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Forced to Check Carry-On Baggage when Plenty of Space On-Board

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Old Jun 13, 17, 11:38 pm
  #46  
 
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Originally Posted by JVPhoto View Post
Anyone who steps on a plane more than 2-3x a year is not even going to consider 29 minutes as something to become increasingly irate or dwell over.
Absolutely the contrary - I do about 120 segments a year so probably might not be the most frequent traveler around here but do reasonably fit into the "more than 2-3x a year" category, and I am always livid if being forced to check my carry-on.

Ever calculated the time wasted per year if you would be forced to check your bag every time? Based on my numbers that would be 60 hours a year wasted waiting at a baggage-carousel, or the equivalent of one and a half work week. I certainly would prefer to spend that time with my family and not with other strangers who were forced into the same fate...so I can fully understand becoming ballistic if subjected to such a situation with ample space to stow your bag on board...

Greetings - Dirk
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Old Jun 13, 17, 11:40 pm
  #47  
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Having thought this situation over, I think here's what I would have done if I could do-over:

Since I already was going to miss my son (and I didn't even mention that the flight was already delayed 15 minutes too), it didn't really matter to me when I got in after that.

Since I was able to get my bag off the cage and the baggage handler had it back at the GA who refused to delete my tag.... I should have just politely said sorry, I'm not going to gate check my bag when half the plane's bins are open. That would have left her in a predicament - does she delay the flight longer to deal with me, just do what I'm asking, deny me boarding?

In the worst case, she denies me boarding. As long as I were polite, then the GA has to justify that she denied me boarding because I refused to gate check the bag while there was plenty of space on-board.

I think that worst case situation would have worked out well in my favor if I were willing to be stubborn and miss the flight (being polite, so that I didn't seem unruly or argumentative). Now UA would have a story on its hands that "passenger was denied boarding for not checking their carry-on when plenty of space was available..." when they are already in the limelight on mistreating passengers. Now they'd delay me even longer and building up my argument for more compensation (even though their CoC says check for any reason, there is other legal issue with behaving in good faith). The several pictures I have (not all posted here) of empty bins and my very small carry-on (extra small to even fit on a CRJ) would have gone great for a news story.

The more likely case would be either that she relented and deleted the baggage tag, or she made me wait until the very end of boarding and then did so, so as not to lose face in front of the other people being forced to check bags at the same time.

If I'm ever in the same type of situation (hopefully not), I think I'll try this.

(yes, I seem stubborn and hold a grudge - I have difficulty handling unfairness and outright stupidity!)

Originally Posted by drvannostren View Post
Westjet has been doing this however they spin it differently. They "offer" to check people's bags rather than force. People love it for the most part since they don't have to pay and for WS checking them before the bins ever fill up means less chance of a delay...better said, the delay gets put on us (the ground handlers) rather than them. It's rather frustrating to walk up to the bridge and see one of the first 10 passengers sauntering down the jetway with their tagged bag.

The other thing that gets me, this time as a passenger, is why is NO ONE ever told to use the space under the seat. I know no one WANTS to use that space, but most bags that get checked could fit under there, or a purse/backpack could be moved from the overhead under the seat to make room.
oh the GA started with that too - saying she needed 25 (!!!) volunteers to check their bag because there wouldn't be space. She got about 5 volunteers, and said needed 20 more. Then the outright ban on carry-ons for group 4... all while about 50% of the space was available. Easily could have accommodated another 25 people with regular size carry-ons, 25 * 29 minutes = about 12 hours of passenger time wasted!

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 14, 17 at 2:30 am Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member -- please use multi-quote
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Old Jun 14, 17, 12:42 am
  #48  
 
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You planned a trip to Denver to see your son for just 20 minutes? This makes no sense.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 12:44 am
  #49  
 
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FWIW I find that sometimes it is very arbitrary and unfair the forced checking and other times a real need. I fly enough sometimes they are indeed full before GRP5 gets on and we are in the business of towing some unhappy passenger's carryon out for checkin. Also seen enough that many don't know how to load the overhead for efficiency, and that FA don't help enforcement/packing and forcing smaller items to underneath seats.

A few months ago I was boarding a connect PVG-SFO-PDX. It was the last flight from SFO-PDX and full. Fully aware that Friday night full flights are at risk for full overheads I lined up as the first in line in GRP2.

My GA decided to make an example of me and said because my baggage didn't fit the size check it had to be checked. I tried to argue and she asked me if I wanted to be removed from the flight. I wanted to get home and relented. I was exhausted already and just accepted my fate in furry.

As I was GRP2 got on, proceeded to see many others get on after me with two and three pieces and rollerboards larger than mine. The icing on the cake was there actually ended up to be room in the overheads. Others had seen my argument and tried to comfort me in that they were especially strict at SFO.

Of course upon arrival, past 1am, waited for my bags a good extra 20'.


Nothing to torque us than unfairness, if everyone had to check I'd have been fine. But to make an example of the first one in line, then let others walk by

I was told in the thread where I complained, I should have just agreed, not argued and as I walked down the jet way carried my rollerboard right on.

