New Idea: No More Carry-On Bags.
We all agree that flying isn’t fun anymore. Cramped seating, crowded planes, extra fees … and the dreaded “boarding process” that now takes close to an hour even for routine domestic flights and 90-minutes or more for international flights. Well, a new idea to make things a little better is being floated: mandatory checking of carry-on luggage.
Wow! A radical idea, all right, but it deserves some consideration.
Under this scheme, you would only b e permitted to carry small stuff onto the plane: an overcoat or some snacks or a briefcase with a laptop, or extra diapers for your baby. In other words, items that fit under your seat or could easily be stashed in the overhead bin so you can get to them easily if you need access during the flight. No more suitcases that are too big to fit “wheels in” which means they take up twice the space in the bin.
The idea has merit. For one thing, the estimate is that it would reduce boarding time by some 70 percent. For another, there would be plenty of space for all the small items in the overhead bins. Of course, the airlines would have to modify their checked baggage fees … I mean, they could hardly require that all bags be checked, then slap a $25 fee on the first bag.
I do see some kinks to be worked out, though. I’m always nervous when I have a connecting flight and I’ve checked a bag. And if I have to change airlines, that would often mean I should be allowing extra time between flights.
(By the way, I travel light, but when I know I’m going to check my bag, I set aside any items I couldn’t do without for a day or two. Whatever they are—medications, for example—I make sure they’re in a small bag I can carry onto the plane.)
I really don’t know if there is a serious movement toward this check-all-luggage idea, but I’d certainly be willing to give it a try. Anything to make flying less of an ordeal.
Frankly, in the golden age of jets, 1959-1973, nobody would dare bring aboard a flight anything more than a purse, attache, or camera bag. Forget that they were not dressed like field hands as most travelers are today, but rather, the airlines were quite efficient in unloading baggage; so, by the time you arrived at the carousel, your bags were waiting for you.
As the airlines have figured out how to do a 180 and provide nothing free, when do their efficiency experts get that long-awaited epiphany–no more suitcases, rollers, golf bags, or kitchen sinks onboard? Now that they figured out how to speed-up boarding by zones, just think how much faster boarding/exiting would become without passengers struggling to stuff the overhead bins, or, to pull down their gear upon arrival? It would also be much safer re inclement weather, incidents, TSA screening, etc.
BTW-if Congress is indeed to serve the people, why has it not elected to tax the $6+ Billion in ancillary fees charged by airlines for luggage, seats, etc? Why should that all go to the airline profit center, instead of contributing to our overall infrastructure bank?
I think a similar, but better idea is simply for every airline all the time to rigorously enforce the size limits. Then you could bring on a small bag, but people couldn’t carry on huge bags like they routinely do. When we flew Air New Zealand they had a great policy – the first checked bag is free for everyone. However, as you entered the security area EVERY bag you had with you was put on a scale. If it weighed more than 7.5 kilos (about 15 lbs) you had to go back and check it. It meant that there was plenty of overhead space on the plane and you didn’t have to have lots of stuff at your feet for the 12 hour flight. Air New Zealand does some things very badly (10 across on a 777!), but this part they did right.