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Old 03-05-2014, 04:21 AM   #1  
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Default Carry-on crackdown: United enforces bag size

United gets tough on oversized carry-on bags, plans to eyeball luggage at security entrances | Star Tribune

Carry-on crackdown: United enforces bag size limit

NEW YORK United Airlines is getting tough on passengers with oversized carry-on bags, even sending some of them back to the ticket counter to check their luggage for a fee.

The Chicago-based airline has started a push to better enforce rules restricting the size of carry-on bags an effort that will include instructing workers at security checkpoint entrances to eyeball passengers for bags that are too big.

In recent weeks, United has rolled out new bag-sizing boxes at most airports and sent an email to frequent fliers, reminding them of the rules. An internal employee newsletter called the program a "renewed focus on carry-on compliance."

The size limits on carry-on bags have been in place for years, but airlines have enforced them inconsistently, rarely conducting anything beyond occasional spot checks.

United says its new approach will ensure that bags are reliably reviewed at the security checkpoint, in addition to the bag checks already done at gates prior to boarding.

Passengers are typically allowed one carry-on bag to fit in the overhead bin, which can be no larger than 9 inches by 14 inches by 22 inches. Fliers can also bring one personal item such as a purse or laptop bag that fits under the seat in front of them.

People flying with oversized bags can have the suitcase checked for free at the gate, a longstanding practice. But those who get halted at the entrance to security must now go back to the ticket counter and pay the airline's $25 checked-luggage fee.

Some travelers suggest the crackdown is part of a larger attempt by United to collect more fees. The airline says it's simply ensuring that compliant passengers have space left for them in the overhead bins. In recent years, the last passengers to board have routinely been forced to check their bags at the gate because overhead bins were already full.

"The stepped-up enforcement is to address the customers who complained about having bags within the size limit and weren't able to take them on the plane," United spokesman Rahsaan Johnson said. "That is solely what this is about."

It has nothing to do with revenue, Johnson said, adding that one non-compliant bag takes up the same space as two compliant ones.

But the airline is likely to benefit financially if more passengers are turned back at security.

"This new program is primarily to drive new revenue and will likely delay the boarding process even more unless better education is provided around what is and is not acceptable," said Brian Kelly, an industry watcher who writes about flying trends at ThePointsGuy.com.

But, he added, having fewer bags on board could also be good for passengers.

"I've been whacked more times than I can count by people loaded down with their life's worldly possessions," Kelly said.

United collects $638 million in checked-bag fees a year but wants to increase that figure. In a January earnings call, the airline's chief revenue officer, Jim Compton, said United hopes to collect an extra $700 million over the next four years from extras such as baggage fees and the sale of extra legroom.

Those fees have helped the airline industry return to profitability even as the price of fuel has climbed. While airfare has risen faster than inflation, it could have risen faster still without the added revenue.

Other airlines have bag sizers at checkpoints, but enforcement was sporadic at best.

American Airlines asks staff at some of its largest airports "to do an eyeball test" of carry-ons. The airline has even used tape measures to enforce polices.

Delta Air Lines puts agents near security to look for oversized carry-on bags "during peak times at hubs and larger airports." It has also improved technology to check bags faster at gates.

United is going further than other airlines. Its bag sizers have a space for bags going in overhead bins and another for those items going under the seats.

Christina Schillizzi, a frequent United flier from New Jersey, said she was shocked to see the flight crew stringently forcing people to check carry-on bags on a recent flight. They even questioned if her laptop would fit under the seat.

"Fliers were naturally annoyed" and did not want to give up their luggage, she said. "Ultimately, the less-than-friendly flight attendants won out."

United has also updated its website, telling passengers to use the new sizers to test their luggage "so you can check any bags that are too large right there in the lobby."

"You may have purchased a bag that claims to be 'official carry-on size,'" the airline cautioned. "However, this labeling can be misleading because it doesn't specifically represent United's size restrictions."

The process of getting on a plane dramatically changed in 2008, when U.S. airlines started charging extra to check a suitcase. To avoid the fee, more passengers started bringing suitcases into the airplane cabin, many of them overstuffing the bags. Suddenly there was not enough room in the overhead bins.

Airlines now sell priority boarding passes guaranteeing those who pay extra get some space in the overhead compartments. Everybody else is left jockeying for a position at the gate, hoping to get on board before the bins filled up.

Once on the plane, passengers take longer to sit down because they are trying to cram over-packed suitcases into the already overflowing bins. Airlines have been installing new, larger overhead bins, but it has not entirely solved the problem.

"It was getting out of control with how much people were bringing on board," said Michel Jacobson, a frequent United flier who works for a Washington D.C.-based trade group.

Jacobson isn't so worried about paying the $25 checked-bag fee it's waived for him as an elite member of United's frequent-flier program. Instead, he fears needing to show up at the airport earlier to check a bag he's used to bringing onboard.