Next time, can't decide if I'll do that, or just happily accept the decision and make sure EVERYONE else has their rollerboard check for size too. I'm sure that will delay boarding easily 30'
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Old Jun 14, 17, 6:00 am
  #50  
 
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this happened to me when I was in first class at LGA last year--the gate agent was really nasty and said something to me like "you will want to zipper your bag all the way down" so i said ok and kept walking, and she said "didnt I just ask you to zipper your bag all the way down"? and I said yes,you said i will want to i was going to do it when I put the bag up. she got very belligerent and I had to check my bag---but she had the power and I didnt, and I didnt want to get booted off my flight. I should have just done it. I was in first class plenty of open space and she was just being nasty. I learned a lesson--never ever get fresh with someone who has the power to make your flight miserable. to this day this si why I drive everywhere I can. lol
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Old Jun 14, 17, 6:01 am
  #51  
 
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Originally Posted by drvannostren View Post
Westjet has been doing this however they spin it differently. They "offer" to check people's bags rather than force.
As I mentioned up thread this has been SOP for United for just about as long as they've been charging to check bags -- "This is a very full flight and overhead bins will start to fill up during our boarding, and we're looking for a few volunteers to check your bag to your final destination at no charge..." Sometimes they'll name a number (10, 15, 25) others they'll say "a few" or "anyone interested".

The example I referenced in IAH was the first time I've ever personally heard a gate agent making the declarative that bags "must" be checked.

Originally Posted by drvannostren View Post
The other thing that gets me, this time as a passenger, is why is NO ONE ever told to use the space under the seat. I know no one WANTS to use that space, but most bags that get checked could fit under there, or a purse/backpack could be moved from the overhead under the seat to make room.
It is by no means consistent, but I've heard that on UA (one variation: "the area under the seat in front of you is your primary stowage area") and on some flights I've seen FAs patrolling and evicting smaller items ("Sir, is this yours bag? It needs to go under the seat in front of you..." while handing a pax a laptop-sized bag)
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Old Jun 14, 17, 6:32 am
  #52  
 
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I can confirm that Aero does give the gate agent an estimate of how many bags they will need to gate-check. I don't know how that number is determined but I'll see if I can find out.

The OP wanted to get to his destination at the scheduled time and without having to wait for bags. He has every right to expect that. A 29 minute delay is small, and wouldn't normally cause a problem, but it did interfere with his plans so I understand why he's unhappy with the result.

There are also frequent complaints that the carry on restrictions are not enforced strictly enough. I'm not sure if there's a middle ground that would please everyone.

There is a lot of emphasis on quick turn times when an airplane is late inbound. I think these situations is where you'll see the agents being the most assertive with the gate-checks. Quicker turns in these situations go a long way in getting the delayed airplane back on schedule for the remainder of the day.

If a checked bag is missing it likely won't cause a delay. The weight and balance calculations are done by computer (in Chicago) after the ramp crew has finalized the bag count on their handheld scanners. The ramp crew will know that the bag(s) is missing and that the bag was a gate check (that's how they know to go up to the jetbridge to get them) so they might make an extra trip up to look for it but that's all.

A positive change are the new Space Bins on the 737 fleet. I think we currently have 13 airplanes (all -800s and -900s) with the Space Bins and new deliveries (currently 165 on order) will have them. With the Space Bins you put your bag in wheels-first but on its side instead of flat. The rollaboards fit like books on a library shelf. It results in a significant increase in rollaboard capacity.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 6:40 am
  #53  
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Originally Posted by JVPhoto View Post
How did this make you miss seeing your son & what was the situation in there wasn't a 15-20min time buffer from making it happen?
I do have the same question, unless I missed something.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 8:13 am
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Originally Posted by djohannw View Post
Absolutely the contrary - I do about 120 segments a year so probably might not be the most frequent traveler around here but do reasonably fit into the "more than 2-3x a year" category, and I am always livid if being forced to check my carry-on.

Ever calculated the time wasted per year if you would be forced to check your bag every time? Based on my numbers that would be 60 hours a year wasted waiting at a baggage-carousel, or the equivalent of one and a half work week. I certainly would prefer to spend that time with my family and not with other strangers who were forced into the same fate...so I can fully understand becoming ballistic if subjected to such a situation with ample space to stow your bag on board...

Greetings - Dirk
I was referring to a generic 15-30 minute delay in travel it just happened that the conversation is about being forced to check a carry on.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 8:41 am
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Originally Posted by bulgarianfreak55 View Post
I do have the same question, unless I missed something.
Originally Posted by JVPhoto View Post
I was referring to a generic 15-30 minute delay in travel it just happened that the conversation is about being forced to check a carry on.
Fundamentally, what difference does it make to the underlying analysis? It could have been 30 minutes late to watching the NBA finals. The GA unnecessarily forced an extra half hour on to her total travel time.

