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Old Aug 30, 17, 5:05 pm   #1
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A friend brought a checked size luggage through TSA security and to the gate...

So a fairly frugal friend devised a 'clever' plan to get his large bag checked on a plane for free. Basically it's the same size as a normal large checked bag, went through security check (apparently ignored TSA's instructions that he can't bring that big of a bag through) and did it anyway and actually got to the gate. (after they took away some of his things like sun tan lotion, etc.) And of course the bag is way too large to put into an overhead bin so the gate agent checked it to the plane...

I'm just surprised that TSA officers basically let this go. I wasn't witness but only heard from him.

Anyone ever heard of this before?
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Old Aug 30, 17, 5:13 pm   #2
  
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If it clears the X-ray, I wouldn't be surprised.

If it can't clear the X-ray then it's too big to be screened and obviously doesn't meet sizer dimensions from the airlines.

If it does then passengers could make the TSA out to be the bad guy, which they get enough of already. If it's an issue of boarding time/fit then it's an issue for the airline GA or FA, if they're willing to put staff before the security lines (either airline hired or airport hired) then the TSA still doesn't have to take the heat for it.

I've seen some huge bags come onto planes, not just outside of sizer but plainly obvious that it would not fit into overhead...
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Old Aug 30, 17, 5:15 pm   #3
  
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Haven't heard of it, but TSA's job is not to determine if your luggage is the proper size/weight/quantity (regardless of what some of them might say). It's up to the airline to enforce carry-on bags limitations.
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Old Aug 30, 17, 6:59 pm   #4
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While TSA does have the authority to set size limits and did so in the post-9/11 era as a means of cutting down the volume it had to screen, that went away quickly and TSA has not since then gotten into the size limit business.

Carriers could certainly screen for size before the checkpoint and it's doable if a checkpoint only serves one carrier. UA, for instance, does this at LAX.

The bigger issue is that the cheapskate didn't beat the system, his carrier gave him a freebie. That's on the carrier. There is no prohibition on charging for gate-checked bags (UA does and AA will for their cheapest tickets).
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Old Aug 30, 17, 7:16 pm   #5
  
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
The bigger issue is that the cheapskate didn't beat the system, his carrier gave him a freebie. That's on the carrier. There is no prohibition on charging for gate-checked bags (UA does and AA will for their cheapest tickets).
This is an area where AA/UA are testing the waters on basic economy fares.

The problem is, with "bouncers" at areas where you're before the gate, you get denied before you clear security. Vent at the airline but you broke the rules.

Once you clear security, between connections and smaller aircraft at outposts, enforcement is inconsistent. Someone complains that it fit fine on the way there and nobody said anything while getting stopped on the way back and given a punitive fee.

My opinion is that airlines are free to publish the matter, if you stop someone before security fair (not slowing down people past security + boarding + departure), but once someone clears security the size of the bag is not the primary goal. It cleared security. At this point a person can either disrupt the boarding process or the boarding of a plane. It's easier to defuse the issue by offering a complimentary check to the destination.

With basic economy and the travel disclosure issues from third party TAs (at least United gives you several warnings on what you're getting into if you buy direct) I figure the ground might be tested a bit more here. Airlines are willing to see how much people will put up with. All it takes is one example to reverse an established practice (e.g. overbooking) and airlines retreat behind the cheapest option (e.g. much more generous VDB options, or maybe in this case, give up on charging for gate checked carry on bags).
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Old Aug 30, 17, 9:19 pm   #6
  
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People have been gate checking on purpose ever since airlines started charging for bags.

TSA cannot reject a bag if it fits in the x-ray. I remember the dark days when Continental tried to put sizers up right on the front of the x-ray machines at security at Dulles. We just lifted it up and put our bags through as usual.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 8:06 am   #7
  
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Originally Posted by catocony View Post
People have been gate checking on purpose ever since airlines started charging for bags.

