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A Serious Question about Carry-on Luggage

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by overedge, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    On the last few flights I've taken (domestic and international, on a couple of different airlines) the airline staff have been *very* strict about the size, weight, etc. of checked baggage.....but basically turn a blind eye to people with carry-on bags that are, oh, roughly the size of my house :p And with more bags than the signs and the tickets say are allowed.

    I'm curious about this. Why do airlines not enforce, or not seem to enforce, the regulations on carry-on luggage? Do they figure it's just easier to let them get on the plane with whatever, rather than force them to check the extra bags or large bags and pay for them? Or do they kind of not care what goes in the cabin, as long as it gets through security? Or is this just something about the airlines I travelled on?
  2. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    It takes more time to board the plane when people carry on so much luggage, because people block the aisles stowing all that stuff and because they often need to search around them for space. The flight attendants are put in a position either to police the people who shove their stuff in the front of the plane, leaving little room for the people actually sitting there, or to wait until there are angry people who encounter empty rows and full overhead compartments. (Although I've found that United, at least, tends to be protective of Economy Plus overhead space, being willing to piss off Premier and Premier Execs who board early but are in the back of the plane.)

    I've been amazed at the amount of carry-on stuff they let people take on planes. I can't believe they let people take on suitcases that don't fit in width-wise and take up half a bin. Right after 9/11, they did try to police the number of carry-ons per person going through security, but they stopped counting after a while. While boarding an Alaska flight a couple of years ago, I was lectured for having a Red Oxx backpack suitcase, which meets the size regs and takes up less space than an approved carry-on sized suitcase, a laptop case, which fit under the seat, and a winter jacket, which I kept on my lap, but they let me on. I was expecting a repeat on my way back the next day, but nada.

    The only person I saw who was blocked by the gate agent was an elderly woman who moving back from Japan and was heading to Houston where her husband was hospitalized. She had had a hellish set of flights -- United has lost her dogs -- and as she tried to board, the gate agent told her she couldn't bring on her standard-size roll-on suitcase, her purse, and one of those squarish flight attendant vanity cases from the '60's in which she had all of her medications. He insisted she check her drugs or her suitcase right there, because it was a federal regulation that only two carry-ons be allowed. This was the only time I saw this enforced and this explanation given.

    I never seen anyone be charged for gate checking luggage, I think because really big suitcases don't fit through the security x-ray machines. At least when something is gate-checked, you know it's on the right plane. My favorite checked luggage scenario is where there's a metal cart right outside the plane to dump your luggage on the way in, and you pick it up from the cart on the other end. This is for small planes where there's no jetway.
  3. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

    It depends on the airline. In Europe, Ryan Air makes an enormous amount of profit by forcing you to check your hand luggage at the airport when it is 1cm bigger than specified, or 1cm larger. If you ever travel with them, beware - there is no way you'll get away with even 100g more than 10kg hand luggage.

    Easyjet, on the other hand, prefer you to take one very heavy piece of hand luggage than check an item, because the less checked luggage there is, the less dependent they are on airport staff and the faster the turnover.

    There is also a safety issue - lots of people have VERY heavy bags that they can't lift, and they expect the crew to help them lift it. The crew aren't supposed to life hand luggage that's more than the specified weight. It's not their job.

    I've seen quite a lot of people charged for gate checking luggage, although I know a few who got away with it.
  4. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    The airlines I've flown here in the US quite recently have been much more strict about carry-on luggage than in the past. They check sizes by eye, and make people check bags that are too large. I think that's because checked baggage is now a profit center for the airline - they charge per piece.
  5. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    When we were leaving NYC this past December I saw tons of people with larger than allowed carry on luggage as well as more pieces than allowed. However, I assumed they let it slide because a huge winter storm had shut down the airports for a couple of days and a ton of people on our flight were people who had their flights canceled the days before. So I think they were just being lenient and trying to get everyone to their destination.
  6. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    Australia have been very strict when I've flown Australia - China. They weigh it *and* make sure that it regulation size. Last time they even made me weigh my handbag (I ended up having to give books to my parents to post me!!) It's occupation health and safety regulations. Tears no longer work.
  7. Stefanie

    Stefanie Well-Known Member

    Exactly! If you yourself have trouble lifting it, then it's not carry-on luggage!!! :wall:
  8. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Hit ball, find ball, hit it again.

    I was on a smallish jet from Boston to Raleigh in April. They were very strict and didn't allow anyone to gate check an item that wouldn't have fit in the overhead on a regular flight. The gate attendant advised folks in advance that if it was even a smidge over the 45 total linear inches, they would charge for the checked bag fee.
  9. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

    I'd rather airlines charge for carry-on luggage than checked luggage. People with a lot of carry-on luggage are annoying, though I think some of them might pack so much to avoid the charge. I hate being behind them, especially if I have little time to make a connecting flight.
  10. Auntie

    Auntie Well-Known Member

    I usually fly small regional air lines so I get to gate check, which is ideal. You don't pay the checked bag fee, you don't have to fight for an overhead bin and your bags are waiting for you right outside the plane.

