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How do you handle forced gate-checked bags?

How do you handle forced gate-checked bags?

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Old Oct 17, 18, 12:28 pm
  #1  
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How do you handle forced gate-checked bags?

So far this year I've flown 62 segments all with the same piece of carry-on luggage that has fit in 100 percent of overhead bins I've encountered (excluding regional jets). I was a perfect 61-for-61 until last week at JFK, boarding a flight to MCO.

AA has an employee standing there right next to the gate agent taking boarding passes, and when he sees a piece of luggage larger than a shoe box, he tells the passenger he has to make sure it fits in his handy sizing apparatus. Of course, what AA doesn't tell anyone is that there are many bags that don't fit into this gizmo that DO fit into an overhead bin.

Sure enough, he picks my bag and, measuring it into his sizer, it's about a quarter of an inch too wide. Of course, he hasn't worked too hard to try to make it fit.

I was going to tell him that exact piece has fit in every plane I've been on since January, but you know questioning their decision rarely is a prudent thing to do. I thought of taking the bag and jumping on it a few times so it would compress, and fit, but I didn't think of that in time. In this particular case, the fact that he's now checked my bag isn't the end of the world because when I get to my final destination I have to go pick up my golf clubs anyhow. But had I not been traveling with my clubs, I would have been PO'd. To further add to my irritation, boarding ends and there are easily three or four or five overhead bins that are completely empty.

How often do the FFs encounter this and how do you handle it?
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Old Oct 17, 18, 4:17 pm
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I don't mind gate checking my bags. I even volunteer sometimes. A good way to avoid the fees.

But I promise you, insisting to the employee that it fit before on other flights WILL NOT WORK. It's something everyone says, like "I am never shopping here again!" or "The last time the lady took my return without a receipt" or "Nobody reads the whole terms and conditions! Come on!".

It may be true..but that doesn't make it sound any more convincing.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 5:14 pm
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The only time I won one of those was when I informed the agent that my roller bag contained $2500.00 worth of cameras and electronics and it would NOT be checked. Other times, I just let them gate check.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 5:18 pm
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I think it's a well known rule by now that carry-ons are supposed to fit in the sizing thing provided. The fact that most staff don't bother checking doesn't change that, but perhaps those should be made bigger to reflect what can actually fit.

As for my personal experience, I've had my rolling bag weighed by Virgin Australia in BNE before. I was able to get the weight down to below their 7kg limit by moving stuff out of it to the bag I was actually checking in, but obviously that's not possible at the gate. I imagine that if a US airline were to make me gate check I'd just deal with it (after removing electronics and batteries, of course).
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Old Oct 17, 18, 5:30 pm
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Originally Posted by 0holesinone View Post
So far this year I've flown 62 segments all with the same piece of carry-on luggage that has fit in 100 percent of overhead bins I've encountered (excluding regional jets). I was a perfect 61-for-61 until last week at JFK, boarding a flight to MCO.

AA has an employee standing there right next to the gate agent taking boarding passes, and when he sees a piece of luggage larger than a shoe box, he tells the passenger he has to make sure it fits in his handy sizing apparatus. Of course, what AA doesn't tell anyone is that there are many bags that don't fit into this gizmo that DO fit into an overhead bin.

Sure enough, he picks my bag and, measuring it into his sizer, it's about a quarter of an inch too wide. Of course, he hasn't worked too hard to try to make it fit.

I was going to tell him that exact piece has fit in every plane I've been on since January, but you know questioning their decision rarely is a prudent thing to do. I thought of taking the bag and jumping on it a few times so it would compress, and fit, but I didn't think of that in time. In this particular case, the fact that he's now checked my bag isn't the end of the world because when I get to my final destination I have to go pick up my golf clubs anyhow. But had I not been traveling with my clubs, I would have been PO'd. To further add to my irritation, boarding ends and there are easily three or four or five overhead bins that are completely empty.

