Airline passengers go to war over bin space By Christopher Elliott | December 28, 2011 FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest If mentioning the word “overhead bin” doesn’t raise your blood pressure, maybe you haven’t flown recently. But John Masters has. On a recent AirTran Airways flight, the Wichita, Kan., legal assistant noticed that the airline made every effort to persuade passengers to check their bags. Many refused. One air traveler seated near him then laid claim to an overhead compartment that’s meant to store carry-ons for four passengers. “He proceeded to shove his oversize, rolling steamer trunk into the overhead, followed by the camera bag that was strapped to it, then took off his backpack and topcoat and added them to the overhead,” Masters says. “His baggage alone took up nearly the entire overhead compartment.” Flight attendants say the overhead bin space is the number-one reason passengers fight with each other and with crewmembers. The conflict has only escalated since many major airlines, including AirTran, began charging for the first checked bag. While this made the airline industry profitable again, it only ratcheted up tensions on the plane. “Many more people are bringing a carry-on that’s generally larger than before,” says Jon Kapecki, a frequent flier and technology consultant in Rochester, NY. “The result is that there is often insufficient room in the overhead bins.” What’s the fix? We could turn back the clock on the airline baggage fees. Already, one travel industry group is urging airlines to quote a fare that includes one checked bag (PDF) and the Senate is considering a bill that would require airlines to let air travelers check a bag “for free.” But critics fear that could plunge the industry into bankruptcy. We could go the other way. That’s right, we could start charging airline passengers for their carry-ons. Ridiculous? Sure, but Spirit Airlines did it in 2010 and is earning $50 million a year from the fee. About 20 percent of its customers pay to bring their bag into the main cabin, according to a recent study (PDF). The rest travel light – and doesn’t that solve the problem in a kind of twisted way? We could let the market solve the problem. That’s the solution Masters will get the next time he flies on AirTran. The airline has been acquired by Southwest Airlines, which famously has a “bags fly free” policy. (In other words, it includes the price of checking luggage into its fares.) Passengers basically said they preferred that approach to the bags-don’t-fly-free policy of the major airlines and they voted with their wallets. Ah, a market solution. That should make every right-leaning reader cheer. Kapecki isn’t so sure. He’s critical of Southwest’s approach, particularly its “early bird” fee that lets you board the aircraft before everyone else, staking a claim to the bin space above your seat. Airlines, he says, aren’t missing a chance to “monetize any form of customer discomfort.” “In effect,” he adds, “they’re making passengers pay for a problem the airlines created.” Will any of these steps put an end to the overhead bin wars? Probably not. But it’s worth a try. (Photo: Carib b/Flickr) FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest Christopher ElliottChristopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on our help forum.More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - LinkedIn - Google Plus Fly, Icarus, Fly Would it be too much of an ask for airlines to enforce their own policy of one carry-on and one personal item? I cringe when I see those little racks where you’re supposed to check if your carry-on fits, but in the example cited in the story, it would’ve worked… Otherwise, try to queue early. I travel with a laptop and camera equipment which means I can’t check in my carry-on, unfortunately! Devesh Agarwal Why not enforce and limit the number and size of the carry-on bag to one piece with x dimension and a weight of 7kg/15lbs. Most airlines in Asia, especially AirAsia and IndiGo follow this with a passion and there is always overhead bin space available. I have seen the monsters passing as carry-on baggage in the US, and it makes a complete mockery of the rules. Worst offenders are the airlines who let their status passengers flout the rules openly and blatantly. Hypocrites. And if you open your mouth, you will get pulled over for “special checking” or worse. y_p_w A 22″ upright suiter (probably the most common carry-on size in the world) is almost universally considered a carry-on. I’ve ended up checking a few in when collecting extra bags along the way, and they can easily weigh more than 20 lbs without being overloaded. I’m not sure an absolute weight limit that low is a good idea. The fight over overhead space has little to do with weight (up to a point) but with volume. The typical overhead bin can take 3 22″ uprights plus assorted smaller cases, but once someone stuffs an oversized piece of luggage, that’s where the fights begin. Monica Kennedy Here’s another silly idea… use the space under the seat! I’ve been flying for a long time and have used the overhead bin once. That includes the times I have been flying with my family. Even when my son was a baby and we needed to bring a diaper bag, we never used the bins. Each of us will carry-on a small backpack or laptop bag that carries our wallets, a good book, and iPod/iPhone for games and music, which is all you really need on a domestic flight. They always fit under the seat. It is doable, but most people don’t care enough to try. And we fly Southwest, so our baggage is free. Win-win. Kairho No option in this poll for the obvious first step: enforce the carry on size limits. absherlock To be honest, I’m surprised that airlines haven’t started acting to remove overhead bins entirely. It’s a “solution” that would allow them to charge more (less free carry-ons mean more charged checked luggage), streamline the boarding process and cut-down on customer confrontations. It’s not what I’d want, but I certainly see it as a possibility. LostinTravel Flight crew are among the worst offenders. I watched four FA each wiht a large roller bag, two more smaller totes and an oversized purse get on my flight. And it was Southwest with free luggage! Why can’t the FA also check bags!! Definitely the answer is to enforce the rules, a small carry on and a purse or camera / computer bag to carry all the things for which the airline is not responsible if checked. Stuart Murray Great idea, in theory. I recently was on a flight where a passenger refused to use the space under the seat in front of him, and he went out of his way to cause a confrontation with the flight attendant when there was no overhead bin space remaining above his seat, and little on the plane. He insisted on being reseated on a full flight. The flight attendant got someone who had some bin space overhead to switch seats. The passenger ended up delaying the flight a few minutes and was completely unreasonable in his refusal to use the space in front of him. bruceincharlotte The gate agent here is not doing their job. They shouldn’t be letting this nonsense onto the aircraft! cjr001 On top of that, enforce the use of the storage area in front of your seats. Not to mention, only using the overhead bins above or adjacent to your seat… not the one in the front of the plane when you sit in the back. I had a Frontier flight awhile back, and they still board back to front. We were sitting near the front of the plane. So by the time we got on, there was no room left in the overhead bins near our seats. Finally, a woman offered to remove her Bag of Holding… err, incredibly large purse… from the overhead bin and put it in the area in front of her seat, where it should have been all along. Yeah, there’s no wonder at all as to why overhead bin space would be the top reason passengers fight. BillCCC “Ah, a market solution. That should make every right-leaning reader cheer.” I am kind of curious about what you meant by this statement. Are you suggesting that the government start regulating items such as baggage charges? I was dismayed by the poll numbers suggesting that an airline be forced to allow one free bag. I am not saying that I am in agreement with charging for baggage but forcing them to not charge would be a little over the top. Of course all tickets would increase