Being hassled for "oversized" carry-on luggage

Old Sep 27, 19, 2:53 pm
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Being hassled for "oversized" carry-on luggage

I offer the following as a PSA. This week, a family member travelling with me was hassled while boarding because she had a "personal item" that was not 100% compliant with Frontier's baggage requirements. It was an old "child's carry-on" that had offset wheels that extended, perhaps, a half-inch beyond the gate sizer. The rest of the bag fit into the sizer, but because the wheels slightly protruded from the bag, the bag sat about an inch above the sizer in one corner. The gate agent didn't care that the "violation" was silly or de minimus. She was going to charge whatever the silly gate fee was for an oversized bag. We just abandoned the basically worthless bag at the counter and put the bag's contents into a plastic bag and carried it on-board fee-free (the agent did not ask us to put the plastic bag in the sizer!).

I think it's nuts (and terrible customer service) to enforce carry-on bag rules to fractions of an inch -- especially when it comes to luggage wheels -- but Frontier can obviously do whatever they want to do on this. From years of experience with airlines that have strict "personal item" size limits, I find that it's always better to have a backpack on your back than a small suitcase. For some reason, gate agents never seem to think backpacks can be oversized but they are often suspicious of rolling suitcases, even very small ones. We had even measured the suitcase against Frontier's limits before travel, but didn't bother to measure the slightly protruding wheels.
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Old Sep 27, 19, 3:58 pm
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Is there more tell? Did they check every bag or even a lot of them? Where did this happen?
I've personally watched many obviously over sized bags board Frontier flights without any comment.
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Old Sep 27, 19, 5:46 pm
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I don't fly Frontier for the LCC model but bags are either under the size limit (fit in the sizer) or over and don't. That bag didn't.
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Old Sep 27, 19, 7:28 pm
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In what way was your family member hassled?

F9 publishes the dimensions of authorized carry-ons and also publishes its fees:
https://www.flyfrontier.com/travel/t...o/bag-options/

Bag dimensions are binary. Either the bag meets the dimensions your relative agreed to when the ticket was purchase or it does not. The policy may be silly or not, but the time to make that decision is prior to purchasing the ticket.

I am not a fan of F9. But, whatever faults it has, it is clear about its policies and it enforces them.
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Old Sep 27, 19, 10:13 pm
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Originally Posted by rsteinmetz70112 View Post
Is there more tell? Did they check every bag or even a lot of them? Where did this happen?
I've personally watched many obviously over sized bags board Frontier flights without any comment.
I've seen the same. It was very odd to me. Honestly, I think it had to do with the fact that it was a rollerboard and not a backpack. There's just something about rollerboards that make them look bigger to gate agents. I've experienced this on countless airlines around the world, which is why I personally don't use a rollerboard as a "personal item."

In this case, I think the gate agent should have said the bag is fine once she saw that it only failed "the sizer test" because of the tiny protrusion of the wheels (this was a 2-wheeled suitcase), but I guess nobody in management ever told the agent to use a rule of reason on this sort of thing.

And for those of you who see nothing wrong with an airline enforcing baggage rules in this manner, I suggest that you don't pursue a career in the hospitality industry. Personally, we didn't care about this nonsense -- we see the whole Frontier experience as a game, where we fly below cost due to their unsuccessful efforts to sell us ancillary stuff at high prices -- but I am certain this type of behavior would not sit well with a more typical customer.

Last edited by iahphx; Sep 27, 19 at 10:18 pm
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Old Sep 27, 19, 11:53 pm
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
I think it's nuts (and terrible customer service) to enforce carry-on bag rules to fractions of an inch -- especially when it comes to luggage wheels -- but Frontier can obviously do whatever they want to do on this. From years of experience with airlines that have strict "personal item" size limits, I find that it's always better to have a backpack on your back than a small suitcase. For some reason, gate agents never seem to think backpacks can be oversized but they are often suspicious of rolling suitcases, even very small ones. We had even measured the suitcase against Frontier's limits before travel, but didn't bother to measure the slightly protruding wheels.
I had an old rollaboard that was just fractions of an inch too long when the wheels were included. In some models of planes it was impossible to close the overhead bin door unless the bag was stowed with the long direction oriented fore-aft rather than wheels in or out. That wasted a lot of space which inconvenienced other passengers with carry-on bags. When I replaced the bag I brought a tape measure with me to make sure the new bag (including wheels) was within the specified limits since many US and European airlines had begun to strictly enforce carry-on size limits. While shopping I found that the measurements listed on the manufacturer's packaging in most cases did NOT include wheel or spinner projections even though they claimed full compliance with airlines standards.
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Old Sep 28, 19, 12:33 am
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if the overhead doors will not click, it does not fit...
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Old Sep 28, 19, 6:10 am
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The bag's dimensions include wheels and handles. The only reason this bag was too large was that it was too large. Why it got too large was a purchasing choice made by OP's family member. This is true on all carriers. For what it is worth, AA has started rigidly enforcing its dimension policy for carry-on and it is a great thing.

