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Old Nov 23, 00, 4:03 pm   #1
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Carry-on baggage. Time to do SOMETHING???

This thread and my comment below, was inspired by one on the UA board, from a posting made by a UA flight attendant about the size and number of bags she needs to deal with daily on US domestic flights, and how RUDE the main offenders can be, at the same time as delaying the flight for everyone else. :

WHEN the CEO's from the 10 major US carriers sit down, work out a carry-on policy they ALL agree to live with, and ENFORCE, the better the entire system will be IMHO.

If they ALL do it starting April 1st or whatever date they agree on, no-one loses ANY customer patronage as the playing field is level. It worked with non-smoking and it will work with carry-ons, if the airlines have the WILL.

Try carting on some of this junk onto Qantas domestically and you are in for a BIG surprise. It simply does NOT get past the gate agents .... they MAKE you walk down and check it in. You miss your plane due to that - too bad. You'll only try that stupid trick once, and you'll CHECK it next time. Works like a charm.

The FA's I realise can only raise their eyebrows so much .... it is basically too late once these cretins have boarded late in many cases, as the Captain is screaming for all seated an push back. It needs to be signposted heavily at check-in and then further ENFORCED by gate agents as much of the problem is the business "supremo" who goes straight to gate for check-in. YES, there are carry-on "templates" all over US airports, but it seems to me there is no WILL from management and most staff to enforce the carry-on size they dictate is "legal". Does anyone reading this believe many of the pieces of bulky junk in the overheads has any chance of fitting into one of those templates?

The United "rules" for instance say TWO pieces is the maximum with certain size and weight parameters. (But Rudi states that Star Gold pax are permitted an extra piece on top of this.) The maximum weight is set at 50 pounds. That is an INSANELY high limit for carry-on as it is IMHO. Many here would have truble physically pushing something of that weight into an overhead. A bag weighing that and falling on someone in the aisle seat in flight or on takeoff/landing could easily kill you. Think about it. 50 pounds is exactly what 17 bottles of champagne weighs. Overhead bin doors DO regalarly fly open, (especially on a hard landing) and contents DO fall on passengers - ask any FA. 17 bottles of wine or equivalent weight of anything else can easily kill ... especially if it landed on a child or elderly passenger.

NO airline in the USA wants to be first to "get tough" as they will lose business customers. And I know about the CO/UA fracas and X-Ray machines etc. That is the root problem .. no consistency agreed by all majors. And yes, many here are business guys who do not have "time" to check bags or wait for them at the carousel and want to wheel/haul their 50-75 pounds of stuff plus suit pack on board to save them time, and delay the rest of the 150 passengers. Too bad in my view.

Nothing will stop weather delays, equipment hassles, and the inevitable labour disputes during each year - they are all facts of airline life that can't be predicted or really avoided. However, ensuring EACH pax boards with precisely the carry-on allowance they are entitled to by their seating (and QF has larger allowances for J and F) will do more to get a loaded 182 seat Boeing 757 taking off on-time than ANY other single factor.

What do others think?

~ Glen ~
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Old Nov 23, 00, 4:53 pm   #2
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Instead of treating the symptom, let's consider the root cause.

Most travelers aren't carrying on excessive amounts because they enjoy hauling suitcases through airports, jostling with everyone else to get precious overhead space, and all the other fun stuff that goes with carry-ons. People carry on their luggage because check-in lines are intolerably slow, because luggage can take a half-hour or more to show up at the baggage carousel, or because the passenger went to Paris and the luggage to Perth.

Fix the problem, not the symptom. Make it easier to check luggage. Make the luggage show up at the destination faster -- much faster.

That will solve the carry-on problems, and there'll be no need for rules concocted by the anally-retentive.

[This message has been edited by wideman (edited 11-23-2000).]
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Old Nov 23, 00, 5:21 pm   #3
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Why stop at Qantas rules? Why not Iraqi Airways carry-on rules? Before the Gulf War, their carry-on limit was whatever you could carry in your pocket. It was suppose to make it harder for terrorist to bring aboard machine guns. An Iraqi 737 got hijacked over Saudi Arabia in the mid-80's anyway!