    I fly Delta quite a bit and when I am on a larger plane, the carry on rules seem pretty lenient. I've never seen anyone get a hard time for having a huge bag or too many bags. It could be because I fly in and out of East Podunk.
  11. Civic

    Civic New Member

    This has always been one of my pet peeves when flying; waiting in line while some bozo tries to stuff his/her too big bag into the overhead bin. Since I'm usually alone when I fly, I *always* check my luggage. Otherwise I have to schlep it with me when I go to the bathroom or grab a bite to eat.
  12. Stefanie

    Stefanie Well-Known Member

    I also travel alone, and I've decided this is the worst thing about traveling alone: having no one to watch your stuff when you have time to kill in the airport.
  13. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    But this should force you to pack less and smaller. If all your carry-ons can fit in a backpack like contraption then it's no trouble keeping an eye on your stuffs while killing time at the airport.

    Since we're ranting about plane .... I just had an 11 hours flight back to the States recently. The woman sitting next to me not only filled out her seat to its maximum, but she also spilt over into 1/4 of my seat. Ugh. I should demand that I can only sit next to skinny b*tches :lol:.
  14. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    A smaller, regional, budget airline this year made headlines for charging for carry-ons. Their rationale was that carry-on luggage hurt the efficiency of boarding and off-boarding.

    On the other hand, checked baggage makes them dependent on baggage handlers and unions, individual airport policies, practices, and efficiency. It's also costly in terms of customer service, when baggage gets lost or delayed, and it creates a down-side for last-minute re-routing. When people are doing their own schlepping and baggage control, the airlines are not responsible for it.

    It will be interesting to see if the "I want to control my baggage" attitude changes as boomers become older, physically weaker, and retired. I might check baggage out of spite if they took up your suggestion, but if they charged regardless, I'd still want to be in control of my stuff for almost all of my travel, and I suspect the airlines would continue to make it free for their premium travelers, which means all of that business luggage in the overheads stays put until the boomers retire.
  15. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

    But that's not always feasible. If you're going somewhere for a week, or somewhere like a wedding or business conference where you might need several changes of clothing that you don't want wadded up in a bookbag, or somewhere that has unpredictable weather, you can't stuff it all in a backpack. So you check it.

    Just for the record, when traveling, my only carry-on is my booksack, a regular, school one that middle school kids carry without wheels, just big enough for a laptop, my book, and my purse, and it slides easily under the seat. Meanwhile, the guy in front of me has packed his entire life story in his "carry-on" samsonite luggage, and dropping others' equally large, unnecessary crap/shopping bags filled with last minute souvenirs on everyone's head.
  16. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    But it's safer to carry on the essentials, like the bridesmaid's dress, or the ice dance costumes, so that you're sure to have them with you. (I wish they'd figure out a way to get mini-safes to allow skates on board, or maybe a safe compartment that requires two keys, one of which is always controlled by someone on the receiving end.)
  17. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

    :respec: And if the airlines don't want to charge for this, I would suggest that all passengers WITHOUT carry ons leave the plane first before the aisle hogs are allowed to leave. I would have missed a flight if the same weather delay landing issues also prevented the that flight from leaving. And those aisle hogs whose carry on has been place 4 rows behind them have hit me on the head before.

    In fact, let's get rid of the carry on option, removing the overhead bins and have a small comparment for the storage of blankets/pillows/oxygen masks/first aid/AED only!!! More head room for those tall people
  18. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    They'd have to board by amount of carry-on luggage for that to work: all the people with overhead luggage, in the aisle and middle seats, and those without stuff in the bin, on the aisles.

    I think that anyone who has a suitcase that doesn't fit the narrow way should be forced to sit in the center seat.
  19. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple


    When I do carry a bag on, I wait until there's a lull in the people getting off the plane before I try to get it down.

    When I fly to Europe this Friday, my carry-on is going to be my purse, since my iPad fits in it. :saint:


    eta: And no, I've never seen them make Mr. AllmyLifeinmy McLuggage check any of his bags.
  20. Stefanie

    Stefanie Well-Known Member

    Same here. :)

    And my carry-on consists of my messenger bag and a purse (and sometimes a shopping bag when I'm coming back from Europe which will then contain my purse).
  21. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Travel to Poland and Russia more often: on flights to Warsaw and Moscow, people were up in the aisles and pulling their stuff out of the overhead bins immediately after the hard landing breaking stopped.

    If there was an announcement to stay in one's seat until the seat belt sign was turned off :lol: :lol: no one could hear it in the commotion.
  22. Beefcake

    Beefcake Guest

    Ah, a subject so fresh in my mind ...

    I flew to Indy and back from LAX last week, on United, and both ways we came up short on overhead space due to oversized/too-many bags being carried on.

    No! Japanese hotel rooms are NOT supposed to be allowed as carry-on bags!

