Fighting for overhead bin space is just one of the many challenges travelers face today. Planes are more full, seats are smaller and tempers are shorter. The airlines continue to try to find ways to solve these issues while also causing some of those same problems.
The advent of checked baggage fees is a huge contributor to the number of bags carried on to flights today. As a business traveler, I always carried my bag on. But, before there were checked bag fees plenty of folks were happy to check their luggage and pick it up from baggage claim when they arrived at their destination.
If you’ve traveled at any point in the last few years, you’ve probably heard the following announcement at a gate while waiting to board your flight, “This is a completely full flight. We will run out of overhead bin space. We need 5-10 volunteers to check their bag for free to their final destination.”
I’m always a little bit amazed when I see a few people wander up to the counter and offer to check their bag. I’d really rather have someone kick me in the shins than give up my carry-on. Making sure I can find an overhead bin for my bag is really the most significant reason I board a flight early. Occasionally, if a gate area is full I’ll want to board the flight so I can sit and do some work. But, the only reason I really need to be on a plane early is to make sure my bag finds a spot.
When I was boarding my flight home earlier today, the United gate agent made the following announcement, “This is a completely full flight. We will run out of overhead bin space. If you volunteer to check your bag to your final destination, you’ll be allowed to board with Group 2 instead of your designated boarding group.”
That’s actually more of a tax to me. The seats at the gate are generally more comfortable than any coach seat on a plane. Standing in line in the aisle waiting for people to find a spot for their bag in the overhead? Getting up to let someone into the window or middle seat when I have an aisle seat? Um, no thanks.
I applaud United for trying to figure out innovative ways to convince folks to deal with their carry-on before it delays the departure of their flight. But, please don’t board early if you don’t need to. That’s like kicking yourself in your own shins.
The post United Airlines Gets The Incentive Wrong For Checking Your Bag At The Gate was published first on Pizza in Motion