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Will your carry-on fit in that overhead bin? Kayak’s new AR tool can tell you

It’s the air traveler’s walk of shame — pushing through all the passengers boarding the plane in that narrow aisle to gate check the carry-on that wouldn’t fit in the overhead bin. Now, travel search engine Kayak may have a solution to this problem that will help travelers figure out which bag will meet each airline’s carry-on requirements. Kayak’s augmented reality (AR) bag measurement tool can be found inside the platform’s iOS app and officially launched in mid-September.

Tapping on “new bag measurement tool” inside the app’s flight search will now allow the device’s camera to measure the bag you have. The app instructs the user to point the camera at the floor first, an initial step that helps calibrate the tool for better measurements. Next, users move the camera around the bag, while the app takes the measurements.

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*Think* your carry-on will fit in the overhead? Avoid embarrassing “um, we’ll need to gate check that” situations by using our new Bag Measurement tool. Using augmented reality, we’re able to size up your baggage and let you know if it’ll pass. Learn more:

— KAYAK (@KAYAK) September 17, 2018

After scanning the bag, the app tells travelers the dimensions of the bag, which can be compared with the airline’s carry-on requirements. Kayak says that the tool also includes price comparisons for different airlines.

“A pain point in the travel experience is that moment you begin to worry if your bag will fit in the overhead bin, and now we’ve got a tool that can help,” said Giorgos Zacharia, Kayak’s chief technology officer. “There are a lot of AR applications that are fun — but this one was designed to be truly useful for travelers.”

The new AR bag measurement tool is a result of what Kayak calls SWAT week — an engineering competition that encourages rapid, innovative development of new app and website features. The company says that AR, along with virtual reality and artificial intelligence, is a focus for the company’s investments.

Available now, the new AR bag tool is only available on the iOS version of the Kayak app. The feature requires iOS 11.3 or later to run, and joins other trip-planning tools like estimated security wait times, directions for finding your gate (or food) inside the airport, and finding out if your delayed flight means some cash back.

This isn’t the only AR bag measurement tool around — Southwest Airlines has one inside its dedicated app — but the Kayak app uses the tool across multiple airlines, each of which can have variations in luggage allowances.

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