by $25-50 dollars. cjr001 The limits are a bit of a joke. I’ve got one duffel-like backpack that’s no wider than the backpack I normally use as a carry on – and that backpack always goes under the seats in front of me. So, the duffel-like backpack is probably twice as tall and therefore outside the general size limits. And yet, in the rare times I’ve used it, I’ve had no problem fitting it lengthwise into an overhead bin. Essentially, it is taking up no more room than my backpack in those bins. I’d like to see the airlines enforce using the storage area under the seat and simply how things are arranged in the overhead bins before enforcing the size limits themselves. Kristin S. Spirit’s policy of charging for carry-on bags is terrible and annoying. I vote with my wallet for Southwest, but this is also where brand loyalty comes in – I fly Delta a lot, so it’s a non-issue for me. Let’s not encourage the industry to go the Spirit route. Oussama I carry a soft bag and it is easy to slide it under the seat when travelling on a EMB145 for an hour or so. I would not want to do that for a long flight. Besides with all the IFE equipment and power supplies under seats there is barely space for your own legs let alone bags. Airlines taking your carry on and storing it in the belly and handed back to you at the arrival gate is an unfair practice. You have just allowed half a plane load of an EMB145 to check baggage for free and get it at the aircraft door instead of the baggage claim. Not very smart. Airlines should enforce their own rules. The only aircraft I have not seen bin space problems is a B777 and sometime it is a touch and go on some international flights. All other aircraft have a bin space problem especially in economy. Airlines should look at how to apply their rules evenhandedly instead of allowing passengers to outsmart them and rob them of part of their revenues. John Frenaye Lower the flight deck, eliminate the overhead bins, install a second tier of seating! Raven_Altosk I’ve seen the carryon policy pathetically–and sporatically–enforced. Case and point, last week on a trip, I witnessed a gate agent force someone to pay $25 to check a bag because she had two carry-ons. The person she pulled aside was a petite asian woman who didn’t seem the type to argue. However, a large man in traditional Muslim dress wasn’t approached about his THREE HUGE carryons. He was flying solo, and when he boarded the plane, he claimed an entire bin and then proceeded to make a stink about having to sit next to an African American woman. He was not reseated (nor was the woman) and he was not charged for his excessive carryons. Why? Probably because he’d scream “RACIST!” and have CAIR crawling up the backside of the airline. So. If the gate agents aren’t going to enforce this stuff, why should other PAX be made to suffer? Raven_Altosk Eh, I probably lean right on fiscal issues (more left on social ones) but I’m not sure “letting the market solve the problem” is going to fix anything. Consider this: When the first legacy carrier started charging for the first checked bag, people swore not to fly them anymore. That didn’t last. Then all the others joined in. So, unless you want to fly SWA (and they go where you need to go), you are stuck with baggage fees. Also, looking at prices of tickets on SWA, they are usually HIGHER than the cheap seats on the legacy carriers. So, SWA is just marketing their bag fees into their ticket prices. NoJets I work for an airline. When traveling standby, if I am lucky enough to get a seat, it is usually at the last minute.Some agents will ask me to gate check my carry on, some will not allow me to and I have to find a spot in the overheads. I usually offer to gate check my roll-aboard if I am not making a connection. (I have missed the opportunity to make connecting flights when I needed to reclaim my bag at the intermediate point, they don’t always allow it to be checked to a final destination…especially when two different carriers are involved… which is usually my case.) FYI…I usually travel with legal sized roll-aboard and a backpack. (Roll-aboard in the overhead, backpack under the seat in front of me.) mediadls I believe that there is another solution. The airlines should enforce their own policy relative to how many bags someone can carry on. Over the holidays I saw many families carry on much more than what is allowed, causing problems but no airline employee stops these violators. BlondieDC I voted to start charging for carry-ons. As a Flight Attendant, dealing with carry-on issues is the second worst part of my job. The first, of course, is getting people to turn off their electronics… Cheap Flights to Khartoum Yes, I really agree with your views in this regards. Airlines must take good care while designing the interior. Tygar Right on. I have never found a SW ticket to be cheaper than I could find it elsewhere, including the bag fees. LostinTravel I seriously doubt that there is enough room for every PAX to carry on the full allowed limit, so for every airline person (working the flight especially) to carry on the limit, means someone else cannot. The FAs I have observed were beyiond the limit. I understand the connecting flight hassle but unfortunately we all have a hassle of some kind. There simply is not enough room overhead the way things go right now. I check whatever I can, but even that is very risky with loss and pilferage going on. I wonder if that is the real reason airline people carry everythign on – it is the only way to be sure it all arrives intact with them? I bet lost baggage protocols would change if it were the FAs and Pilots losing their clothes and electronics! y_p_w People are talking about how the airlines have to enforce carry-on restrictions. However, in my experience the size (specifically the volume) of a carry-on bag is what MAY BE regulated by the airport. The airport might provide a box or metal tubing outline (I’m wondering who came up with those things) where one is supposed to test for size. Perhaps a standard size could be employed, and if you can fit a soft bag (like a duffel) in there, then more power to you. I really don’t like checking in luggage. I don’t like waiting for my bags at the carousel, I’ve seen how baggage handlers treat bags, and I’ve flown into airports where I was specifically warned that the carousels weren’t closed to ticketed passengers and were known for luggage theft. toniv Removing OHBs would improve safety as well as speed boarding and reduce confrontations. toniv Yes, the fares would increase, even for the people who know how to pack, who don’t have to pack much, or who store what they have under the seat in front of them. Fair? I think not. That’s why I like unbundled fees. You pack it, you pay for it. I’m tired of subsidizing the “shoe suitcases” and people who think travel is the same as moving. AirlineEmployee Mediadls said it right – the airlines don’t enforce it……Gate agents are busy, but they really have to stage someone at the foot of the jetway and take bags to be gate checked. If anyone objects than “step aside” while we either gate check your bag or we will offload you ! Better to debate before they are onboard pulling and dragging all their oversized, overstuffed sh!t with them. AirlineEmployee On another note, we (ticket counter) agents do look at what people are trying to call carryons. We have sizers and use them yet many passengers insist their bag(s) are “carryon” when clearly they are not. I don’t care how many airports/ airlines let you through, please try to comply. I have had people throw literal tantrums in front of me; one even threw an empty food container at me. The yelling, acting out and obstinate behavior is unbelievable. Most of the time it is businessmen in suits !! KarenF I don’t see anything wrong with the free gate-checking on RJs – the overhead bins are tiny and will not hold a legal size rollaboard or bags you can usually carry on larger planes, which you may be connecting with for another flight. KarenF There are a few other solutions the airlines could try: reducing the number of carry ons allowed to only one (I believe this was the rule for awhile in the UK), reducing the size of carry ons allowed (although that might take awhile to get accepted), or simply banning wheeled luggage as carry ons (I think people overstuff them, they don’t compact