When Spirit Airlines started charging passengers in 2010 to place bags in the overhead bin something only Spirit and Allegiant Air do executives said the move helped improve on-time performance. Spirit charges $5 more for carry-on bags than checked bags.

Last year, United reconfigured its gate areas to separate the people in boarding group 1 from those in group 2 and group 3 and so on. The goal was to instill some order and speed up boarding.

Then on Feb. 21, Aaron Goldberg, United's senior manager of customer experience planning, notified frequent fliers that the airline was launching "a broad communications campaign to support awareness of our carry-on baggage policy."

And for those fliers with non-compliant bags there was a link offering discounts and the ability to redeem frequent-flier miles on suitcases from Tumi, Samsonite and Hartmann.
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:37 AM   #2  
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UAL tried this back in the Shuttle days and some enterprising ****ed off lawyer sued UAL. Back then they put restrictor plates on the x-ray bag screening machines. Anything that wouldn't go through, had to be checked. The suit said the security check points had nothing to do with airline policy. That was a security/safety and FAA matter not airline policy.

Off came the restrictors. Of course that was before we charged for bags. I'm guessing we can't make money by flying people and selling tickets, we can make money by checking bags. Here we go again....
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:51 AM   #3  
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Originally Posted by bottoms up View Post
United gets tough on oversized carry-on bags, plans to eyeball luggage at security entrances | Star Tribune

Carry-on crackdown: United enforces bag size limit

NEW YORK United Airlines is getting tough on passengers with oversized carry-on bags, even sending some of them back to the ticket counter to check their luggage for a fee.

The Chicago-based airline has started a push to better enforce rules restricting the size of carry-on bags an effort that will include instructing workers at security checkpoint entrances to eyeball passengers for bags that are too big.

In recent weeks, United has rolled out new bag-sizing boxes at most airports and sent an email to frequent fliers, reminding them of the rules. An internal employee newsletter called the program a "renewed focus on carry-on compliance."

The size limits on carry-on bags have been in place for years, but airlines have enforced them inconsistently, rarely conducting anything beyond occasional spot checks.

United says its new approach will ensure that bags are reliably reviewed at the security checkpoint, in addition to the bag checks already done at gates prior to boarding.

Passengers are typically allowed one carry-on bag to fit in the overhead bin, which can be no larger than 9 inches by 14 inches by 22 inches. Fliers can also bring one personal item such as a purse or laptop bag that fits under the seat in front of them.

People flying with oversized bags can have the suitcase checked for free at the gate, a longstanding practice. But those who get halted at the entrance to security must now go back to the ticket counter and pay the airline's $25 checked-luggage fee.

Some travelers suggest the crackdown is part of a larger attempt by United to collect more fees. The airline says it's simply ensuring that compliant passengers have space left for them in the overhead bins. In recent years, the last passengers to board have routinely been forced to check their bags at the gate because overhead bins were already full.

"The stepped-up enforcement is to address the customers who complained about having bags within the size limit and weren't able to take them on the plane," United spokesman Rahsaan Johnson said. "That is solely what this is about."

It has nothing to do with revenue, Johnson said, adding that one non-compliant bag takes up the same space as two compliant ones.

But the airline is likely to benefit financially if more passengers are turned back at security.

"This new program is primarily to drive new revenue and will likely delay the boarding process even more unless better education is provided around what is and is not acceptable," said Brian Kelly, an industry watcher who writes about flying trends at ThePointsGuy.com.

But, he added, having fewer bags on board could also be good for passengers.

"I've been whacked more times than I can count by people loaded down with their life's worldly possessions," Kelly said.

United collects $638 million in checked-bag fees a year but wants to increase that figure. In a January earnings call, the airline's chief revenue officer, Jim Compton, said United hopes to collect an extra $700 million over the next four years from extras such as baggage fees and the sale of extra legroom.

Those fees have helped the airline industry return to profitability even as the price of fuel has climbed. While airfare has risen faster than inflation, it could have risen faster still without the added revenue.

Other airlines have bag sizers at checkpoints, but enforcement was sporadic at best.

American Airlines asks staff at some of its largest airports "to do an eyeball test" of carry-ons. The airline has even used tape measures to enforce polices.

Delta Air Lines puts agents near security to look for oversized carry-on bags "during peak times at hubs and larger airports." It has also improved technology to check bags faster at gates.

United is going further than other airlines. Its bag sizers have a space for bags going in overhead bins and another for those items going under the seats.

Christina Schillizzi, a frequent United flier from New Jersey, said she was shocked to see the flight crew stringently forcing people to check carry-on bags on a recent flight. They even questioned if her laptop would fit under the seat.

"Fliers were naturally annoyed" and did not want to give up their luggage, she said. "Ultimately, the less-than-friendly flight attendants won out."

United has also updated its website, telling passengers to use the new sizers to test their luggage "so you can check any bags that are too large right there in the lobby."

"You may have purchased a bag that claims to be 'official carry-on size,'" the airline cautioned. "However, this labeling can be misleading because it doesn't specifically represent United's size restrictions."

