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Checking bags planeside instead of at check-in- cheating?

Checking bags planeside instead of at check-in- cheating?

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Old Apr 10, 12, 7:51 pm
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Checking bags planeside instead of at check-in- cheating?

A friend and I are having a discussion, and we disagree:

Me: OK not to check bags at check-in
I say that if you're flying, it's totally fine to take your bags to the gate and check them planeside, as you're boarding the plane. Other than for a few specific things such as strollers that some airlines require be checked at the ticket counter, there is no obligation to check bags at the ticket counter (whether or not you're Preferred/Premier/Medallion/etc. and thus whether or not you'd get charged fees if you checked the bags at the ticket counter).

I am Preferred on US Airways and don't get charged the fees, but I almost never check bags anyway, and in the year when I first started flying, even before becoming Preferred (over 10 years ago), I never checked bags then. I usually have only a manageable suitcase and don't want to deal with baggage claim.

Friend: not OK to check bags planeside instead of at check-in

My friend says that you're a cheat if you don't check bags at the ticket counter, avoid paying the $25 or so per bag, and check the bags planeside- it's not decent to try to cheat the system that way.

Who do you agree with?
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Old Apr 10, 12, 8:48 pm
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What airline requires you to check in a stroller at the ticket counter? I've never heard of that. May as well just leave the stroller at home since it's kind of useless.
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Old Apr 10, 12, 9:10 pm
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Originally Posted by NYCommuter View Post
Friend: not OK to check bags planeside instead of at check-in[/U]
My friend says that you're a cheat if you don't check bags at the ticket counter, avoid paying the $25 or so per bag, and check the bags planeside- it's not decent to try to cheat the system that way.
But the problem is your bag has to make it through the security check point, which means your bag cannot be bigger than the normal size carry on bag.

Some airline may have "guards" at the front of the security line, other than just checking your boarding pass, but also check the size of your carryon bag. I was stopped once at SFO, coming back from HKG (already have 2 checked bags), at HKG checkin, they gave me a tag to bypass the somewhat oversize carryon roller bag. However, at SFO domestic (connect to a flight to ORD), the person who manned the line force me to check it, luckily I am UA*G, checking the 3rd bag is still free of charge.
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Old Apr 11, 12, 3:54 am
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Originally Posted by Kevin AA View Post
What airline requires you to check in a stroller at the ticket counter? I've never heard of that. May as well just leave the stroller at home since it's kind of useless.
American's website states this; I'd never heard of it either.
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Old Apr 11, 12, 8:07 am
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There have been many recent stories about doing this recently as a way to avoid paying baggage fees. Airline spokespeople are usually quoted as saying we are looking at ways to insure a fair and equitable system for all passengers. To me that means they are trying to figure a way to close this hole.

Anything you carry in the bag has to clear security, so no liquids over the limit, etc in the bag, and it has to be a carry on size.

I don't really trust the tags they put on bags for gate checking, they fall off, they are not bar coded, etc (on many airlines) so should your bag go astray, it's going to be a manual process every step of the way to get it to the right flight and back to you.

Some airlines have installed bag tag printers at some of their jetways to get around the tag issue.
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Old Apr 11, 12, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by NYCommuter View Post
A friend and I are having a discussion, and we disagree:

Me: OK not to check bags at check-in
I say that if you're flying, it's totally fine to take your bags to the gate and check them planeside, as you're boarding the plane. Other than for a few specific things such as strollers that some airlines require be checked at the ticket counter, there is no obligation to check bags at the ticket counter (whether or not you're Preferred/Premier/Medallion/etc. and thus whether or not you'd get charged fees if you checked the bags at the ticket counter).

I am Preferred on US Airways and don't get charged the fees, but I almost never check bags anyway, and in the year when I first started flying, even before becoming Preferred (over 10 years ago), I never checked bags then. I usually have only a manageable suitcase and don't want to deal with baggage claim.

Friend: not OK to check bags planeside instead of at check-in

My friend says that you're a cheat if you don't check bags at the ticket counter, avoid paying the $25 or so per bag, and check the bags planeside- it's not decent to try to cheat the system that way.

Who do you agree with?
For me, it comes down to...what is the size of the bag? Are you checking a bag that exceeds carry on limitations?
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Old Apr 11, 12, 2:03 pm
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Originally Posted by cordelli View Post
There have been many recent stories about doing this recently as a way to avoid paying baggage fees. Airline spokespeople are usually quoted as saying we are looking at ways to insure a fair and equitable system for all passengers. To me that means they are trying to figure a way to close this hole.

Anything you carry in the bag has to clear security, so no liquids over the limit, etc in the bag, and it has to be a carry on size. ...
"A carry on size" varies by airline and aircraft. "Security" usually permits bags larger than any such limit.

It's a rule. The airlines rarely enforce it. That's it; a personal choice, whether you mind breaking a rule.

Some people might say it's "OK" or "totally fine" to be "a cheat" or "not decent." For such people, you are both "right."

How many people strictly adhere to all speed limits, expressing their disapproval only at the ballot box?
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Old Apr 11, 12, 2:15 pm
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I don't think I've ever been in a position to try this as a way to avoid a baggage fee. On the rare occasions when I fly an airline that doesn't allow me any checked bags at all (DL being my only U.S. example), I use a carry-on that fits into the overhead bin of pretty much any mainline jet.

On airlines that allow me checked bags (US, UA, AA, WN), and I actually want to check a bag, I use one that is large enough that the TSA would probably never let it through.

If you have some sort of "tweener" bag...a little bigger than a bin yet small enough not to freak out the TSA...then I can't blame you for making a run at getting it through security. Seems like these bags are rare these days, since most luggage makers know exactly what the dimensions are and the next size up above the carry-on-eligible size is usually noticeably bigger.
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Old Apr 11, 12, 2:33 pm
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Originally Posted by GaryD View Post
"A carry on size" varies by airline and aircraft. "Security" usually permits bags larger than any such limit.

It's a rule. The airlines rarely enforce it. That's it; a personal choice, whether you mind breaking a rule.
I'm really not sure why you quoted me, but I made no reference at all to the size of the bag or that security really cared what size it was.

What I did way was that anything you carry on has to clear security, meaning that if you have a giant bottle of shampoo or a meat cleaver in your bag, you can not bring it to the gate to check it. There are things you can put in a bag as checked luggage that you can't clear though security, so if you are going to do this you need to keep that in mind.
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Old Apr 11, 12, 3:15 pm
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Originally Posted by cordelli View Post
I'm really not sure why you quoted me, but I made no reference at all to the size of the bag or that security really cared what size it was.

What I did way was that anything you carry on has to clear security, meaning that if you have a giant bottle of shampoo or a meat cleaver in your bag, you can not bring it to the gate to check it. There are things you can put in a bag as checked luggage that you can't clear though security, so if you are going to do this you need to keep that in mind.
Oh. You wrote, "it has to be a carry on size." I didn't realize you meant, each item within your carry on bag. So, certain items may be too large, at security, even if they fit within your carry on bag. Got it.
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