if underfilled, and they’re too heavy to lift for a lot of people). Michael__K Too many passengers defy FA instructions and put multiple items in the overhead bins and absolutely nothing under their seat. And even when this is brazenly done in front of an FA, I’ve rarely seen the FA object. There is no reason the instructions couldn’t be enforced– for example put a (flight-specific) sticker on one carry-on item per passenger and verify (if necessary) that only properly stickered items are in the overhead bins. But I suppose that won’t happen because there is no profit motive or safety motive for airlines to create additional procedures (and slightly lengthen the boarding process) for this purpose. sofar @Stuart Murray, I had a similar experience while flying home for Christmas. The passengers in the first row, of course, had no under-seat space (because there was no seat ahead of them) and NEEDED to put their stuff in the overhead. Unfortunately, when they boarded, the overhead bins were all full. So the flight attendant removed a small briefcase from the overhead and asked the owner (sitting in the second row) to put it under his seat, as the people in the front row had no under-seat space. The case was small (smaller than the backpack that I had under MY seat). But the guy kept acting like it was his god-given right to have space for his feet and that he’d boarded early and gotten the overhead space “first.” The FA had to go further back in the plane, removing coats and small purses from the overheads to find room. The flight was already late taking off. I also love how the flight crew will make tons of announcements as passengers are boarding, instructing them to keep their small items and coats with them, leaving room for the larger bags overhead. And then you look around the plane and see people putting their coats and purses up there anyway. And you just KNOW the flight is going to take off late because of it. Crissy I’m for the airlines enforcing their own carry-on rules. Of course the gate agents and FA’s will just end up having different fights. On one hand I would be for getting rid of overhead bins all together, but that just creates a problem for those carrying expensive stuff with them. NoJets I am commenting on the inconsistencies. I have been asked to check a bag when I prefer to carry..and I comply. I have offered to gate check a bag when the flight is full and been denied that option…leaving me to search for space…which is usually the case. Some airlines will gate check a crew bag and bring it back up to the jetbridge on arrival. That option is becoming less available as they don’t do that for passengers and rarely have the correct tag handy. (This would be a fine option to eliminate the scenario you describe.) I could have been told to “find space in the overhead” when I would be more than happy to check my bag…leaving the planeload of people to watch me and wonder “why is this guy boarding so late and trying to stow that bag now with all the overheads full.” I have been traveling over 40 years and never had anything pilfered from a checked bag and never had a bag lost. The number of bags I have had delayed I could count on one hand. The worst case was one that was delayed 24 hours. I’ve been lucky in that regard. LostinTravel You have been lucky! I had jet fuel spilled on one bag – what a stench! – but handled well by SW, another pilfered and things taken by United – who yelled at me for putting souveniers in a bag! Bags lost on the way home for three days and delivered soaking wet all the way through with no apology by US Airways and no expenses since I was “home” Not to count TSA’s “rearrangements” of my bags! Still I usually do check my bags because I don’t want to travel encumbered and want to be able to move about in the airport. My dream trip someday will be to get on with a small tote with only my camera, phone, iPad, a few toiletries and credit cards and shop when I get there. Interestingly, the international carriers have not lost, damaged, or pilfered any of my bags (fingers crossed for the future!). They have often tagged my carry on at check in because they do check to see how big and how many carry ons one brings. This includes Air India, Air France, Thai Air and South African Air. Their systems works to eliminate the too many carry ons – the Gate Agent simply stands in the middle of the gateway and does not let one pass with out a proper tag. y_p_w I have. I remember their 2001 post Sept 11 specials. $30 one-way for advanced reservations for any flight they had within California. These days I could imagine paying more than that in bag fees alone. Steve_in_WI The obvious solution would be to enforce the rules that already exist. I don’t believe I’ve ever encountered a scenario where storing carry-ons would be problematic if every passenger obeyed the size restrictions and stored smaller items like coats and purses under the seat as instructed. (Frankly, one of the few things I enjoy about flying RJs is gate-checking carry-ons. It’s the best of both worlds, I think). Regarding the comment about Southwest…every flight I’ve flown with them has been 100% full, and on none of them has their been a problem with bin space. The fact that they allow two checked bags at no additional cost helps a lot. And the early-bird check-in isn’t about getting overhead space so much as it’s about avoiding a middle seat if you’re unable or unwilling to get to a computer to check in exactly 24 hours before your flight. We just flew back from a vacation last week and happily paid $10 each because the alternative would have been to disrupt our day and find a computer to use, or to check in hours later and probably be condemned to middle seats. moiraj927 I was beginning to wonder if my travel experience as far as carry-on luggage is concerned was unique. I am happy to hear that some airlines take the size of carry-on luggage seriously. At my outbound airport, there are sizers at the ticket counters of the airlines that I use. The bag will be sized if there is a belief that it is too large to accompany the PAX on board. I have never witnessed anyone objecting to being told that the bag does not meet the specifications. However, this blog has exposed me to the lack of civility and consideration for others that is being displayed amongst some air travelers. Hence, I am not surprised to read about “the entitled ones” who believe that rights of ownership to the aircraft have been conveyed on them with the purchase of their ticket. It is hard for me to understand why the same person who refuses to pay $25-$50 for an oversized bag, will blow $50 on hamburgers, fries and candy at the concessions before boarding the plane. If people don’t want to wait around to retrieve luggage from a carousel, they should pack lightly, use freight, use couriers or some other means to get their luggage to their destination. Also, it is not right that FAs should be required to argue with PAX about their carry-on luggage. They have enough to do pre-flight Why can’t some people get it into their heads that apart from inconveniencing others, it is simply a matter of safety? Overhead bins have been known to fly open during turbulence and PAX injured seriously when luggage has fallen on them – the heavier the luggage, the worse the injury. I am not an engineer so I will not address such matters as weights and balances. The solution would seem to be for ALL airlines to enforce the rules regarding size of carry-on bags as well as the number of carry-on items. If the bag is too large, it must be checked. If there are more than the carry-on bag and the personal item, the excess must be checked. If the PAX refuses to check the items, then boarding should be refused. The message would get through quickly enough. Forgive me for raising this, but would anyone dare to take on board a jumbo-sized bottle of shampoo? mindswell Sorry, Guys, but I have to sympathize with those people fighting not to use the underseat storage areas for carryon items. I’m just an average sized 6′ tall man, but sometimes the seat distancing has my knees forced against and digging into the seat backs. The only way to relieve this in an inside seat, is to extend my legs under the seat ahead as much as possible. (And, yes, I do pay extra to get exit row or aisle seating, if it’s available. I would go 1st class, if I