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

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

Old Jun 13, 17, 5:51 pm
  #1  
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Angry Forced to Check Carry-On Baggage when Plenty of Space On-Board

I'm livid right now due to missing seeing my son tonight because of a gate agent who decided to start making everyone check their carry-on bags after group 3. When I got on board, half the bins and spaces were empty, accommodating easily another 20-30 people.

I asked the FA if I could go get my bag and she said I could. I went back up and my bag was still there. Once a bag tag is printed, the desk agent needs to delete the record. I asked if she would do that because I checked with the FA and there was plenty of space. She refused.

Now this is a 1st world problem, but something is wrong when an airline charges you for the option to check your bag initially, then forces you to check your bag in order to board the flight even when there is plenty of space available!

[The agent] mentioned this would delay the flight - but little did she care that she just delayed several others and myself by the 20+ minutes to collect your bag at this airport.

I have seen other gates and FAs communicate as the bins fill up - warning the gate agent when spaces were getting full. [The agent] clearly did not do this, and just made the arbitrary decision to stop after group 3.

What recourse do we have in this situation? I wanted to refuse to give up my bag, but then I was going to be denied boarding.

My main concern is that UA would operate in this way, and have a rude desk agent (she wouldn't even answer a question, just repeated "your bags will be in..."). It's a racket if a company charges you for X, then forces you to do X when it's not necessary.

Icing would be getting compensation for the wasted time, and forced separation from my bag when it was not necessary.
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Last edited by alchemista; Jun 14, 17 at 6:17 pm
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Old Jun 13, 17, 5:58 pm
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City pairs and airplane type? Weight and balance issues sometimes force bags to be checked into the cargo hold.


SL
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Old Jun 13, 17, 6:00 pm
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Originally Posted by SunLover View Post
City pairs and airplane type? Weight and balance issues sometimes force bags to be checked into the cargo hold.


SL
MSN-DEN
A319
plenty of space, no weight issue mentioned - only the lack of bin space by the desk agent and auto-check for boarding group 4.
plane was full so balance not an issue either.
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Old Jun 13, 17, 6:05 pm
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This is an increasing problem on UA flights. The GAs are under extreme pressure to get the flight out on time, and forcing pax to gate-check bags speeds that process.

It was mentioned earlier that they are now using an algorithm to "predict" when the bins will be full. Don't know if that was in play on your flight.
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Old Jun 13, 17, 6:10 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
This is an increasing problem on UA flights. The GAs are under extreme pressure to get the flight out on time, and forcing pax to gate-check bags speeds that process.

It was mentioned earlier that they are now using an algorithm to "predict" when the bins will be full. Don't know if that was in play on your flight.
I doubt their algorithm is "everyone after group 3". I've seen plenty of flights where the gate agent is talking to the FA on the phone and communicating space status.

It must break some regulation when you force passengers to separate from their bags unnecessarily.

I am not sure the best way to file a complaint here or what I should request.
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Old Jun 13, 17, 6:11 pm
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At IAH this afternoon I passed a gate where the GA made the PA before boarding was underway that if you were in groups 4 or 5 you "MUST check your bag at the podium immediately" repeating herself and then adding that they "only had 20 minutes to get this flight it, so everyone in groups 4 or 5 MUST check any bags to ensure this happens."


​​​​​​Much more draconian tone than the usual "we're looking for a few volunteers..." And I thought in this post BE era group 5 wasn't even allowed to bring a full size bag on board...
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Old Jun 13, 17, 6:13 pm
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Originally Posted by lincolnjkc View Post
At IAH this afternoon I passed a gate where the GA made the PA before boarding was underway that if you were in groups 4 or 5 you "MUST check your bag at the podium immediately" repeating herself and then adding that they "only had 20 minutes to get this flight it, so everyone in groups 4 or 5 MUST check any bags to ensure this happens."


