Carry-on crackdown: travellers support ban on oversized cabin bags

By Chris Chamberlin, March 27 2014

Are you frustrated when your fellow passengers insist on bringing oversized carry-on bags onto the plane and cramming them into the overhead locker?

You're not alone. Almost half of all travellers feel that people bring too much stuff on board.

However, there's also a strong belief that airlines are partly to blame for the 'kitchen sink syndrome'.

Just over 50% believe that if airlines lowered their fees for additional checked luggage, travellers would be less likely to treat everything as carry-on.

US-based research firm YouGov polled 1,172 travellers in the wake of United Airlines' crackdown on the size of carry-on bags on US domestic and Canadian routes.

The airline is sternly enforcing cabin baggage limits, with all passengers now required to show that their bag is smaller than the maximum allowance.

Yet the response to United's move is mixed, with 37% of all travellers surveyed – and 45% of those who are members of frequent flyer schemes – suspecting United's motive in rejecting oversized cabin baggage is to rake in more revenue from checked baggage fees.

United charges $25 per checked bag on domestic and Canadian flights (jumping to $35 for the second bag), further encouraging travellers to cram as much into their rollaboards as humanly possible. 

Interestingly, a quarter of all those surveyed – and almost a third of frequent flyers – were reluctant to check luggage in the first place, owing to theft in airports or mishandled baggage.

Over to you: would you support a crackdown by Qantas and Virgin Australia on oversized carry-on bags?

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

QantasFF Platinum

16 Feb 2012

Total posts 153

Very interesting article, however it's very rare to see carry-on being taken off the plane. There is normally room to stow lugguage somewhere in the overhead lockers.

If the study was only done on US-based flights, its hard to apply the results to Australian airlines. Note that Jet-bridge bag drop for carry-on lugguage is very common option in the US, where you can wait in the jet-bridge at the destination and collect baggage. This especially applies for pencil jets (which are very common, and we dont have any in Australia), where normal roll-on cases only fit down 1-side of the overhead lockers.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

>Very interesting article, however it's very rare to see carry-on being taken off the plane. There is normally room to stow lugguagesomewhere in the overhead lockers.

Incredibly common in the US, incredibly uncommon in Australia. Lazy reporting to pick up survey results from one country and stick 'em in another without considering the differences.

The oversized-baggage problem is way out of control in the US. It's the reason that United somehow takes 40 minutes to get everyone on board a 737 while VA can comfortably do it in about ten.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Mar 2014

Total posts 73

With the jetbridge drop are the bags all loaded in 1 at a time or are they in those funny shaped metal boxes? Come to think of it, what happens here for domestic flights? Ah, I cant even think if the boxes are used here?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards (Plat)

03 Jan 2012

Total posts 10

It's getting a bit better with the introduction of the Sky Interior etc.

In my very unscientific experience I often find it is the more frequent fliers (golds and plats) who are most inclined to take the biggest cabin baggage possible. I sometimes contribute to the problem, although never oversize, so not at all having a go!

My solution to the problem is not hanging around in the lounge. Presuming your flight is operating on time give yourself time to get to the gate BEFORE boarding starts. That way you can be among the first on board and put your bag exactly where you want it.

I'm on my second year as a velocity platinum and I've only ever had my cabin baggage weighed/checked ONCE. Definitely room for more here!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 303

Priority boarding, in my opinion, is one of the biggest perks of Gold/Platinum membership. It lets you get on the plane faster and have access to more locker space.

VA

17 Dec 2013

Total posts 51

My pet hate is people who take too much onboard. Besides cluttering the onboard lockers, they slow the boarding and unloading process as they buggerise around with their Samsonite suitcase. It's like standing to the right on the escalator - it's just deeply deeply irritating.

If you want to buy a cheap ticket with a baggage allowance, you need to be prepared to travel light.

If you're going away for a fortnight, you need to be prepared to check a bag in.

I'd love it if the airlines and the FAs here cracked down on carry on. And if I was Alan J or John B, I'd be sending the bags I collected at the boarding gate onto the carasoul at the other end stone cold last.

And that's my carry on rant over. I feel better now

 

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

There is yet another reason why I like carry everything with me - when disembarking I will not wait at carousel. My record for international flight in Melbourne is just 15 min from plane touch tarmac to me exit from airport. However I am full supporter for vigorous reinforcement of carry on rules.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

Agreed. I'm a carry-on socialist - stick to the limit (which is equal for everyone in the same cabin) or you're an enemy of the people.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Mar 2014

Total posts 73

Hey Watto

Like you I only ever carry on, except for YVR - LAX - SYD - BNE last September when I had to put a box beneath due to liquids and QF or AS lost it. These things happen but there was a 6 pack of steam whistle pilsner in there from Toronto, angry face!