could wing the prices, but I can’t.) I seriously don’t know how people taller than I am are managing. I will admit, I do have a soap box- For a long time, I’ve believed that airlines have shortened the seat spacing even further than the dimensions that we’ve widely complained about for years. I don’t think the Seatguru or Skytrax like-sites have correct info anymore. I’m sure the seat spacing is even closer. Personally, I’d like to see the responsible government agency conduct random aircraft inspections to see what the real seat spacing is and then mandate that carriers report the smallest sizes found for each type of their aircraft in every one of their advertisements for 6 months. LIke an MRSP notification. That would allow the market to render a quantifiable verdict on their practices and allow people like me, who can’t hack the smallest spacing, to just buy elsewhere. Sunnykm Allegiant at check in will sometimes ask to see my carry on –checking it for size and then they tag it as having been approved to carry on. I appreciate this as it forces those who bring the over stuffed suitcases as carry ons to check their luggage (and pay for it as I have) and it speeds the boarding process. There is a financial incentive for airlines to do this as it will cut down on delayed departures because overhead bin issues. ViviWang My favorite overhead bin hog was on a flight LAX to SFO. It was a man, his wife and infant old daughter, they had a two large tote bags, three rolling bags (two of which had large shopping bags hung over the extended handles), what looked like a laptop bag and the wife’s purse which was also large. Honestly, I had never seen any couple try to board with that much carry on, they trouble managing it all. You could see several people eying them in the boarding area with all this stuff piled up around them. When it came time to board the gate agent suggested he check the rolling bags or totes and he started screaming he was an elite flyer (or whatever they call them on American, I can’t recall) and he could take as many bags on as he wanted. Then switched to there were three of them, including the baby, and they were allowed this much carry on. He made such a scene the gate agent backed off. He was in front of me in line to board and as he boarded he stuffed all his crap, including their winter coats, into the overhead bins in the front section of coach (telling his wife it would be easier to collect after the flight instead of lugging it up the aisle) and then headed to the back of the plane. Their stuff took 2 plus overhead bins. When the people boarded who had seats below the stuffed overhead bins the arguments were on. The FA told the passengers who couldn’t store their belongings overhead they would have to check them. More argument from those asked to check their carry on. Finally I stood up and told the passengers and FA that the guy in the back had packed two plus bins full and he should have to check some of it and/or stuff some of it under the seats in front of him and his family. The FA went and asked if all that stuff was in fact this family’s and the guy started yelling he was an elite flyer. Two of the people who were told they would have to check carry on in turn said they too were elite flyers. Finally the FA insisted the bin hog check some of his luggage and a cheer went up from the other passengers. The guy cussed me out both on the plane and after we deplaned but I would do it again. I’m not sure that not charging for the first bag would have made any difference in the above case or in several others I’ve witnessed. Too many people feel that one or more extra carry on items or oversize carry ons are no big deal, particularly if they get priority boarding. Since common courtesy and common sense seem to be too much to ask of some people, I think airlines should strictly enforce the size/amount of carry on. $16635417 Last Southwest flight I took I ended up in a middle with no overhead space available. I ended up waiting an extra two hours to get to my final destination as I had to claim my bag and recheck on another carrier. I guess I should have paid the early bird fee! Nancy Dickinson I’m with you, James. I’m a travel writer so I travel with a laptop and camera equipment AND a purse. I had to buy a bag last year that combined my laptop and camera stuff into one carry-on. Great for travel not so great once I get to my destination and need only my camera. Airlines used to let me on with the two bags plus my purse but not any longer. A Delta FA tried to force me to check one of my bags and I asked, “Which would you have me check? The laptop worth about $3500 or the camera and attachments worth about $6000?” I combined them into one bag after this. The worst part of this particular flight was a family of four boarding ahead of me with each member carrying two suitcases, even the little kiddies. Would it have really been such a hardship for them to pack all of this in one large suitcase and check it? When my son was younger, this is what we did. That $25 is much more convenient than boarding with so many bags. But my tale of woe for overhead bins is when my flight was late and I nearly missed my connection. I was the last person to board the plane and when I got to my seat, a young-ish woman in the row behind me had jumped up just before I got to it to put some of her personal stuff in my (still!) open spot in the bin. I started to put my laptop and camera bag in there when she said, “Don’t do that! You’ll crush my dried flower arrangement behind my coat!” (this was the personal stuff she put up there just before I could put my carry-on in there) I shoved my bag in there, hearing the crunch, and said to her, “Well, you must feel pretty stupid right about now, huh?” Yes, I was being a b*tch but she was using not just her allotted overhead bin space but mine as well. FEELING entitled to someone else’s space doesn’t mean you ARE entitled to it. Nancy Dickinson Well said, Raven. I think TSA might operate under the same set of rules – bother those who are least likely to make a stink and let the rest of them assume they are doing their jobs. More than anything, I can’t believe he was allowed to raise a fuss over sitting next to a black woman. Were I, a middle class white woman, to have done that, I do believe the Air Marshals would have been involved… Nancy Dickinson When my son and I were coming back from Dublin, the ticket agent at the Delta counter did note the bag he was intending to carry on was too large, measured it, determined it was to big and had us exchange bags. We had no problem with it though the security people at the airport questioned it when I off-handedly mentioned it at their finding contraband in it (which was why we were checking it and forgot to move them over to the checked bag). I find travel to be so much more pleasurable when you just follow the rules. And this must be said, I’m not sure I agree with all of them but until they change, I really don’t have much choice, do I? It’s like I told my kids as they grew, whether you agree or disagree with a rule is irrelevant. Following them until your fight to change them is successful IS relevant. Nancy Dickinson One carry-on plus one personal? I carry a purse with me and that is now considered one of my two carry-on items. Women would be forced to check any and all bags, excluding their purse. While I agree with you in principal, there’s too much here that could cause others to cry “Foul!” jeffrysdad Airbus planes have deeper overhead bins so you can put the bags in wheels first. You actually can fit 3 bags into one bin plus a coat or 2. jeffrysdad On a flight from Long Beach to Dulles last year, a woman across the aisle from me put her laptop bag in the overhead bin over my head along with another small bag and, of course, nothing under her seat. When the flight attendant asked whose bag it was, she claimed it and was asked to put it under the seat in front of her. She was clearly unhappy but got up to do it anyway at which point she grabbed the bag by the corner and proceeded to drop it onto my arm and then it fell into my lap. I’m afraid I screamed, not so much from the pain (which was considerable) but from the surprise of having a 20 lb. bag land on me unexpectedly. She didn’t apologize nor ask if I was ok (nor did the FA). On the escalator once at Dulles, the young