Jack Fink, CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COMBy Jack Fink

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – When it comes to flying, Sandra Herrington knows all too well just how tight space can be.

She arrived at DFW International Airport Wednesday afternoon from Lima, Ohio.  “It’s already difficult.  The flight I just came in on had no overhead bin space, and that’s what we have right now.”

Starting April 25th, the TSA will allow sporting equipment to be checked through security and onto the plane – gear such as golf clubs, hockey and lacrosse sticks, ski poles, and novelty bats.

Tom Parsons of Bestfares.com says depending on what the airlines do, the space-challenged aircraft could grow even more crowded.

Parson says, “Every Tom, Dick, and Harry to avoid those $25 or $30 fees are bringing thoose roller and carry-on baggage. Well, now, you’re going to bring a hockey stick, a baseball bat and put it up there?  I don’t think so.”

The union representing Southwest Airlines’ flight attendants says it’s so concerned about the sports equipment, that it asked the airline to keep the items out of passenger cabins,  and require the items to be checked.

Stacy Martin, President of Transport Workers Union Local 556 says, “Before 9-11 happened, the incidents in the air were at an alll-time high and that point.  After 9-11, what you have not only the calming influence that we’re checking this, you can’t bring this on, it has brought relative peace to the cabin.”

They worry that will change.

For its part, Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Brandy King tells us, “The new items will be integrated into its current policies.”

King says carry-on items are limited to one bag plus one smaller, personal-type item.

Southwest Airlines says it limits carry-on bag dimensions to 10x16x24 inches.

King says if the newly approved sporting equipment meets these dimensions and is a part of the allowable number of items, a customer can carry the item onboard and find space in the overhead bin free of charge.

But the airline says if the items do not meet carry-on requirements, they may be checked in substitution of one piece of the free checked baggage allowance for each passenger at no charge on a one-item-for-one-bag basis.

If the item of sporting equipment exceeds 50 pounds in weight or 62 inches in size (outside length plus height plus width), Southwest says excess weight and size charges may apply.

King says the bins on Southwest’s larger Boeing 737-800 jets will hold bags up to 12X16X25.”

American Airlines says it’s reviewing its carry-on policies.

Not all passengers are concerned, though.

Larry Conley says, “I don’ see a problem with it as long as it’ll fit in the space and people aren’t holding in their lap.”\

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