British carriers also are stringent in carry-on bags. The common roll-on bag is allowed, but weight limits are a very strict 11 (or is it 13) lbs. I once was just under the weight limit (with no checked bags). For a business day (or overnight trip), the trip is too short to be waiting for luggage or to have lost luggage.

I vote with my feet. I am considering UA, not QF, because the carry on limit is too strict. I'd like to see a 1 bag, 20-25 lb. limit.
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Old Nov 23, 00, 5:40 pm   #4
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Recently on a flight from LAS to LAX, a pax tried to carry on a suitcase twice the size of DL's "size wise" thing. The FA stopped him (after some discussions), but I agree that one should not have to get past the gate agent with those huge carry-ons.

So I believe what we need is both ozstamps' and wideman's approach - do not allow too large or too heavy carry ons at all (and do not let them get past the gate), and try to get a system that does actually work.

But shouldn't airlines also increase their liability (especially on int'l flights though CDG ) to actually make people check more items? If I travel, their maximum compensation does not even match what I check, so why should I check more?
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Old Nov 23, 00, 9:30 pm   #5
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ozstamps etc.
Good idea about not getting past gate agents but from my experience they are usually too busy to notice, especially processing people at the last minute - time constraints, etc.
I have yet to see a gate agent peak over the podium and look at people's carry-ons for size, and even if they did notice, they don't have time for dialogue and the objection that the passenger is going to give them at that moment. Sometimes there is only one gate agent with other people on line so it would be difficult if not impossible.
I say build a hatch inside the cabin with a chute down into a cargo pit and write your own bagtags to fill out the city of destination.
Many times people are not even wanting to relinquish the bag at the end of the jetway to be taken by a rampserviceman to be put in the cargo hold or they are well within the aircraft wasting more time moving back to the jetway to do that.
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Old Nov 23, 00, 9:33 pm   #6
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Wideman's idea is the reason I carry on.


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Old Nov 23, 00, 10:38 pm   #7
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Carrying on saved us on Latin Pass. Part of our group was held up for an hour in Caracas waiting for luggage while my wife and I were already resting up at the Intercontinental.

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Old Nov 23, 00, 11:15 pm   #8
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Got to agree with oz on this. I feel airlines' enforcememt of their own rules is much too lax.
When my wife and I travel, we always check in one large suitcase and bring our flightbag on board. When filled, my old reliable flightbag has the small and large pockets fully expanded, and has never failed the "sizer" test. If it's heavy, it goes under my seat, rather than endanger someone, should it fall out of the overhead. Many times, because of its apparent bulk, it has drawn glances from the gate agents and FAs, but its never had to be checked, as it fits within the sizer's parimeters. And we usually get a "cabin baggage" sticker from the gate agent, after its dimensions have and weight been verified.
But it never ceases to amaze us what we see being brought aboard the aircraft. Large softsided hockey equipment bags fully loaded,
those large rolling "flightbags" much too large to fit in the sizers let alone get into the overhead bins, yet being stuffed into the overheads, much to the squashing of other people belongings.
The airlines can make all the rules they care to. What it boils down to IMHO, is that these rules have to be enforced, and travelers should be made aware of that fact.

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Old Nov 24, 00, 6:29 am   #9
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What they really need to do is make FAs adhere to the same rules..ever looked at the pile of bags THEY try to bring on the plane? Any how many only get them on because they pull up the template to get them through the x-ray machine..
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Old Nov 24, 00, 7:30 am   #10
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I don't disagree with your comments, ozstamps. I always carry my luggage on board, and am very conscious of not exceeding the guidelines. I will admit, though, to once or twice dragging an extra small bag onto the plane with me. Not a big deal, or is it? If everyone brought along an extra small bag, there would never be enough room for all of it. But from my perspective, I'm going to do everything I can to prevent checking my luggage, for two reasons. First, the majors have shown a complete inability to efficiently deliver luggage in a timely manner. It's ridiculous to have to wait up to an hour in baggage claim to retrieve my bags, and this is common in many airports. Some of the worst that come to mind are JFK and MIA. Second, I'm tired of having to buy new luggage or pay for repairs every time the baggage handlers wreak their havoc on my luggage. I buy top-of-the-line luggage that should last for years, but the airlines can destroy a bag in just a few trips. Try making a claim for the damage and you get a littany of disclaimers - we're not responsible for wheels, we're not responsible for handles, we're not responsible for normal wear & tear (since when is an 8" gash in the material considered normal wear & tear?).