man in front of me who was her seatmate on the flight looked back at me (4 hours later) and said “you’re an %$%^&*())_ while I looked at him in astonishment. sunshipballoons None of those solutions. No large suitcases on the plane. Period. Or, at least, preference in the overheads for small bags. sunshipballoons I prefer to keep the space under the seat free for my feet. I put the small bag I carry in the overhead, and check my suitcase. Just like everybody did until about 1995 or so. TiaMa My dream is to one day make enough money so I can fly general aviation and not commercial. :) TiaMa I got a $50 round trip ticket ($63 with tax) from ORD to LAS on National (when they were still in business) during their “Get America Flying” sale post 9/11. That would not cover two checked bags today. Carchar I also non-vote for enforcing the current rules. I always check a bag and carry on a backpack with my electronics and a change of clothes, plus a regular-sized purse. My backpack fits under the seat of the smaller commuter planes, where the seats are higher off the floor. It does not fit under the seats of a larger plane, so, I use the overhead. However, it is smaller than most carry-ons. My purse goes under the seat. Completely filling the space under the seat in front of you on long flights gives you more of a chance to suffer from DVT. dsliesse I voted for requiring the first checked bag to be free, but agree with the others: the first step is to enforce the carry-on limits (some of which are airline policy, others of which are FAA regulations). I’ve been flying since the days when there were no overhead bins; there were only racks for hats and light wraps (if you can’t picture this, watch the movie “Airport” and look at what’s flying around the cabin after it decompresses). If it didn’t fit under your seat, you didn’t take it on board. I’d be all in favor of a return to those days, but with a simultaneous requirement that the airline take full responsibility for checked luggage getting to the right destination at the right time and intact. Just a quick note regarding seat pitch: it’s the measure of the distance between a point on a seat and the same point on the next seat. Unfortunately, it has no direct relationship to how much legroom there is (if there is only a four-inch gap between the front of the seat cushion and the back of the seat pocket, that doesn’t change the distance between seat backs). Some seats are designed to feel like there is much greater pitch than there really is, and some of those actually work. The point is, though, that pitch doesn’t tell the whole story. BTW, I’m also tall, so I know what mindswell is talking about. DReinig I travel every week for business, and this is a big pet peeve of mine. I CHECK my suitcase, and carry one a laptop briefcase. I put my briefcase and coat in the overhead bin. On a flight last week I offered to put the long coat of a man sitting in the middle seat next to me up in the overhead bin (which only had a small space left anyway) and the airline attendant stopped me, saying coats had to go on laps so the suitcases could fit up top. I replied back that a suitcase can and should be checked luggage, a coat cannot and this coat belongs to someone in a middle seat. The owner of the coat said it was okay, but if it was me I would have insisted. And by the way, my Continental flight DID offer to check the suitcases at the gate for free – but people still insist on bringing them on board. So offering checked bags for free will not resolve the problem. Enforcing the size and number of bags would. Hey, isn’t the second bag supposed to be a laptop or pocketbook? Since when are people allowed two suitcase size bags on board as carry on? Lindabator They should have tossed him AND his luggage off! Utterly ridiculous. Miami510 My suggestion is not one which can universally be applied, but if enough people did it, the airlines would get the message. My solution is one that has no luggage carry-on size or weight restrictions, no restriction on the number, size, or weight of other baggage, usually results in more amiable travel companions, and has much better departure times. It’s called the AUTOMOBILE. Lindabator Amen! And have a sizing box at the entrance to TSA – it don’t fit – CHECK IT! Lindabator Yes, but those who don’t want to pay for the cost of included luggage seem to be the worst offenders of carry-ons! Can’t have it both ways – cheap tix and luggage fees or all-inclusive tix for a higher rate. Lindabator Which is why those who NEED bodybags NEED to start paying for them. Everyone wants cheap tickets, but then are b%^#Hing about the baggage costs. SUCK IT UP! Lindabator Agreed – my sister had ONE carryon (Very small rollaway) and the gate agent asked her to check it after letting 3 families with MULTIPLE bags on. I told her that she had her medications inside, and if the airline was willing to take responsibility for her seizures, she’d love to. Needless to say, never happened. Lindabator Unfortunately that’s the attitude that CAUSES the problems onboard. If you don’t like all the “problems” of travelling with your luggage, ship it ahead, don’t try to bring the entire closet onboard! Lindabator Absolutely shameful. Perhaps having to cool their heels for 24 hours when they act up would teach them all a lesson – don’t leave it up to the gate agent – have the bins outside TSA – no one will argue with them! :) Lindabator Amen! I have to say, families seem to be the WORST offenders – did you really need to pack the entire HOUSE??? Dick Jordan I doubt that there really is a solution to the carry-on bag problem, but I voted for “Force airlines to check a bag for free” with the understanding that “free” would mean that the base fare would increase. I made that choice because stowing bags in the overhead bin doesn’t seem to have become a problem until after airlines started charging for checking bags (particularly the first bag). Tax laws are often used to achieve a social goal. We could do the same with airfares. If we want to encourage passengers to check bags and leave more space in the overhead bins, then being able to check one bag “free” might achieve that, as long as there is still an enforced limit on the size/number of carry-on bags. If a bag is too heavy or too big, it must be checked. y_p_w I never said that I brought tons of stuff with me. I prefer to travel light. Usually it’s a 21-22″ upright suiter, a small camera bag, and a laptop bag. This is about as much as I really want to bring with me. If there isn’t excess space in the overhead for the laptop, it goes with me. The side benefit to all this is that I don’t have a baggage handler treating my luggage like it’s a shot put, don’t have to wait at the baggage carousel, and have less chance that some opportunistic luggage thief decides that my cheapo luggage and underwear is worth taking. I’d be alright if at the very least airports would require that carousels be open only to arriving passengers. y_p_w Uh. I’ve been in a vehicle dropping off two people at the airport where we had difficulty getting all the bags (that would go on the plane) into the car. That was even with two empty seats and a mid-sized SUV. As for amiable……. “ARE WE THERE YET????” “ARE WE THERE YET????” “ARE WE THERE YET????” “ARE WE THERE YET????” “ARE WE THERE YET????” TexanPatriot1 Bunch of Socialists wanting the government to dictate how much to charge. And airlines whining that they’ll go bankrupt of they can’t monetize baggage. Solution Raise Fares. Be transparent, instead of HIDING fees behind fees on top of fees. moiraj927 Good for you SFTraveler! I applaud your courage. More of us should be bold enough to call out these bullies. What gives him the idea that his dime is more valuable than anyone else’s? Are we surprised to find that bullying in schools is now at an all-time high? As a retired educator, schools are getting a bad wrap on this. Children learn what they live. Look at the example that father has shown here. The child may be an infant now, but this will carry on. Airlines MUST bring their baggage policies to the attention of all ticketholders and stress the fact that they will be strictly enforced. Then there should be follow-up. If the PAX is uncooperative, have him/her step out of the line. This nonsense has to stop. MarkieA Good for you! Nancy Dickinson I swear I saw