Travel Foibles: Part 5 (of many) – Carry on baggage


Time for another sarcastic look at the state of travel, and the law of unintended consequences.  Today, the (now) ubiquitous carry on baggage shuffle.

A few years back, airlines cottoned on to the idea that they could charge for the basic amenities.  Food.  Pillows.  Blankets.  A premium seat (how come an aisle seat is considered a $25 premium on Northwest/Delta?)  None of these does as much damage as the charge for checked baggage.

To save $25.00, people will try to cram two suitcases full of clothes, toiletries, and other sundry items into a small “roller”.  This is supposed to fit within a reasonable space (and all airlines have a measuring station).  They schlep this on to the plane, and manhandle it into the overhead bins.

In the old days, perhaps 25% of coach carried on (I admit that this is pulled out of the air, no scientific basis, yada yada).  But now, it is closer to 90%.  This means that by the third seating group or zone, all the overheads are overstuffed.  This leads to bitchy travelers who have to now check their baggage, bitchy flight attendants who have to tell the still boarding passengers that no, there isn’t any room left (and they still drag their bags on to “see for themselves”), and delayed departures, as 25 – 30 rollers are gate checked.

Lately, it has gotten even worse.  I witnessed the early boarders (particularly those with seats near the back) snatch all the front bins.  This leads to a wave of later boarders having to go beyond their row, stow their bag, then swim upstream to their seats.  Repeat in reverse at debarkation.

A mess.

Please, airlines, return to a reasonable one bag free to check, and charge only for overweight or more bags.  The sanity of frequent travelers is a commodity in short supply.

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By geoffand

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September 2011

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