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Can a FA 'force' you to move your only carry on bag from the bin to under your seat?

Can a FA 'force' you to move your only carry on bag from the bin to under your seat?

Old Oct 12, 2023, 6:48 am
  #1  
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Can a FA 'force' you to move your only carry on bag from the bin to under your seat?

I was on a full JetBlue flight last night. Regular economy ticket.

Boarded early with my wife and 3 year old in stroller, which we gate checked.

I put my only carry on bag, a small backpack, in the overhead bin.

Boarding ends with the last passengers coming on board, presumably basic economy.

One of these latecomers has a big roller suitcase.

FA asks if backpack above my head is mine, I say yes,

Then she "asks" me to put it under my seat to accommodate the roller suitcase. I don't recall her exact wording. I recall that it was terse. I know she didn't say please.

Based on her tone, demeanor and words uttered that it was unclear if this was an order or a request.

I didn't want to move the bag under my feet, because I didn't want to spend three hours with no legroom, and I don't think it's reasonable for airlines to punish passengers who carry on a single small bag by forcing them to relinquish their legroom so that basic economy passengers can stow their huge rollers.

As I was pondering how to respond, my wife volunteered for her bag to be removed and put under our kids' seat, which was fine. He doesn't need legroom, he's three. Crisis averted.

But this has left me thinking. Let's say I'm traveling alone with my small bag as my only carry on, and a FA asks/tells me to move it under my seat, and I say "No, it's my only bag, I travel light and in regular economy class so I have legroom, I'd like to keep it in the bin."

What could/would the FA do then? Let's assume the FA is grouchy and vindictive. Would she just remove my bag and gate check it and put the latecomer's roller suitcase in its place?

Would she "order" me to put the bag under my seat and then try to get me thrown off the flight or arrested if I refuse?

Would it matter if I had put two bags overhead?

Or do FAs have firm guidelines in this situation of "Don't go grabbing and moving passengers' bags, if someone refuses to move a bag just tell the latecomer 'Sorry we have to gate check yours.'"
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Old Oct 12, 2023, 8:02 am
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I think you and the rest of us know the answer to this, and that is "no" It sounds like she may have been in a stressful situation and could have handled it better. I would suggest sending in a much, much more concise version of this in to JetBlue's customer service form as I too have seen this happen in the past and a short training could probably standardize the experience and educate the crewmembers.

-J.
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Old Oct 12, 2023, 11:13 am
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Originally Posted by GW McLintock
I think you and the rest of us know the answer to this, and that is "no" It sounds like she may have been in a stressful situation and could have handled it better. I would suggest sending in a much, much more concise version of this in to JetBlue's customer service form as I too have seen this happen in the past and a short training could probably standardize the experience and educate the crewmembers.

-J.
I really don't know the answer to this. We're required to follow crewmember instructions as a general rule. Why couldn't a FA say "Put your small bag under your seat so we can get everyone's bags in the cabin, and if you refuse, we get the pilot to order you off the plane for insubordination or we just take yours and gate check it"? And what if I had a roller bag and a small bag up there?

Are stowed passenger bags "off limits" to flight attendants?
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Old Oct 12, 2023, 1:35 pm
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Because that's not how it works. You are entitled to overhead bin space with the ticket you purchased. The FA was either having a bad day or overstepped her role. Then again, you didn't say "no" so it's all "could've, would've, should've" -- no way to know what would have happened. All I can tell you is that this is less uncommon than most people think at JB and they could probably benefit from a standardized training. Trust me, I would know

I really hope you do take my advice and send a concise, clear note to customer service.

-J.
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Old Oct 12, 2023, 2:54 pm
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Thanks. I’m just wondering if maybe they that training and what is it. Is the training to ask for volunteers to move their smaller bags down and if there are none to gate check the roller bag?

Or is the training to pull out the small bag and hand it to the owner and tell him put it u see your seat now or we throw you off the plane?
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Old Oct 12, 2023, 3:17 pm
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I cannot make it any clearer without disclosing information I prefer not to.

This is not part of their training at all. I have nothing else to say on the matter.

-J.
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Old Oct 12, 2023, 3:23 pm
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Many many years ago, I had a similar encounter. Not with B6, but if I recall, AA? Anyway, I boarded early, placed my smaller bag in the bin, and either the FA or GA took it out and just told me to place it under my seat. After the flight, I just wrote a short note to AA, or whomever, saying that in all future flights, I'm bringing a full roller, even if contains only my laptop. And, it's what I've done ever since.
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Old Oct 12, 2023, 10:27 pm
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If you have two bags up there, then yes, they can ask you to move it.
if you have a blue basic ticket, then yes, then can order you to move it.
For other situations, its just a request that you can politely try to decline. Ive never come across a B6 FA that came across terse without reason.
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Old Oct 13, 2023, 2:48 am
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Couple of months ago I was on a short, 1-hour. SAS flight onboard the horrible ATR-72. These days SAS even makes you pay for a <8kg carry on, I kid you not. Anyways, I'd paid the money for a carry on and was amongst the first to board (last onboard the bus to the remote stand = first onboard the aircraft) and had placed my backpack in the overhead.

Flight was completely chocker, and one of the last to board was to sit across the aisle and she came with a roller bag. Overheads were of course completely full at this time, and she looked at my backpack and asked if I would mind placing it under the seat in front of me. I politely declined, which apparently upset the lady and she called the PA. When the PA came around I pointed out that I'd paid good money to bring my backpack onboard, and had taken advantage of "first come, first served" in the overhead stakes. The lady was asked to go back down the stairs and hand her bag over to the ramp staff, who would stow it in the baggage compartment. She gave me a death stare, and it took a conscious effort not to flip her the bird with a gigantic smirk on my face.
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Old Oct 14, 2023, 7:52 am
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I don't know the rules....But, uncomfortable as it might be for you, I think it's not wrong for them to ask, and it's common courtesy for you to agree to put your bag under the seat if needed so someone doesn't have to gate check their luggage.
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Old Oct 19, 2023, 6:19 am
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For starters Jet Blue should enforce their bag size limits.
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Old Oct 19, 2023, 7:35 am
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Originally Posted by Jimval26
For starters Jet Blue should enforce their bag size limits.
They generally do

-J.
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Old Oct 19, 2023, 8:47 am
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Originally Posted by GW McLintock
They generally do

-J.
When I shopped for a carry on I made sure it was within the specified dimensions and would fit and that test box at the airport. Now years later, every time I fly I see so many carry on bags that don't even come close to fitting in that box.
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Old Oct 23, 2023, 7:40 am
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Originally Posted by hughw
I don't know the rules....But, uncomfortable as it might be for you, I think it's not wrong for them to ask, and it's common courtesy for you to agree to put your bag under the seat if needed so someone doesn't have to gate check their luggage.
This is a typical announcement on many airlines - "Please stow you roll-aboard in the overhead and place any smaller items/bags under your seat so we can accommodate as many passengers as possible". Some airlines (e.g. Easyjet I think?) have carry-on tags that say "overhead" and "under seat"
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Old Oct 24, 2023, 11:59 am
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I was on a full transcon (or as they say, "completely full") this past Sunday, and the FA over the PA said multiple times during boarding that if pax put smaller items in the overheads during boarding, they would be removed.
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