the FA cover a smile. My guess is, they don’t like overhead bin hogs anymore than the rest of us do… Nancy Dickinson “I also love how the flight crew will make tons of announcements as passengers are boarding, instructing them to keep their small items and coats with them, leaving room for the larger bags overhead. And then you look around the plane and see people putting their coats and purses up there anyway. And you just KNOW the flight is going to take off late because of it.” This is one of my pet peeves, too. It’s not like the airlines make this some kind of industry secret… People just think the rules apply to everyone but *them*. moiraj927 Sorry, “wrap” should read “rap.” bodega3 Online shoppers don’t see what we see in the airline computer. Southwest and the carriers in the same market have the same fares. What you are seeing when you go into Southwest.com is what is available and usually their lowest fares are already sold out. John McIntosh Simple solution- To board the plane one must put his carry on in a template that matches the airline’s requirements. Using Air Tran’s for an example: “A carry-on bag must not exceed 24” long + 18” wide + 13” tall for a total combined linear measurement of 55 inches. Effective March 1, 2012, the carry-on limit will be 24” long + 16” wide + 10” tall.For a personal item, such as a briefcase, laptop, purse, or camera to fit under the seat in front of the customer, it must not exceed 17” long + 12” wide + 8.5” tall.” To channel the late Johnnie Cochran -“If it doesn’t fit. Check it. reynard Good lord, I hope no one from any of the airlines sees that. Why give them ideas? eCurmudgeon I think it’s just a matter of time before an airline actually does this – only reason it hasn’t happened yet is that no airline wants to be “first.” eCurmudgeon UPS or FedEx would be more than happy to drop-ship your bag to your destination ahead of time. Problem solved. eCurmudgeon On one hand I would be for getting rid of overhead bins all together, but that just creates a problem for those carrying expensive stuff with them If you have “expensive stuff”, I’d suggest either leaving it at home, or shipping insured via a separate carrier (i.e. FedEx or UPS). eCurmudgeon My not-so-modest proposal: Eliminate the overhead bins altogether and eliminate “checked baggage.” Instead, airlines can offer to ship luggage as air cargo, at air cargo rates and restrictions. This provides a strong incentive for passengers to dramatically reduce the amount of “stuff” they carry, or perhaps to ship ahead of time via separate carrier. TonyA_says Actually that 22″ is OK in the USA but I got stopped once in HongKong and was forced to check it in. So I downsized to a 20″ (Eagle Creek Travel Gear) and have since been fine in Asia and Europe. So bins can’t close with the 22″ so you need to put it in sideways. That takes up a lot of space. bodega3 Better idea…get back to allowing at least one piece of luggage checked for free. bodega3 We have ‘legal’ size carry on bags and we have been finding the overheads to vary so with one flight the bags fit, wheels in but on another, we have to put the bag in sideways. What gives? TonyA_says Also noticed that Costco has downsized most of hand carries to 20″. Must be a sign of the times. Also when they say the bag is 22″, it does not include the wheels that stick out. Caitlin Fitzsimmons Yes, you were being a bitch and you should be ashamed of yourself. She gave you fair warning it was there and you wilfully destroyed someone else’s property. If someone ever does the same to you and ruins something of greater value than a dried flower arrangement then that will be karma at work. Really, you should have given her the chance to move it, or removed it yourself. Caitlin Fitzsimmons I lived in the UK when they had this rule. It was a rule of airport security, not a rule of the airlines. It wasn’t great but it didn’t mean checking any and all bags. I just left enough space in my carry-on bag so that I could put the purse inside before I went through security. Easy. Cyn2 Sorry – but that doesn’t add up. If it’s twice as long as your little backpack, then of course it’s taking up twice the room. And if it’s outside the sizer limits, then you should be checking it, not carrying it on. Sorry, but you’re exactly the example of “the rules don’t apply to me.” Cyn2 But that’s 3 carry-ons, and therefore outside the limits. Another one of the “I don’t like the rules, so they don’t apply to me” crowd. jebaker I was recently on a United flight and they made an announcement that there was never any overhead space for group 4 customers. They told us to bring our bags up to the desk for check in. Very annoying. Michael__K If it really cut down on delayed departures on average (after accounting for extra labor at the gate) it would be a slam dunk. It may be the case for certain routes and aircraft types (possibly the subset of Allegiant’s flights that you allude to). Apparently, the decision makers don’t see it that way generally. Nancy Dickinson Wow, Caitlin – are there some meds in your bathroom waiting for you to take them? Her taking my overhead bin space, mere seconds before I got there, is the issue – not her dried flowers that cost, what? $5? She had the chance to move them and chose not to. I had to get my stuff stowed so the plane could take off. If you had read my WHOLE posting, instead of being sanctimonious and spiteful, you would have seen I was the LAST person to board and she put her coat and flowers in my overhead bin spot JUST as I was getting to my seat. Point in fact, I had to wait for her to sit back down to get to my seat on the aisle. Now go to your medicine cabinet and take care of that little problem. Oh, and some anger management classes should be in your future… Christopher Elliott OK, I’m just noticing this exchange. Please, can we not do the name-calling thing. Let’s try to keep it civil. Thanks. IGoEverywhere The #1 problem has been acknowledged, but the problem is amplified by the AIRLINES that do no enforce their own rules due to time, indifference, or fear of being hit by an angry rider.1) enforce size 2) kick complainers off the flight. y_p_w Not really. When I say camera bag, it’s about 6″x4″x4″ and typically goes into the carry-on if there’s room. Also – a camera isn’t considered a carry-on or personal-item by some airlines, like United. http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,1032,00.html Carry-on baggage policies for all United travel For worldwide travel on any United flight, you may carry on one bag and one personal item such as a large shoulder bag, large backpack, briefcase, laptop bag or an item of similar size. Your carry-on bag… * must fit under your seat or in the overhead bin; * must not be more than 9 x 14 x 22 inches (23 x 35 x 56 cm) or 45 linear inches* (114 linear cm); and * may be required to travel as checked baggage if the bag cannot be safely stowed on your flight. The following items are not counted toward your one bag and one personal item limit: * Overcoat or wrap * Umbrella * A reasonable amount of reading material * Pet carrier (fees apply) * A collapsible wheelchair * Child restraint seat meeting FAA approval standards * ** Camera ** * Diaper bag * A limited amount of duty-free merchandise or food purchased at the airport * Assistive devices (a cane, one set of crutches, prescription medications and any medical devices needed to administer the medications, a portable oxygen concentrator (POC), etc.) Please note: All carry-on items must be stowed under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin. Items may not be stowed in the seat back pocket. Any item in excess of carry-on baggage size or allowance as listed above will be checked to your final destination and may be subject to applicable checked baggage fees. eCurmudgeon No such thing as “free.” The correct term is “included in the base fare.” Consequently, I prefer that checked baggage and other fees be charged separately. Why should passengers be automatically charged for services they don’t necessarily use? y_p_w I’ve noticed that. I’ve also noticed that often it’s a 21″ with wheels that stick out more vs a 22″ with wheels that stick out less. MeanMeosh I have an idea. Require that if you have a wheeled suitcase to carry on, you must present it to the gate agent for measurement before boarding the