Are these basically the only items that you can request a gate check for: strollers, car seats, and personal assitive devices, i.e. - wheelchairs/walkers? If you carry on a roll-aboard clearly within the airlines size limitations and neither you or an attendant can accomodate it on board, the bag is essentially gate checked anyway by a flight attendant, correct?
Correct. In addition, on many "Express" flights that use smaller regional jets or turbo-props, even a "legal" carryon will not fit in the bin. In those cases, the airline will normally either "gate check" or "ramp check" the item. It is normally available to be picked up as you exit the plane.
Thanks for your reply abmj-jr. I thought that was true ................. but I was told by someone "just take your bag to the gate with you and then if you don't want to be struggle with it, you can just ask for a gate check". I was pretty sure that gate checking was now reserved for the previously mentioned items, and you confirmed this. But if you take your bag along on board and cannot find a place for it to fit the flight attendant will just ramp check it for you anyway, so no need to worry. I do NOT take obnoxiously sized luggage aboard, or try to take more than my "allotment", but I do expect to be able to take what I am permitted on board. As you mention, I have had luggage ramp checked many times on small planes (inter-island Hawaiian flights, short hauls, regional hoppers to Key West, etc.).