Bottom line is, when the airlines manage to improve their baggage operations, the carry-on wars will stop. Until then, passengers will continue to board with the kitchen sink and demand their rights to do so. The only other solution I can think of is to charge for cabin baggage - that would certainly be an incentive to some to check their luggage!
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Old Nov 24, 00, 7:51 am   #11
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I usually don't mind the wait for my bags when I get home to ORD - it gives me a chance to freshen up, call for my taxi, etc. But on the trip out, especially on a business trip, I am completely unconvinced that my bag checked at the front desk will make it to the same destination as I do.

I'm often carrying 3-4 days of dress clothes, and I'm not the easiest size in the world to fit on short notice (54 XL jacket) if AA loses my suits. But, I know my garment bag is a little over the regs at that point.

I never have a problem, though, because
I understand the concept of gate-checking my garment bag before boarding even begins. I walk to the gate about 10 minutes before boarding starts, and ask the gate agent how full the flight is. If it's empty, I carry the bag on - there'll be enough space. If it's 2/3 full or more, I ask to gate check my bag right then and there. I always get a friendly response from the agent, becuase (s)he realizes that I'm trying to save everybody as much hassle as possible. I've never lost a gate-checked bag - where could it possibly go??

The key, though, is to ask for the gate-check before the agent starts boarding. Otherwise, I think that you are seriously inconveniencing the gate agent, the FAs, and your other passengers.
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Old Nov 24, 00, 8:02 am   #12
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My "modest" proposal is as follows. Make every passenger (whether or not they have any checked luggage) wait in the terminal until the last piece of checked baggage has been delivered. The result of such a proposal? Airlines would need to find a way to deliver all checked luggage within 10 minutes of gate arrival.

Just to be clear: I am not actually suggesting this result. Rather, I am emphasizing that unless and until the airlines take responsibility for timely delivery (and accept substantial liability for computers, cameras, etc.) there is a "tension" between checked baggage and carry-on.
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Old Nov 24, 00, 8:05 am   #13
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Originally posted by rcs85551:

But shouldn't airlines also increase their liability (especially on int'l flights though CDG ) to actually make people check more items? If I travel, their maximum compensation does not even match what I check, so why should I check more?
This is the real issue for me, on international flights, $9 per pound, and what is it, $650 max?
On all flights, no coverage for anything that's worth anything, electronics etc.

I'm just thankful for the business world going to casual dress. I can now pack everything in a legal size roll-on.

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Old Nov 24, 00, 8:44 am   #14
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As I said in the UA board I think, ozstamps, this doesn't bother me. It's what the flying public wants -- more carry on space, more carry ons, less checked baggage.

I hate checking baggage for all the reasons you all brought up -- poor baggage handling, delayed baggage, waiting interminably for the bags to appear, lost flexibility for last minute re-routes, etc. etc.

I think people are treated differently. If you check in as an elite member or in F, you board first and you bring more bags and there is room for them. People who board late have more problems finding room and that is when the airline uses an eagle eye to spot extra carry-ons and insist that they be checked. That is my experience anyway and I have no problem with it.

I do have a problem with people taking very large carry-ons, that is ridiculous, and carry-ons that they can't handle, where they need help in getting them into the overheads. I don't think that is right at all -- carry ons should be reasonable and the pax who carry them on should be able to handle them, lift them and stow them, or else the bags in question should be checked.

I don't like the baggage templates either.

I say, give the flying public what it wants, and that is obviously lots of carry-ons.

I'll stop carrying on now

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Old Nov 24, 00, 2:58 pm   #15
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Why is there no much fuss about the whole thing in Europe, where airlines strictly enforce low weight limits on carry ons? I've travelled on BA (which is definitely business oriented) often and they do so consistently.
I think it's just a matter of habit, rather than convenience etc. All of those who are "spoiled" into carrying huge carryons on board, or into not waiting 5 more minutes for checked luggage, would adapt fast into more reasonable carryon regulations. Such is human nature.
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