This is your captain speaking: Check those bags!

Friday, 18 March 2016 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

With March break in full swing and airports busier than ever, I thought it a good time to raise a travel issue that’s been gurgling for some time. And on my flight yesterday, delayed almost 45 minutes because people don’t listen, I can see it’s reaching a breaking point and something needs to be done.

I’m talking about carry on bags. Many passengers prefer to carry on as opposed to checking luggage for various reasons: fear of lost bags, wanting to avoid an extra charge to check or, hey, there’s no need because you’re traveling light, right? But that’s just it, a lot of you aren’t and you’re taking up more than your allotted space on the aircraft and slowing down the whole damn process. It is so inconsiderate.

Just because you have kids, does that entitle you to a lot of extra space in the overhead compartments? I don’t have a kid, and I get that there’s some extra stuff you need, but I see a lot of parents pushing the boundary, hauling multiple huge and overstuffed bags. (As in, more than the allowed amount for themselves and each of their darling children.) How many iPads, toys, snacks, diapers, bottles and, what, breast pumps, do you need or a four hour flight? And it’s not just parents. Please take note, on Air Canada you’re allowed ONE carry on that measures up to 23 by 40 by 55 centimetres and ONE personal item, like a purse or a briefcase that measures up to 16 by 33 by 43 centimetres.

I know everyone is crazy busy. (Isn’t that a badge of honour nowadays? I blame hours lost to Facebook.) But please take the time to check the type of aircraft you’ll be boarding and be sure that your “carry on” will fit under that seat in front of you or overhead. Because when it doesn’t and it has to then be checked it holds the rest of us up.

And when you’re boarding in zone 5 and you arrive to find the space above your seat is already full, please seek out the owner of any belongings you are about to reorganize before doing so. On yesterday’s flight another passenger kindly did so rather than plopping his heavy carry on atop my laptop case. But then he asked if it was ok if he just squished my Prada purse into the tiny sliver of space leftover. Um, no. That’s Prada. And it was there first. Plus my homemade chicken sandwich is inside!

Oftentimes the airline employees at the gate are also to blame as they don’t consistently check the size of bags people are dragging on. Last June Air Canada promised a crack down on carry on bags, but if yesterday’s flight is any indication that crack down didn’t last long.

We can bitch and complain all we want about high density aircrafts and shrinking seats and storage space, but until we all refuse to fly, the responsibility to fly by the rules will begin with us as passengers. I actually think airlines should charge for any carryon beyond a purse or briefcase and ease up on the checked bags fees.

Or I know, just include all bag fees in the price of the ticket to begin with. It might speed up the whole process and we’d all arrive a little sooner and little more sane.

Safe and on time arrivals to all this March break.



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  • BrainofMorbius

    I hear you! I’m probably just being paranoid, but I often wonder what the actual effect on the plane itself is with all this extra carry on baggage in violation of the limits (as much a problem in the US as in Canada), along with the fact that so many people are over-weight these days…? On a trip to Australia (14 & 1/2 hour flight from L.A.) the plane had just barely enough fuel to get there – traveling at its maximum range. Physics is physics, and the more weight you carry in flight the more fuel you expend. At some point you cross a line… I don’t want to be fighting off sharks in the Pacific because of a “water landing”, due to a planeload of insecure people who felt they had to bring their house with them when they left the house, to feel comfortable…

  • BabyFish Mouth

    “just include all bag fees in the price of the ticket to begin with”.
    No. I can take everything I need for a trip of any duration in a bag that strictly complies with the airline’s carry-on limits. I have no need, or desire, to check a bag. “Including” the bag fee in the ticket price means I am paying for a service that I don’t need or want. It’s like airline meals – I don’t want one, people who do want one can pay for one.