How often do the FFs encounter this and how do you handle it?
This happened to me once... even as a top tier status member with my status tags hanging off my carry on and in plain view of the luggage-mastertaker. I protested with a "really?!" and just accepted it for what it was and just let it slide.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 5:53 pm
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Originally Posted by 0holesinone View Post
Sure enough, he picks my bag and, measuring it into his sizer, it's about a quarter of an inch too wide. Of course, he hasn't worked too hard to try to make it fit.
Seems like the obvious way to prove that it fits in the sizer would be to squish it a little to make it fit.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 5:58 pm
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My current bag fits in the sizer. My previous bag was a touch big (or maybe the sizers used to be bigger?). When asked to gate/valet check, particularly on regional jets, I handed my bag over. I did not inquire as to whether the agent knew who I was.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 6:23 pm
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OP, did you tell the agent at the gate how important your business was to the overall success of the airline, and why it was in their best interest to let your bag go?
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Old Oct 17, 18, 7:00 pm
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If the flight's out of space and I'm last to board, I'll just gate check my (legal) bag.

If there's an agent being an actual jerk about millimeters, my bag is suddenly worth a lot, or I'm carrying lithium batteries. Both have avoided the gate-checking issue.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 7:49 pm
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Good on AA. It has become better than both UA and DL at enforcing the clearcut rules, ensuring that more passengers are able to bring their "legal" bags onboard, while those who can't follow the rules get pulled aside.

Not sure what OP's concern is. AA"s rules are published on its website. They have nothing to do with fitting the OH and everything to do with the published dimensions. The sizers are just slightly larger than the published dimensions.

If you insist on traveling with an oversize bag, then check it or chance it. If you chance it, a smart move is to have a small packable bag into which you can toss valuables and medications.

Complaining that you are always permitted to violate the rules won't get you too far.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 8:27 pm
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Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
The only time I won one of those was when I informed the agent that my roller bag contained $2500.00 worth of cameras and electronics and it would NOT be checked. Other times, I just let them gate check.
Gate checking a bag will incur penalty fees on most airlines
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Old Oct 17, 18, 10:21 pm
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Originally Posted by miklcct View Post
Gate checking a bag will incur penalty fees on most airlines
Never once paid a fee. But it has been several years since it happened. Things may have changed.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 10:27 pm
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Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
The only time I won one of those was when I informed the agent that my roller bag contained $2500.00 worth of cameras and electronics and it would NOT be checked. Other times, I just let them gate check.
Yes, if you are an assertive type of person, definitely use that line regardless of what your bag actually contains. The magic words are "it will NOT be checked."

Another "excuse" that I have seen work, when delivered in an exhausted tone that elicits sympathy, is that you have a very tight schedule at your destination and you cannot wait for baggage claim.

Personally - AA UA DL all have the same size limit of 22x14x9. I make sure my bag is under that.
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Old Oct 18, 18, 3:02 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Good on AA. It has become better than both UA and DL at enforcing the clearcut rules, ensuring that more passengers are able to bring their "legal" bags onboard, while those who can't follow the rules get pulled aside.

Not sure what OP's concern is. AA"s rules are published on its website. They have nothing to do with fitting the OH and everything to do with the published dimensions. The sizers are just slightly larger than the published dimensions.

If you insist on traveling with an oversize bag, then check it or chance it. If you chance it, a smart move is to have a small packable bag into which you can toss valuables and medications.

Complaining that you are always permitted to violate the rules won't get you too far.
I'm travelling with a bag which size is at the limit. I tried fitting it into the measurement case at an airport and I could do it only after applying a lot of force squeezing the bag into it. Does that means my bag is always accepted as carry-on?
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Old Oct 18, 18, 4:26 am
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Many times when they gate check a bag you drop it of at the end of the jet way. Thus, once you pass the gate agent just rip of the bag tag and board with your bag! Have worked every time for me.
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