​​​​​​Much more draconian tone than the usual "we're looking for a few volunteers..." And I thought in this post BE era group 5 wasn't even allowed to bring a full size bag on board...
ok so is this a change in operational procedures? Because if so, I think UA is opening itself up to some claims if they are going to take such a stupid position as this.

I posted just a few pics of more. I also took pics of the group 5 boarders (I think those are BE now) putting their bags up in the bins after I sat down!
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Old Jun 13, 17, 6:17 pm
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Originally Posted by alchemista View Post
It must break some regulation when you force passengers to separate from their bags unnecessarily.
Nope.
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Old Jun 13, 17, 6:18 pm
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Originally Posted by alchemista View Post
I posted just a few pics of more. I also took pics of the group 5 boarders (I think those are BE now) putting their bags up in the bins after I sat down!
Boarding with Group 5 doesn't mean they're Group 5. Could be the type (like my wife) that wants to wait until the last minute to board, or people with status that are late connecting.
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Old Jun 13, 17, 6:28 pm
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Some people definitely just find that the white tags aren't well attached and just fall off in the jetway. ymmv as to whether this is a "solution" per se, but "there is no space/flight is completely full" is a lie as old as the hills. 90-95% of my flights are "completely full".
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Old Jun 13, 17, 6:53 pm
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My 2 cents.

1. I don't believe that MSN is stationed by UA employees, but contracted staffs. FWIW - those contract staffs tend to do stuffs that are not aligned with UA's policy.

2. OP did not mention where he/she was seated. Although not conclusive, one could argue that the bins within E+ section are reserved for E+ passengers only (given the signs).

3. OP's complaint is based on an unnecessary gate check. What if the gate check is necessary? Would OP make a similar complaint for lack of bin spaces?
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Old Jun 13, 17, 7:01 pm
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
My 2 cents.

1. I don't believe that MSN is stationed by UA employees, but contracted staffs. FWIW - those contract staffs tend to do stuffs that are not aligned with UA's policy.

2. OP did not mention where he/she was seated. Although not conclusive, one could argue that the bins within E+ section are reserved for E+ passengers only (given the signs).

3. OP's complaint is based on an unnecessary gate check. What if the gate check is necessary? Would OP make a similar complaint for lack of bin spaces?
2. In economy, and you can see from the photos there were plenty of bins available over the economy section.

3. No, if it was necessary I would not be pissed off - annoyed yes, but understandable when there really isn't space. When there is half the bins empty, and it means missing my kid tonight, I'm pissed off. Such a stupid decision, and complete unfairness by the desk gate to not allow me to get my bag back after I talked with the FA and saw there was so much space.

Regarding "losing" the bag tag, I would have done this but the desk agent kept the bags by her and clearly would have seen me take it. When I came back up the ramp, the bag was already in the cage to load down with a worker by it. I asked her for my bag, but she carried it herself up to the desk agent so I couldn't just take it from her (because of the rule that the bag tag must be deleted once printed).
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Old Jun 13, 17, 7:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Nope.
source of your assertion?
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Old Jun 13, 17, 7:06 pm
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Originally Posted by alchemista View Post
I'm livid right now due to missing seeing my son tonight because of a gate agent (Vicki W.) who decided to start making everyone check their carry-on bags after group 3. When I got on board, half the bins and spaces were empty, accommodating easily another 20-30 people.
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?
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Old Jun 13, 17, 7:15 pm
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Originally Posted by SunLover View Post
City pairs and airplane type? Weight and balance issues sometimes force bags to be checked into the cargo hold.


SL
Generally the bag doesn't "weigh" anything when brought in the cabin. It's weight is only accounted for when checked at the ticket counter or in the jetway. The logic behind this is aircraft on which carry on bags are allowed in the cabin utilize a slightly higher average weight per passenger when calculating the weight and balance, regardless of if passengers have a carry on bag or not. For aircraft that do not have a carry on bag program (EMB-145, CRJ-200 for example) those aircraft have a lower average passenger weight and as such, every bag that is larger than a personal item must be checked and the weight for those bags accounted for.
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