    No! Great Dane-sized duffles are NOT supposed to qualify as "small, personal bags".

    No! Couples separately embarking in order to sneak in TWO stollers (bells n' whistles and small) for your single baby is NOT cool! (Saw this happen twice last week.)

    Anyway, while waiting out the last delay while workers checked in the ~30 "carry-on" bags that embarked after the overheads of our 767 had filled, my final seat-mate and I wondered how much longer until the airlines would reverse their charges for checking bags. Surely the cost of delays (and of rerouting missed connections) are more than the profit being made from checked bags?
  23. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    I don't have to pay a dime to check bags unless I fly Alaska to NYC, and I try to avoid checking bags at all costs unless I'm on an extended work trip. My approved, non-wheeled, fabric suitcase/backpack that takes up less room than a wheelie is just fine for a trip up to two weeks.

    It's a control issue. And a getting my luggage back in one piece and not filthy or soaking issue.
  24. jeffisjeff

    jeffisjeff Well-Known Member

    I was on a very full flight on Monday and the gate agent was warning that there was not going to be enough space in the overhead bins for all the carry ons. So they offered to check bags for free. But there seemed to be few takers (I had already checked mine). They seemed pretty desperate and were even implying that those carry ons that didn't fit and needed to be gate checked at the last minute might get lost (we cannot guarantee that they will reach your final destination). :eek:

    I'm at the airport at the moment, waiting for a flight, and so far I've seen no egregious carry ons. But I'll keep looking. ;) I didn't check my roller bag because I tried (unsuccessfully) to get on a different flight on stand-by. But my bag is quite small (and cute). I bought it recently because my other roller bag was just too big to carry on (IMO, although clearly not in the opinion of most fliers). And, since most of my trips are 2-3 days, I don't need a large bag.
  25. smurfy

    smurfy Well-Known Member

    Back in 2004 I flew to Hong Kong from NYC via Northwest. In the middle of the trip I flew HK to Beijing round trip on Dragon air. I had a 'carry-on' bag for that trip, but was asked to check it in. Their carryon size for Dragonair was smaller than most US.

    When I flew home from HK to NYC, I had a bought a lamp which was carefully packed and planned to carry on. It was considered too big, I think the height. But the employee took the box, my 3rd checkin bag, put a fragile sticker on it and did not charge me.

    In 2008 flying within the US, i checked one heavy bag, over 50 lbs, but the person did not charge me, but did put a sticker on the bag 'heavy'.
    Being nice to the folks checking you in seems to help.
  26. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    Here here. I usually only have one small rolling luggage with me and a purse, but it's still annoying.

    Maybe my aunt always comes off as a bitch, because whenever she flies, she ALWAYS goes over the limit and she's ALWAYS charged. :rofl:
  27. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

    On my last flight, from Stockholm to Brussels, there was an announcement not long after we landed that was along the lines of "ladies and gentlemen, please remain in your seats with your seatbelts fastened until we have reached the terminal and stopped, and the seatbelt sign has been switched off. I would like to remind you that no passangers have yet reached the terminal before the plane".

    We were all :rofl: about that one.

    I have been guilty of having a little too much hand luggage on long haul international flights, but in my defence, long haul for me means 22-24 hours (Europe to the US is mid-haul, in my view :shuffle: ) and I've moved between Europe and Australia twice, and I'd really like anyone packing for a year to fit what they need into the 20kg (44lb) checked luggage restriction.

    Moving home with a year's university work that I couldn't throw out was the worst. Hence my overweight carry-on :shuffle:

    If I'm travelling, I travel very light though.
    kwanfan1818 and (deleted member) like this.
  28. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

    in my ideal world, and it is ideal because let's face it we won't ever get rid of those who believe that they can carry on everything but the treadmill, those without carry ons would get priority seating in the front rows.

    not everyone who does not use the carry on options care whether or not they are delayed 10 minutes from exiting the plane or getting a concussion from being hit with the over weight over stuffed carry on of their fellow travelers. They can choose to sit with those who do carry on.
  29. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    IMO that's no defense at all. Since when are airlines your personal moving agency? Post it or ship it commercially.
  30. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    It depends on the airline and whether or not they feel like enforcing their own rules. I flew to Europe a few years ago and had a small suit bag with a few dresses in it, a change of underwear, and a pair of shoes. I like to do that incase of luggage not arriving with me. Anyway, it could roll up much smaller than any of the "allowed" carry on luggage. Including the duffle my husband had and the backpacks my kids had. I was not allowed to bring the suit bag on the plane, but husband and kids could bring their bags. I said, but mine is smaller, they didn't care. They have a policy that garment bags have to be checked. I told them that what I had wasn't really a garment bag, it was just one of those suit bags that you get when you buy a suit at a department store. They didn't care. I was not sure it would make it being checked as it was pretty fragile, but it did.

    The next time I flew, I brought a more substantial garment bag, figuring I would have to check it. they let me carry it on. Go figure.