In 2012 I went RTW for 5 weeks (leisure) including a wedding in a Lithuanian summer followed by the Inca Trail in July at 4000m above. All this with a 36 litre North Face bag that looks like a normal school kids port. Clothes for the wedding, buy them there, hiking boots and clothes, buy them there, sorted!  :)

The amount I see people drag on these days is getting crazy.

A couple of points about the article though is that people say they would carry on less if bag fees were cheaper. That's fine, it is now $9 a bag at the airport instead of $25 but remember that $180 fare you bought three months ago? Well if you want our lower bag fees that fare would have been $199 (price gouge of $3 you see). Just more pennywise pound stupidity from the flying poor but I've ranted about this before.

Finally I am fine with the enforced rules providing the airlines dont make their maximum size 1 cm each way smaller than standard size small wheelies across many major manufacturers. That would be a little rude. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

lol @ watto

Actually, while I look up and stick to the limits for baggage, I don't normally go hand-luggage-only on international runs, unless it's mission-critical. It's still easier to check-in my roller, even though it's perfectly carry-on suitable on international flights.

Domestically, I try and fit everything into a backpack. I usually succeed. Internationally, I self-enforce a limit of that backpack and one 115cm roller (irrespective of whether I check it in or roll it on board).

It works. It also means that I can laugh at the people carrying 20 shipping crates and a dropship.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Mar 2014

Total posts 73

Last May when I did BNE - LAX  I spotted 2 Gold Coast lads in the lounge who were on QF15 with me but then connecting to Cancun and, scouts honour, they were each carrying on their own made in China Sombrero's. Enough said!

Yeah fair enough about check-in for internationals, you're doing the right thing even though you could take it on. Yes those shipping crates are beyond a joke and people dont seem to care.

Also, new international rule for waiting for luggage on arrival. No carts permitted within 5 feet of carousel perimiter. WHEN and ONLY WHEN you see you bag on the belt you may simply walk up, collect it, then walk back and place it on your cart. No sooner, no later. Easy. Why is there always a New Delhi traffic jam of carts and people with the challenge of who can stick their heads out further than the people in front of them to try and identify a red, blue or black case from 50 metres away? It will be about 35 minutes until it gets here anyway so just be patient. Christ!

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

LOL RE: carousel! I never can get why all people standing at first 5 meters of carousel while rest 50 is free. Is that 30-40 seconds that matter?

wilsoni Banned
wilsoni Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Sep 2011

Total posts 321

We have kiosks and bag drops to speed the travel process. Now another roadblock is being put up: carry-on verification. Just ban anything with wheels from the cabin.  That should sort out the weight issue too. Check it, pay the tariff and get over it. "I don't wait at the carousel" is as offensive as it is selfish.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

It's hardly offensive and selfish if you pack light and do it right. I think it's a bit rich to ban wheels - there are backpacks like the Cane Toad which are friggin' massive, far bigger than a domestic rollaboard so how does your standard stack up?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Mar 2014

Total posts 73

There's only 3 things you need when you travel, togz, toothbrush and stubbie opener!

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

You really fan of European beer, don’t you? :-)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Mar 2014

Total posts 73

Why not do the carry on verification at the bag drop and not the boarding gate? This would streamline the process wouldn't it and  if they are trying to get away with carry on only, airline staff stand before security queues to check suspect sizes and send them back to the kiosk to check it. Therefore nothing oversize should get past the security point.

I also don't wait at the carousel because my bag fits well inside the permitted space, including for international travel.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

Agreed. Carry-on inspection is done at check-in with AirAsia on regional flights.

JBH
JBH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2012

Total posts 118

Here in SIN they do that very well - you may notice they have 'baggage inspectors' dressed indescript black uniforms usually located circling (mostly LCC) check-in desks watching pax drop check-in bags and then follow/intercept those who they think are taking more/bigger luggage toward the immigration entrances, I have seen countless pax hauled to their desk and had luggage weighed and then check-in by them. Seems to effectively stop the probelm at source long before it becomes a 'on board' or at 'the gate' issue.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Mar 2014

Total posts 73

JBH

I don't see why that SIN policy couldn't work here, for example if QF announces tomorrow that "From 1 JUL 14 all carry on weight and domentions will need to be strictly adhered to" I would say that would be fair. Plenty of warning and people have really been getting away with too much too often. Also it wouldn't even be taking anything away as the rules already exist.  

In a way, the fact that passengers have been permitted to take larger and larger bags has actually been good customer service by airlines (believe it or not). However after so many "Oh, that's fine" we are now seeing these monsters that people purchase knowing they're too big to begin with.

