United Airlines staffer pretends bag is too big for carry on

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/03/14/united-airlines-staffer-preten.html


United’s Luggage Nazis.

I’ve noticed on nearly every flight I’ve taken (United or not) that they seem obsessed with the overhead compartment space. So obsessed that I witnessed an employee make a young girl cry because she was afraid she’d have to gatecheck her violin (she was presumably on her way to an important event involving said violin) after they made alarmist statements about running out of overhead space. When I got on the plane I did a rough count of how many bags fit above each row of seats and it seems to me if everyone has one carry on then there should be room for each person’s bag (however the way the employees act that doesn’t seem to be what they think). And for this flight a cursory glance made it fairly clear that the alarm created by the airline employees was not justified, there was plenty of room for everyone’s carry on and definitely room for a violin.

Does anyone know if there’s some other reason (aside from the oft used, but seemingly false, excuse that there is not enough room) that airlines seem to pressure people to gate check carry on items?




When was this?


That’s the kind of behavior I would expect from a state-owned company on some forgotten dictatorship-country.
What the hell?


On the few US flights I’ve been on recently, most of the people in coach were pulling the largest bag allowable in the overhead, carrying a briefcase or laptop bag, and in the case of women a large purse. On boarding the plane a large minority of passengers immediately put both bags (and sometimes the purse) in the overhead along with (in winter) their folded up coats and jackets. Thus, not enough room.


Airlines have ceased to view baggage carrying as part of the service of getting passengers to their locations and now view it as a revenue stream. Every bag you check represents space they can’t sell to shipping carriers. So they charge passengers for the privilege of bringing bags with them, which leads people to push the boundaries of carry-ons, which leads to scarcity of carry-on locations and this kind of bullshit. Everything comes back to not respecting the customers and not treating their needs as important.


My “I hate airlines” story:

Having had no sleep I was getting on early morning flight with my wife from Melbourne to New Zealand on Air New Zealand. One large bag was too heavy. Ok, fine. But we also each had two bags to go on the plane with us - one for under the seat and one overhead. Everyone at the baggage counter insisted that there was no overhead storage on the plane. Haven’t I ever been on a plane? No one takes two items on the plane! Much arguing ensued. Stuffing bags into bags and repacking in the midst of everyone. We get on the plane. There’s overhead bins.


They basically operated like a state-owned business, because they government bailed them out so many times. They learned that they could be huge assholes and stay in business because taxpayers would be forced to keep them afloat.


I mean…I don’t know about “slides with ease”. She did kind of have to cram it in there.


Give it time


At least there wasn’t a puppy in the bag…


Sounds legit.

Oh wait … (Important part at 1:45, includes United)

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I doff my cap to you. Black humor, indeed!

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Sure that is likely often the case though in my opinion the only people who should be required to gate check would be those people pushing the boundaries of number of carry ons and carry on size. My annoyance is at the fact that airline employees, instead of focusing on those people, seem to just create alarm about lack of room for everyone without any proof or signs that there actually will be a lack of room thereby making young people cry and generally stressing everyone out instead of just those who are cheating.


Too soon. Too soon.

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I’m reminded of the beginning of Moonlighting (1982 film, not the TV series) in which the main characters are leaving Poland. The gate agent at the airport makes a stern, perfunctory boarding announcement in Polish, then switches to a mellifluous, courteous tone when she repeats it in English.


This has not been my experience, but we may be thinking about different aircraft. The planes I’m familiar with (mostly 737s of various flavor and A320s) seem to only have space for about 2/3 of passengers to bring an ever-shrinking “standard” bag.


Those testing compartments are rigged to begin with. I have a regulation-size Travelpro rollaboard (the kind flight crews use) that never quite fits when packed with a regular or light load, despite the dimensions supposedly being the ones of my bag.