Global Airline association the International Air Transport Association has been forced into an embarrassing climb down, agreeing to scrap plans to reduce bag carry-on size.

The Canada-based association said the U-turn was made in following an intense response to the plans from North America.

"In North America particularly, there have been significant concerns raised in the media and by key stakeholders," the organisation said in a statement.

"Our focus is on providing travellers with an option that would lead to a simplified and better experience. While many welcomed the Cabin OK initiative, significant concerns were expressed in North America."

Earlier in June, the group recommended airlines require carry-on bags to be 20% smaller than what major US carriers currently permit, saying that would allow for more space, AP reported.

Two US senators criticised the idea, saying it would require passengers to pay more and buy new luggage. A top US airline group that includes the world's three largest air carriers — American, Delta and United — also formally came out against the proposal on 17 June.

The current maximum carry-on size, depending on the airline, ranges from a length of 22in to 24in (56cm to 60cm), a width of about 14in to 18in (36cm to 46cm) and a depth of 9in to 16in (23cm to 41cm).

The airline groups suggested standardising the permitted carry-on size to 21.5in by 13.5in (55cm by 34cm) and a depth of 7.5in (19cm).

The air association's members account for 85% of global air traffic and stressed their regulations were only recommendations.

Airlines including Air China, Azul, Pacific, China Southern, Emirates, Lufthansa and Qatar have already accepted the Cabin OK initiative proposals.

But US carrier Delta Air Lines came out against the plans saying it had invested in larger overhead lockers for large carry-ons, adding its customers expected to be able to carry more with them in the cabin.