plane to obtain a sticker (there can also be an option to go to the check-in desk to get a sticker). If you’re caught with an illegal-sized carry-on at the gate, or with an excessive number of carry-ons, they will be gate checked at DOUBLE the normal checked bag fee. Have that happen a few times, and folks will stop trying to game the system, guaranteed. Of course, this presents its own set of problems. The airlines will probably have to man the gate with another agent to process carry-on bag inspections, and it’ll probably require those with wheeled bags to arrive at the gate 10-15 minutes earlier to get their bags measured (or to get a sticker at the check-in desk). But maybe the efficiencies gained by fewer delayed takeoffs due to bin space arguments and revenue gained from the double bag fee would offset the costs? bodega3 I prefer cheap people stop flying and let’s get back to a civilized way of traveling. Travel mean luggage and just included it with the price of the ticket. Caitlin Fitzsimmons Chris, I was simply agreeing with Nancy’s original post, where she said: “Yes, I was being a b*tch”. I probably wouldn’t have used that term otherwise but I happen to agree that it was appropriate. Sorry for repeating it – I could have made my point without it. Caitlin Fitzsimmons I did read your whole post. I still don’t think that you were justified in deliberately destroying someone else’s property. Medication won’t change that! cjr001 The way by which the airlines measure carry-on bags is all about forcing people into checking bags. It is not about whether the bags will fit. They let me carry it on, so apparently they didn’t care very much about their own rules in the first place. But you can take your complaints about whether the rules apply to me or not and put it on those who carry several bags on, or expect others to lift their heavy bags into the bins, and so on. fordmann Not too long ago I flew from BWI to ROC for a brief stay, so I had a small carry on bag. When I boarded the aircraft there was no space in the overhead above my seat and I was instructed by the flight crew to put my bag further down the cabin where there was plenty of room. I was a little irritated as I had to wait upon landing until the cabin emptied to go back and get my bag. I noticed at the end of the flight that the bags taking up my overhead space were CREW bags. That really made me angry, why CREW doesn’t use the space in the rear is beyond me. I should have written AirTran to complain but didn’t want to waste my time just to hear them say some “canned” response. scapel Checking one bag is not free. Just make the flight charge include one checked bag. Now the airlines had been doing that and some business travelers without checked baggage were paying without checking any bags as that is what the ticket cost. Airlines were doing ok then. Now they wanted to up the fees indirectly. Dirty pool. If you have to charge more for a ticket to be profitable then do it and let one checked bag be included in the ticket price. Argument stopped. Now possibly stricter rules about carry on might be inforced. I have down sized my carry on becaues I’m gettint too old to drag a bigger case around. flutiefan also note that in industry parlance for the baggage claims office, those carry-ons you’re talking about have a code of “22”. that’s actually their official number. flutiefan our boarding agents in the airport make that announcement before boarding starts, i make that announcement *during* boarding, and then the flight attendants are making the same announcement while on the plane. and you’re so right…no one listens! i even tell people at the ticket counter, when they show me their 2 items, “you have to put one of those underneath the seat in front of you. you can’t put them both in the overhead bin”. i just hope that 1 in 4 heeds my instruction, after they’ve heard it 3 more times. flutiefan we had those in PHL. then the TSA complained that they were getting too many complaints! oh the irony… flutiefan really? never? they fly $59 one-way NYC-Chicago. the web specials which are available until the day of departure or until they’re sold out have a max of $139. i don’t see United doing that. you’re just not looking or you don’t get the jump on the lower prices. they ARE there. they just sell out, and rightfully so. flutiefan THANK YOU!!! my ol’ roomie has worked there for years, and i worked along side them for many years at my last airport. the notion that they are “always higher” is so ridiculous. flutiefan thank you. as a fellow airline employee, i have had the exact same thing happen. “i’ve always carried this bag on!” is heard daily. maybe so, but was the extension always out, bursting at the zipper seams, with 2 pairs of shoes stuffed in the outer pockets, making it bulge like a pregnant suitcase? (can you tell i hate the roller bags with extendable zippers to make it bigger!?) we do the same thing at our ticket counters in the 5 airports i’ve worked at. many times, the passengers try to conceal the true size of their bags, or they hide their purses (which would be their 3rd bag), by using a coat to cover it up. and then we get blamed when the other passengers see they have too many items. flutiefan when labor costs are usually the #1 expense for airlines (on par with jet fuel), no it would not offset the costs nearly enough. flutiefan it’s funny, at my airport we DO survey the bags and we DO make passengers check them before boarding. but we are nowhere near the size of some of the other airports i’ve been at, where that i just not feasible. when your agent is 4 gates away for check in, how on earth can they see if everyone’s bags fit?! the boarding agent has the job of getting the inbound people off the plane, then quickly getting the people in the terminal on board the aircraft, for an on-time departure. they are doing this constantly, from gate to gate, back-to-back. there just isn’t TIME to note everyone’s bags and carry-on sizes as they quickly (try to) get everyone on the plane. we make constant announcements but it’s just falling on deaf ears. it’s the “this doesn’t apply to me” mentality. and we would LOVE to have someone up there to police the carry-ons, but you think any airline these days is going to create that position and hire that many people?! you’re delusional! we are a skeleton crew as it is, bare bones and shrinking, doing way more with way less. has been this way since 2001. now, currently with my small operation we DO notice this stuff. and every day we are yelled at and complained to when we tell a customer that they have too many items or their bag is too big. they go positively NUTS. can’t win! AirlineEmployee This would not work….cargo is actually much higher in price to ship (having worked in cargo for many years before my current ticket counter job). Also the restrictions for cargo are more involved; staging, airwaybills, etc. It can really be simple if hoggish, bullish, selfish people didn’t “insist” on their “rights”, which are usually blatently wrong requests or demands. AirlineEmployee These three suggestions are what would work – every time !! AirlineEmployee It would also probably require speed-dial to the local airport police when loud, thick-headed passengers insist on their “rights” and try to tell agents what THEY think is right or what they should get, what they have done “a millions times before”. We go back to the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Unfortunately you will never have all employees on the same page. I’ve seen agents just waive things away because they are afraid of any “discomfort” – translation – they can’t take the heat of an obnoxious demanding passenger so they give in – whether it be at the gate or the ticket counter. I’ve seen supervisors cave in many times, again, because they are concerned about numbers, no complaints, getting the planes out on time to satisfy the DOT. It’s a bottomless pit of spineless ‘frady-cats who just perpetuate wrongdoers who will only continue their bad behavior flight after flight. bodega3 Was it this bad before your carrier started charging for checked bags? Spysea this is what you get ….. thats why I fly SWA and avoid bankrupt AA who started the bag fee scam , why is it that a bag of 50lbs cost more than my 50lbs daughters ticket? each seat should come with a bag to check for a reasonable