise overall standards and safety.
While some customers might perceive cabin baggage policies as 'working against them', they are formulated to preserve the welfare, comfort and safety of all guests and it would be irresponsible for airlines to disregard these matters.
At Ansett Australia, we genuinely seek to maintain a practical position, that ensures the welfare of all our guests.
ROBERT F. EVANS General Manager Hong Kong Ansett Australia