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

IMHO it should be done at boarding gate only. Smart asses give their bags to relative/friends while registering or remove heavy stuff from “carry on” baggage. It must be done just before boarding.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Mar 2014

Total posts 73

Ah I see, I was thinking International where it would be one piece per passenger, essentially. You're a clever one Serg, I wouldn't have thought of that.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

21 Aug 2013

Total posts 130

It's definitely common in the US - occasionally happens on AA. AS is particularly bad, with my last flight on them three months ago taking an extra 35 mins more than it had to, simply because too many d***s had stowed too much of their carry-on s*** leaving no room left AT ALL for half a dozen pax who then had their baggage offloaded & checked-in instead. Could have all been avoided by a quick check prior to boarding.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2014

Total posts 33

This article is a little bit inaccurate in its reporting on the statistics.

Personally I would support a crackdown... but let's not kid ourselves, there is no "crackdown", it's simply enforcing the rules.

The climate is very different here in Australia for sure. As mentioned, the predominant reason for not checking in bags is "time wasted at baggage claim" (be it a superficial reason or not). It's not really a case of checked bag fees, unless one regularly carries excessive baggage, or for Virgin where non-status customers on the cheap fares must stump up dosh for a bag.

VIRGIN VELOCITY

03 Dec 2013

Total posts 7

Yes please stop people taking heaps of carry on. I take a very small amount. If I am on early then my small amount gets squashed by some-one elses huge heavy bag. If I board later there is no room. Australia used to be very strict about carry on but now it is a free for all and very unfair to those who do the right thing. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jan 2014

Total posts 2

Yes, baggage allowances should be enforced. I travel fortnightly Syd-Bris or Syd Melb return and am amazed at what people bring on board. Even more ridiculous when you see someone trying to stuff a bag in an overhead locker when it is clear to everyone that its not gonna fit.

I travel with a messenger bag only and it irritates the tripe out of me when someone moves it some distance to fit their own humungous bag in. On most flights the FA's are now also baggage handlers playing "musical bags"

03 Mar 2012

Total posts 15

One has to wonder why VA has 7kg carry-on allowance and JQ has 10kg allowance. This disparity only causes pax to try and cram more into their carry-on if they switch between airlines. Yes, the problem of over-size luggage has been around since I first started working in the airline industry in 1975. Luggage lockers have gotten bigger encouraging people to take on bigger gates. Only solution is to have staff roaming departure lounges and sending people back to check-in. I must say $35 for a check-in bag on VA is certainly a disincentive. The price should be according to how many times the bag has to be handled; 2 or 3 legs should cost more than a non-stop flight.

I dislike people bringing the kitchen sink on board, I say bring back the outdoor stairs and force them to carry the bag up and down 100 stairs, as occurs on a regular basis in China when you fly on Air China.

On the other hand, charging passengaes to check in bags does encourage people to bring that annoying kitchen sink on the plane. At least no-one brings a chicken in cage on board in the US, as sometimes occurs in china.  

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Aug 2012

Total posts 11

Agree to all but not the comment saying and gold and plats carry the most im  my experience.  

As a gold Velocity for 7 years it is usually those trying to save $ that scam the system. Lower the fee and they would make more money. But.....Sadly, they often get away with it as the attendant catches them but takes it elsewhere. I have only seen 2 or 3 be sent to the hold.

And yes MEGA backpacks that fit under seat but jam under legs are the worst.

Enforce it, but enforce the phones, labtops and seatbelt rules as well as they all add up to delays whilst some w#$ker thinks HIS call is worth holding up 200 people.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Aug 2012

Total posts 11

Agree to all but not the comment saying and gold and plats carry the most im  my experience.  

As a gold Velocity for 7 years it is usually those trying to save $ that scam the system. Lower the fee and they would make more money. But.....Sadly, they often get away with it as the attendant catches them but takes it elsewhere. I have only seen 2 or 3 be sent to the hold.

And yes MEGA backpacks that fit under seat but jam under legs are the worst.

Enforce it, but enforce the phones, labtops and seatbelt rules as well as they all add up to delays whilst some w#$ker thinks HIS call is worth holding up 200 people.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Feb 2011

Total posts 54

Yes 80% of all Qantas Flights from Perth to Karratha, Newman & Port Hedland sees more than 50% of the customers carrying on over sized bags and or 1 bag more than allowed and back of the bus riders try filling up Business Class lockers as they walk down the back, Business Class lockers are now 50% full of crew baggage or other non passenger items. The trick is that carry on baggage needs to increase as waiting for baggage in the hold is a nightmare. Increasing the overhead lockers space by knocking out middle seat passengers is one option allowing the other two passengers in that row to pay a higher fare for the added space both in seating and overhead locker space.


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