CO sues Delta over baggage sizer

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SAN DIEGO -- One size does not fit all, Continental Airlines said. In a bizarre twist to the carry-on crisis, the carrier filed a lawsuit against Delta in Superior Court of California, San Diego County, to force Delta to remove a baggage sizer fitted over a security screening device that the carriers share at San Diego Airport.

Continental said Delta, the designated overseer of the security checkpoint on the concourse they share, installed the "baggage template" in August on the understanding that if it didn't work out for everyone, Delta would remove it.

In September, Continental said, it asked Delta to remove the sizer because it was penalizing Continental's own customers for a policy imposed by Delta.

Delta refused.

Continental said it has retrofitted a number of its aircraft with larger overhead bins and has a bunch of new planes with roomier storage space, so it doesn't need to impose harsh carry-on measures.

Besides, it said, security screeners should not be dealing with customer service issues.

Continental has posted a representative at the checkpoint to ask security employees to lift the sizer when a Continental customer puts a bag through; this, it said, is inefficient.

It is seeking an injunction to have the sizers removed; it also seeks damages to be determined by the court.

Delta, which said it was unaware of the lawsuit until it appeared on the news wires, told a different story.

Earlier this year, it said, Delta, Continental, America West and Frontier met to figure out how to comply with the Air Transport Association's request that airlines deal with the carry-on crisis.

They came up with the Plexiglas template and agreed to share the costs and test it for about six months.

Everything was fine, Delta said, until Continental chairman Gordon Bethune went on a trip to San Diego, saw the template and decided he wanted it to come down.

Delta noted that the test is still going on.

It also said that passengers are happy with the device.

Meanwhile, Continental has notified United Airlines and Denver Airport that it does not want the templates to be installed at checkpoints used by Continental passengers, adding that it hopes to avoid another lawsuit.

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