The process of getting on a plane dramatically changed in 2008, when U.S. airlines started charging extra to check a suitcase. To avoid the fee, more passengers started bringing suitcases into the airplane cabin, many of them overstuffing the bags. Suddenly there was not enough room in the overhead bins.

Airlines now sell priority boarding passes guaranteeing those who pay extra get some space in the overhead compartments. Everybody else is left jockeying for a position at the gate, hoping to get on board before the bins filled up.

Once on the plane, passengers take longer to sit down because they are trying to cram over-packed suitcases into the already overflowing bins. Airlines have been installing new, larger overhead bins, but it has not entirely solved the problem.

"It was getting out of control with how much people were bringing on board," said Michel Jacobson, a frequent United flier who works for a Washington D.C.-based trade group.

Jacobson isn't so worried about paying the $25 checked-bag fee it's waived for him as an elite member of United's frequent-flier program. Instead, he fears needing to show up at the airport earlier to check a bag he's used to bringing onboard.

When Spirit Airlines started charging passengers in 2010 to place bags in the overhead bin something only Spirit and Allegiant Air do executives said the move helped improve on-time performance. Spirit charges $5 more for carry-on bags than checked bags.

Last year, United reconfigured its gate areas to separate the people in boarding group 1 from those in group 2 and group 3 and so on. The goal was to instill some order and speed up boarding.

Then on Feb. 21, Aaron Goldberg, United's senior manager of customer experience planning, notified frequent fliers that the airline was launching "a broad communications campaign to support awareness of our carry-on baggage policy."

And for those fliers with non-compliant bags there was a link offering discounts and the ability to redeem frequent-flier miles on suitcases from Tumi, Samsonite and Hartmann.
Most interesting is most of the comments to the story are appreciative. Like one poster says, no one likes paying to check a bag and then being forced to put their purse at their feet because some other chucklehead comes with overly large carryons, coat, hat computer and something they bought at the duty free store.
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:45 PM   #4  
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Read flyertalk.com.....most frequent fliers want the size limit (and number) enforced no matter what airline they are on.
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:07 PM   #5  
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I'm all for it. There are blogs out there that help these yahoos try and get around all the rules of air travel.

Since the people want the cheapest ticket, they get what they pay for and checking a bag is extra. We tried holding out at CAL when bag fee first came out under Larry Kellner but failed miserably. People aren't smart enough to think about bags and just click the cheapest ticket.

Those who try and screw the system make it hard for those who follow the rules. I think they should take a page from Spirit, Sun Country and Allegient and charge MORE to check the bag at the gate vs the counter.
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:10 PM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myoface View Post
Read flyertalk.com.....most frequent fliers want the size limit (and number) enforced no matter what airline they are on.
Until they're the one want's the ability to store all their additional stuff.

Many of the more savvy have figured it out. Bring additional bag to gate. Wait for CSR to make announcement that if anybody wants to check an additional bag, they can NOW, FREE OF CHARGE.
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Old 03-05-2014, 02:34 PM   #7  
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Until they're the one want's the ability to store all their additional stuff.

Many of the more savvy have figured it out. Bring additional bag to gate. Wait for CSR to make announcement that if anybody wants to check an additional bag, they can NOW, FREE OF CHARGE.
Yep. See it all the time.
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Old 03-05-2014, 03:36 PM   #8  
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I'm all for it. Since they did away with most of the closets there's hardly any room for my bags when I commute. Those pesky passengers want to take up all the overhead space.

Oh and this is nothing new. We used to have bag size checks at each gate and required passengers to check if it exceeded the frame. From a man power position most people carry their stuff to the gate these days and check it there. This causes a need to have manpower available to grab the bags, slide them down the jetway hand carry them to the pits or cargo pod.

Another issue I noticed are those passengers who are coming off an RJ. They expect their bags to be delivered to the gate on arrival rather than the terminal.

Oh well it never ends.
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:28 AM   #9  
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This is a positive for frequent flyers. They board late due to a couple beverages or late transportation and the low priced tickets who brought way more bags than they were allowed all of a sudden jam packs the overhead. Frequent flyer now gets to gate check his bag, delaying the flight possibly. That ****es off people, making the flight attendants unhappy who in turn let us know about their unhappiness.
Or, gate checking and extra bags slow things down enough it possibly messes up connections, so we fly faster burning more fuel hurting the bottom line. If people do happen to miss their connection all of a sudden we might be paying for meal vouchers and hotel rooms and rebooking flights.

Several airlines are already enforcing this carry on baggage policy, charging for it, and if people don't comply they are charged at the gate. Pay or don't go. Follow the policy or don't go.

This is hopefully some job security, making money on the fees and saving money on less weight and hopefully better on time. and it will open overheads.
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:27 AM   #10  
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United's $638million in checked baggage fees probably could've been collected with $3 or $4 more on price of every ticket, saving all the frustration and bad feelings... making it seamless like Southwest does...... but that's how companies that forget they're in a transportation service business behave.
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