I have been flying Delta for many, many years. Heck, this year alone I have already flown over 30 individual flights on Delta Air Lines and their Skyteam partners. While I have not “seen it all” I have seen a disturbing change over the past few years that I am sure you have noticed as well. What is that? Folks bring ever larger luggage onboard and sometimes 3 or 4 carry-on items. To me this, and I see it on just about each and every flight, is a much larger problem that Delta is not addressing like the heavy handed approach to the issue of ESAs (or fake ESAs).
I have videoed many of my fellow passengers walking by me this past month and was going to make a montage of any number of mega sized bags but was having an issue blurring out personal identification on some of the bags so I will let the above bag represent the lot. One bag I saw was so massive that, turned sideways, it took up just about the entire bin on it’s own (the lady had a second bag that was also massive plus had a huge purse, backpack and winter coat). Clearly ridiculous. But who is to blame for this?
Here and there throughout Delta’s major hubs (but less so nowadays it seems) you may see one of the above size check boxes. They used to be all over the place at check-in and at gates (now more and more all you see is a big sticker near the gate agent’s desk). Years ago Delta agents would look at your bags and sometimes even ask you to test your bag that it will in fact fit inside the unit that verified your bag is compliant and will fit inside the overhead without issues on a vast majority of it’s planes. I can not even tell you the last time I saw any sized bag challenged as to if it was “size check” approved.
I asked who is to blame. My wife and I both have the same perfect Samsonite spinner bags that I have reviewed in a post here. Not only do they say they fit according to the measurements from the manufacturer but I have put them into the “size check” box itself to verify this. So as to my personal travels I am not “part of the problem”. But I am not lily white as on this very blog I have shown, for years, that if the bag will fit into the TSA x-ray machine you can bring it to the gate (unless there are sub-contracter goons blocking you like in MIA). Now in that post, and other ones like that, to be clear, I am not recommending anyone bring on-board one of these mega bags. No, I was just demonstrating a way to avoid paying hefty bag fees as Delta will, at your request, once you get your bag to the gate, check it to your final destination free of charge.
So why is this happening and what are the results? I speculate this is happening because Delta is more concerned about getting the flight out on time vs. taking the time to police each and every bag. Stopping the line again and again to force folks to check a bag when departure time is drawing near does not help one bit. To be fair I have seen, now and then, gate agents ask folks with 3 (or more) bags to condense them down to 2 (you are allowed 1 bag and 1 small personal item) but that is the exception rather than the rule.
Am I then calling for stringent gate checks of all our bags? Yes, but I get there will be negative consequences for a while. If gate agents do this will it impact the time they have to come on-board and upgrade an elite when there is an empty 1st class seat? You bet, but this rarely ever happens in 2018 anyway. 🙁 Could this mean flights are delayed in departure for a time while folks get used to the fact that their bags can not be the size of a ship’s steamer trunk? Maybe, or maybe Delta will just have to add some gate personnel for a while to enforce the standing rules.
Bottom line is this is a problem. MEGA bags is one of the reasons you hear on just about every single flight the gate agents before boarding announcing that by ZONE 2 (really group 5 fyi) they will start to force everyone to check their bags to their final destination (they could likely even start at ZONE 1 but many either pay or get a Delta AmEx card for this 4th boarding group to get their bags on-board with them). If more passengers were like me and had a bag that does fit correctly (either wheels or handles in) then more on the jet would have space for their bags.
You tell me. Do you agree that this is a major issue with Delta that they should address? Is it an even larger issue than the Emotional Support Animal issue that has recently become such a hot button topic in the news? Are you willing to suffer some short term consequences that could very well happen if Delta were to start enforcing the existing carry-on bag size rules? You tell me! – Rene