TSA cannot reject a bag if it fits in the x-ray. I remember the dark days when Continental tried to put sizers up right on the front of the x-ray machines at security at Dulles. We just lifted it up and put our bags through as usual.
Was that before 2001?
Because Continental sued United for putting "baggage templates" at shared security checkpoints:

Quote:
Originally Posted by WSJ
A federal judge in Alexandria, Va., sided with Continental Airlines , ruling that baggage templates installed by United Airlines at Washington's Dulles International Airport were anticompetitive and kept Continental from properly serving its customers.

Continental sued United in April after the rival carrier installed the templates at security checkpoints, which prevent passengers from carrying on bags that exceed a certain size. Continental wanted United, a unit of UAL Corp. , to remove the sizers at shared security-screening checkpoints at Dulles, claiming the templates were preventing its passengers from carrying their bags on board and thus hampering its business.

[...]

Continental said it has spent millions of dollars to retrofit its aircraft with larger overhead bins to accommodate travelers. "Baggage sizers are an example of a big airline's effort to 'herd' passengers through a cattle chute because they can't effectively respond to customers as individuals," Gordon Bethune, Continental's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 8:50 am   #8
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
While TSA does have the authority to set size limits and did so in the post-9/11 era as a means of cutting down the volume it had to screen, that went away quickly and TSA has not since then gotten into the size limit business.

Carriers could certainly screen for size before the checkpoint and it's doable if a checkpoint only serves one carrier. UA, for instance, does this at LAX.

The bigger issue is that the cheapskate didn't beat the system, his carrier gave him a freebie. That's on the carrier. There is no prohibition on charging for gate-checked bags (UA does and AA will for their cheapest tickets).
Where in the TSA authorizing legislation does it state that TSA can determine bag size?
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Old Aug 31, 17, 3:56 pm   #9
  
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Originally Posted by phltraveler View Post
No, that was it. I forgot that it was United who put the sizers up, right at the time that Continental was touting their overhead bin space.
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Old Sep 2, 17, 3:12 pm   #10
  
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There are other valid reasons to bring oversized baggage through the security checkpoint. At work we often have people hand-carry high value items rather than ship them. Sometimes the items are larger than will fit in the overhead or under the seat and they get their own seat. They still have to go through security, so TSA shouldn't be rejecting them.
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Old Sep 8, 17, 11:23 am   #11
  
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As long as the big bag isn't carrying something outside the rules, like oversized liquids, the TSA doesn't care.
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Old Sep 10, 17, 11:43 am   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STBCypriot View Post
Haven't heard of it, but TSA's job is not to determine if your luggage is the proper size/weight/quantity (regardless of what some of them might say). It's up to the airline to enforce carry-on bags limitations.
Huh I see. I guess the airline could've just charged for the gate-checkin when they saw how obviously large the bag was. But it seems that usually gate check-ins are free for bags....

Quote:
Originally Posted by phltraveler View Post
If it clears the X-ray, I wouldn't be surprised.

If it can't clear the X-ray then it's too big to be screened and obviously doesn't meet sizer dimensions from the airlines.

If it does then passengers could make the TSA out to be the bad guy, which they get enough of already. If it's an issue of boarding time/fit then it's an issue for the airline GA or FA, if they're willing to put staff before the security lines (either airline hired or airport hired) then the TSA still doesn't have to take the heat for it.

I've seen some huge bags come onto planes, not just outside of sizer but plainly obvious that it would not fit into overhead...
Yeah I've never seen airline staff before TSA measuring bags. One poster did mention that there's nothing prohibiting airlines from charging for gate-check ins...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
The bigger issue is that the cheapskate didn't beat the system, his carrier gave him a freebie. That's on the carrier. There is no prohibition on charging for gate-checked bags (UA does and AA will for their cheapest tickets).
Good point. I think gate checkins usually can be free if you have a normal carryon and the plane is too full...that I totally understand.

But if you see a dude that brings in something that's CLEARLY not a carry on then I can see the agent being more suspicious and charging that bag.

Quote:
Originally Posted by N1120A View Post
As long as the big bag isn't carrying something outside the rules, like oversized liquids, the TSA doesn't care.
Apparently not cause they didn't try as hard to stop him lol...
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Old Sep 11, 17, 5:57 pm   #13
  
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UA and AA do not charge for gate checked bags, unless someone is on a BE ticket.
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