Yes delays happen, but this was purely the fault of a gate agent making stuff up (full bins). That's the issue. Why it was a problem for PP is actually irrelevant other than to add color to the story, and yes, maybe garner some sympathy from parents who don't see their kids enough.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 9:17 am
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If OP travels frequently but not quite enough to have airline elite status, wouldn't it be in the best interest of OP to just sign up for a United credit card and get Group 2 boarding and not have to deal with bag check at the gate? This is not going to change what happened to OP's recent flight nor the injustice OP feels about having to force check the carry on.

However for people without any UA status (or status with any other airline when flying those airline), there will always be an issue of which group they will board with and if there are enough space in the overhead bins when they board.

If you fly only a few times a year and are mainly a leisure traveler, the credit card is not really necessary and the extra 30 minutes at the baggage carousel isn't typically a big deal on the larger scale. But for business travelers and time-sensitive meetings, boarding early by just having an affiliate credit card may easily be justified and may even able to write off the annual fee as a business expense. I am not pushing for credit cards in any way, but I know they are big profit centers for the airlines and they tend to push people in this direction. Perhaps indirectly forcing more passengers to bag check at the gate helps their credit card sign-up business...
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Old Jun 14, 17, 10:39 am
  #57  
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Originally Posted by LarryJ View Post
There is a lot of emphasis on quick turn times when an airplane is late inbound. I think these situations is where you'll see the agents being the most assertive with the gate-checks. Quicker turns in these situations go a long way in getting the delayed airplane back on schedule for the remainder of the day.
GAs are under increasing pressure to turn aircraft quickly. Gary Leff has been writing recently about Kirby's emphasis on D0, and how that negatively impacts the passenger experience.

There are a number of consequences of this focus, including particularly GAs (i) starting and ending boarding prior to the published times, and (ii) forcing gate checks when there is still overhead space. I find the former more frustrating than the latter (perhaps because if I'm not in Group 1, I'm not carrying on a bag).

In the big picture, these are not life-altering issues, but they add to the frustration of flying UA these days. UA can talk all it wants about improving the passenger experience, but the fact is that it is continuing to implement a series of changes and policies that make flying decidedly less pleasant and more stressful.

A less mentioned impact of the pressure being put on GAs is that it stresses them out, and makes them more likely to mistreat passengers. It's a truly vicious cycle.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 10:50 am
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It might be the OP suggesting that some sort of compensation was due or even suggested that she was looking to create an issue when this was posted:
I think that worst case situation would have worked out well in my favor if I were willing to be stubborn and miss the flight (being polite, so that I didn't seem unruly or argumentative). Now UA would have a story on its hands that "passenger was denied boarding for not checking their carry-on when plenty of space was available..." when they are already in the limelight on mistreating passengers

At which point I lost all sympathy for the gripe about missing seeing the son. Its one thing to gripe about having to check a bag....its another trying to piggyback to other recent events just to provoke the GA.

Bottom line we've all had to endure something that we didn't like when flying, whether it's a seat change (when someone else could have been moved), downgrade (when someone else should have been), having to check a bag (when there is plenty of bin space), or misconnecting (when you've arrived at the gate with seemingly plenty of time). Some agents are more aggressive than others and while it seems easy enough for people to think don't start checking bags if the bins aren't full.....then that adds time. Meaning a potential delay, meaning a potential misconnect, meaning not getting somewhere you need to be by a certain time. So what's an agent to do? Wait until there is an issue? Or proactively take a step to check bags? Furthermore the majority of the traveling public is naive and inexperienced......so people hearing "the flights "full" need to check a bag" usually will just comply. Those of us in the know, realize its seemingly used on flights that aren't actually full. But I'd rather that most agents use this scheme and get the flight out on time...than either delaying departure because there is no room for someones carryon in group 4.....or some person refusing to check a bag in the hopes that they can profit from recent UA incidents.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 14, 17 at 1:30 pm Reason: removed quote of deleted content
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Old Jun 14, 17, 11:18 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
GAs are under increasing pressure to turn aircraft quickly. Gary Leff has been writing recently about Kirby's emphasis on D0, and how that negatively impacts the passenger experience.

There are a number of consequences of this focus, including particularly GAs (i) starting and ending boarding prior to the published times, and (ii) forcing gate checks when there is still overhead space. I find the former more frustrating than the latter (perhaps because if I'm not in Group 1, I'm not carrying on a bag).

In the big picture, these are not life-altering issues, but they add to the frustration of flying UA these days. UA can talk all it wants about improving the passenger experience, but the fact is that it is continuing to implement a series of changes and policies that make flying decidedly less pleasant and more stressful.

A less mentioned impact of the pressure being put on GAs is that it stresses them out, and makes them more likely to mistreat passengers. It's a truly vicious cycle.
This is spot on. Well said
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Old Jun 14, 17, 11:22 am
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Originally Posted by wolf72 View Post
Does this airline have some sort of problem with training their staff or do they just hire morons (union fault?) or do they just enjoy fighting with passengers all day long?
Pretty much yes to all three.

Bloody joke of an airline.
I'm in complete agreement.
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