Dubai: Operators in the travel industry have advised passengers flying out of Dubai International  to adhere to the new baggage regulations that go into effect today, March 8, to avoid delays.

Starting today, bags that don’t have at least one flat surface will be rejected at check-in, including irregularly shaped and oversized items, as they can bog down the luggage handling process.

“Customers are being asked to not bring round bags to DXB as they can jam our baggage system, delay baggage delivery and inconvenience other passengers. Please ensure baggage has at least one flat surface,” the airport authority said in its latest passenger alert.

An Emirates spokesperson said the airline is also advising its customers to check its website for all baggage enquiries, to avoid confusion.  “We are quite specific and detailed with our passengers when it comes to baggage dimensions even when we have exceptions.”

With the new changes announced only last week, some passengers are still likely to show up with non-compliant bags.

Premjit Bangara, travel manager at Sharaf Travel, said that since the announcement, they have been inundated with calls from customers seeking to clarify the new baggage rules.

“All airlines have been duly informed of these changes, as well as local travel agents. [But] there could be a few incidents where passengers turn up with boxes or suitcases which do not conform to the new rules,” Bangara said.

He, however, clarified that the new regulations are not likely to affect the majority of the travelling public, even those who don’t invest in a suitcase.

The new rules also don’t mean that passengers who fail to comply won’t be allowed to check in their belongings, as they still have an option to repack their stuff for a fee or proceed to the oversized baggage counter.

“The ruling clearly states that only bags with flat surfaces will only be accepted. Flat-bottomed rectangular and square [packages] which are used by a majority of travellers with modest means will continue to be accepted, provided they are not oversized and irregularly shaped,” said Bangara.

“It also clearly states that these bags can only be secured by tape, not be thick plastic ropes which is the current practice. The logic being that these knotted ropes could snag themselves on the conveyor belts and cause downtime, which in turn would affect and delay the processing of baggage at the airport.”

Here are a few tips to ensure a smooth check-in:

1.      Use a bag that has at least one flat surface.
2.      Do not use irregularly shaped suitcases.
3.      Don’t tie thick plastic ropes around your luggage. If you must, secure it with a tape.
4.      Make sure your baggage is not larger than 90 centimetres long, 75 centimetres high and 60 centimetres wide
5.      Adhere to the weight limit specified by your carrier.
6.      Remember the old rule: Liquids that you put in your hand luggage should not exceed 100ml per container, which must be placed in a clear, resealable plastic bag.