Indeed the GA follows his employer's rules, as he should, and those rules are translated into easy-to-understand dimensions published on the F9 website and reflected in its sizer boxes.
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Old Sep 28, 19, 6:21 am
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Gotta draw the line somewhere, right? It either fits, or it doesn't. Simple.

I'd prefer it just be very cut and dry and equally enforced for everyone.
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Old Sep 28, 19, 7:50 am
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Personally, we didn't care about this nonsense -- we see the whole Frontier experience as a game, where we fly below cost due to their unsuccessful efforts to sell us ancillary stuff at high prices -- but I am certain this type of behavior would not sit well with a more typical customer.
You clearly care enough to come here and write a long moan about it, despite how special and non-typical you believe yourself to be.
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Old Sep 28, 19, 10:02 am
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Originally Posted by Barcky View Post
I had an old rollaboard that was just fractions of an inch too long when the wheels were included. In some models of planes it was impossible to close the overhead bin door unless the bag was stowed with the long direction oriented fore-aft rather than wheels in or out. That wasted a lot of space which inconvenienced other passengers with carry-on bags. When I replaced the bag I brought a tape measure with me to make sure the new bag (including wheels) was within the specified limits since many US and European airlines had begun to strictly enforce carry-on size limits. While shopping I found that the measurements listed on the manufacturer's packaging in most cases did NOT include wheel or spinner projections even though they claimed full compliance with airlines standards.
The OP is talking about a personal item so it wasn't going to go into the overhead bin. If Frontier made $60 and lost a customer it wasn't a great business decision.
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Old Sep 28, 19, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by BrlDsguise View Post
The OP is talking about a personal item so it wasn't going to go into the overhead bin. If Frontier made $60 and lost a customer it wasn't a great business decision.
Sure it was.

It has preserved its brand. Its agents do not have discretion, it is known that they do not have discretion, and the problem becomes that if F9 starts accepting bags which are a "little" over, that becomes the new standard and then it is a "little over" that.

The reality is that people who say that they are "walking" rarely do. The people who get annoyed when they see others getting away with scamming that baggage (or other rules) is that it upsets them that they either paid the fee or managed to measure their bag before heading to the airport.
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Old Sep 28, 19, 5:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Katamarino View Post
You clearly care enough to come here and write a long moan about it, despite how special and non-typical you believe yourself to be.
You assume I'm moaning. I'm not. As I titled the thread, this is a PSA. I know I need to know how strictly specific airlines enforce their carry-on bag rules. It matters A LOT if you're a frequent traveler, especially when you use low fare airlines. I can't tell you how many threads I've read over the years to determine whether I had to worry about, say, a 7 kg carry-on bag allowance.

Personally, I was surprised at how this agent strictly enforced (to perhaps a quarter inch on a protruding wheel) their baggage policy. I hadn't seen this happen at Frontier before. It didn't matter to us -- the old bag we were using only had value as a Frontier carry-on, and had zero value if it was going to be a source of friction while flying Frontier. Putting the contents into a plastic laundry bag was simply a minor inconvenience. I do think this incident will "matter" to others when they select their "personal item" for Frontier. As I said before, I'd go for a backpack.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 5:24 pm
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Originally Posted by BrlDsguise View Post
The OP is talking about a personal item so it wasn't going to go into the overhead bin. If Frontier made $60 and lost a customer it wasn't a great business decision.
I don't know where people get this stuff. There is no rule that a personal item can't go in the overhead bin. The requirement is that it must be able to fit under the seat, and if it was too large it may not have. Most of the time on Frontier the overhead bins are pretty empty, because they charge more for a carry-on than for a checked bag.
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Old Oct 30, 19, 1:04 pm
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Personally, I was surprised at how this agent strictly enforced (to perhaps a quarter inch on a protruding wheel) their baggage policy. I hadn't seen this happen at Frontier before. It didn't matter to us -- the old bag we were using only had value as a Frontier carry-on, and had zero value if it was going to be a source of friction while flying Frontier. Putting the contents into a plastic laundry bag was simply a minor inconvenience. I do think this incident will "matter" to others when they select their "personal item" for Frontier. As I said before, I'd go for a backpack.
I'm actually looking at buying a backpack to use as a personal item on Frontier. Are they especially strict with backpacks as personal items?

Clearly, one of the massive hiking backpacks wouldn't qualify, but will I get hassled for a simple backpack with a change of clothes, a laptop and a few extras? My goal, of course, is to take ONLY a backpack and no additional carry-on.
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