amount not a set fee , should be based on the fare and or miles flown Cheap Flights On top of that, enforce the use of the storage area in front of your seats. Not to mention, only using the overhead bins above or adjacent to your seat… not the one in the front of the plane when you sit in the back. Tygar Ok all you nit pickers – OF THE PLACES I LOOK FOR “”””I HAVE NEVER FOUND A SW FLIGHT CHEAPER THAN I CAN FIND ELSEWHERE””””” I dont go NY-Chicago or the other places you people listed. It should be understood that a person is talking about WHERE THEY FLY. I always check SW cause I don’t want bag fees, but it has never been cheaper so I HAVE NEVER FLOWN THEM. Get a life. BlondieDC It was pretty bad before. Now, it’s significantly worse. =( flutiefan wow “get a life”…really? smh. flutiefan we must work with/for the same people LOL Chasmosaur I’m with you. My husband and I just came back from our Christmas trip (MSP to SYR). Both being experienced travelers, we debated really stripping down our luggage and carrying on, but ultimately we decided that we would check one large bag instead to have a little more clothing available on our 8 day trip. I even wore a long sweater and packed my coat to save OHB space and seat space. We still carried on – my husband had one small roller bag with a quick change of clothes and our grooming items (in which he stowed his coat after the security checkpoint); I carried a small carry on with various meds and electronics along with my purse. A very neat, tidy, and get from A to C DTW terminal in 20 minute friendly luggage configuration. Our bags fit in those carry-on boxes with room to spare. But as I looked around the lounge, though, it amazed me what people brought as carry-on bags. Roller + carry-on + laptop bag + purse for several women. Suitcases that were only a cumulative 3-4″ smaller than the large bag we had checked. Several oversized duffels that I wouldn’t even want to schlep through the airport. I’m still at a loss as to how the huge guy with the stuffed oversized Target plastic bag (the kind for extra-large items) got it through the aisle, let alone in stowage space. I know airline employees are overworked – I’m related to a few of them. But I’m still at a loss as to why no one came around and checked for bags too big for the overhead. I know for a particular United flight I take on a regional jet, about 5-10 minutes before they start announcing boarding, to go around to hand out gate-check tickets – why can’t they do that for every flight? Or better yet – after boarding first class, passengers needing assistance and elites (because the elite flyers would not be happy if you eliminated that perq), why can’t airlines board from the back of the plane and keep people from stowing their baggage rows ahead fo their seats? Why does it have to get to a point where it becomes open warfare? Because we know some travelers are simply not polite and/or experienced enough to realize they should only take up so much space with their carry-ons. Chasmosaur As I read your comment, I couldn’t help but think about a flight my family took from Walt Disney World in the mid-90’s. I’m not saying I get why families pack like they are on a North Pole expedition for a 90 minute flight and are allowed to get away with it, but just pointing out airlines weren’t always so forgiving. We had nine seats together (seven adults, two kids 6 and 4), and had checked all of our luggage. Other than the women’s purses, the only carry-ons we had were a single small carry-on of “kid stuff” that was going under a seat, and a bare-bones travel stroller that folded up with an extra set of hinges so the handles tucked over the seat, making a neat, overhead-bin friendly package. (It had been specifically bought for the trip and had been researched for this exact purpose.) The flight was mostly business-travelers instead of Disney-visiting families, and no pre-boarding was offered for parties with small children. (I’m guessing in Orlando, that’s probably a moot point.) By the time our middle-of-the-plane rows were boarding, our bins and the ones in front of those were already full. My brother-in-law stashed the folded stroller in the nearest bin – as others from our part of the plane were doing with their luggage – and thought nothing of it. (Especially since he took that flight on a regular basis for business and knew family travel was SOP for this route.) Until one FA – looking for more bin space for one or two passengers – loudly declared our stroller was entirely too big and had to be gate checked. My father quietly and firmly pointed out that it was smaller than the bag next to it. He also pointed out that it had been acceptable to the flight crew when we flew down the week before. And as he had purchased 9 seats, surely he was allowed a small portion of a single bin, since that was the only carry-on we stowed? Her response was to yell at us, tell us we hadn’t put the stroller in “our” bin so she could do with it what she liked – including throw it away – and ultimately fetched the pilot. Because after her being so unnecessarily and explosively harsh, my father politely, calmly and firmly refused to let the stroller be gate checked. My father eventually prevailed (I always thought it was because he quietly informed the pilot his fly was down), and the stroller stayed. The business traveler from the back of the plane who had taken most of a bin with 5 pieces of luggage ended up getting several of them gate checked, room was made, and we got underway. We thought it was all done, but as we were pushing away from the gate, the captain got on the PA system and apologized for the delay, saying “We had some rude passengers who required my attention, it’s how it goes sometimes.” So my father got all the names of the relevant flight crew and wrote a politely scathing letter to the airline including a picture of the folded stroller, our multiple gate check receipts, and our seat numbers. They ended up giving him a free ticket for his next flight. Debbie Lott I scuba dive, which is a fairly equipment intensive hobby. Fins, skins and BCDs go into a checked bag. Regulator, mask and dive computer go in a carry on. There’s no way I would try to get it all in a carry-on to avoid paying a $25 checked bag fee. It’s not only against policy, but it could potentially aggravate my fellow travelers. It’s no all about me ~ and the last thing I want on a vacation is a confrontation with airline staff or my fellow passengers. I think if people are not following the rules, then it’s up the airlines to enforce them. passiotech Passiotech.com is a mobile vehicle app designed to get QUICK, ACCURATE, & most especially, helps in knowing, technology, parking management, passenger counting, or the bus system. The system supplies amply machine-driven data collection and describing features plus One Touch Passenger Counting. Madbunny I have flown from Ca to Ks eight times since Apr 2011,and not once on any of those flights have I seen anybody use the under seat space.On 2 of those I checked a suitcase,and just had a small purse and on the rest i got tired of paying fifty bucks for my luggage,so I downsized to a backpack and do with less.I carry a tote with my laptop and I put my purse in that and it goes under the seat.I layer a few sweaters on my body and yes,it gets hot but saves space.I have made it a game to see just how light I can travel now. I find that I am usually like group 3 or 4 so I board last and find it annoying that people fill up the overhead bins in the front even if that is not where they are sitting.I always thought that the overhead at your assigned seat was where you put your stuff.That should be a rule.I also wonder my backpack is smaller than code being 19in long by 13w but it is over 10 deep if i fill the front pocket so with the 3 inch minus on length am i ok with the extra 2 in depth making it overall 45 inches? So far it has been ok.And I think the airlines should maybe just lower the bag fee to say 15$ Just my 2cents :-) passiotech Passiotech.com is a mobile vehicle app designed to get QUICK, ACCURATE, & most especially, helps in knowing, technology, parking management, passenger counting, or the bus system. The system supplies amply machine-driven data collection and describing features plus One Touch Passenger Counting. Karl Hungus You’re a moron. Cry me a river.