Travel Related

Check This: Is Carry-On Luggage Doomed? One Writer Seems to Think So

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr
Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Those of us who don’t check bags (unless necessary) and prefer to use only carry-on luggage might be in for a rude surprise.

The Atlantic‘s James A. Fallows wrote a bummer of a post titled “Air Travel Is Going to Be Very Bad, for a Very Long Time.” (Don’t read it if you’re having an especially rough day.)

Mr. Fallows (who also co-authored the travel book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America) interviewed a number of travel industry professionals such as pilots, economists, and aviation analysts.

There are several predictions in the post: when air travel will return to “normal” as we knew (“never” said one person), will US airports install temperature check machines (yes), and several others.

One that caught my eye dealt with luggage.

Everything will be slower.

If you check baggage, the handles may need to be wiped before staff members touch them.

If you don’t think you’ll be checking baggage, think again: The airlines will likely crack down further on carry-on items, which potentially come into contact with other passengers.

 

Now, perhaps I took this too literally. But how often do carry-on items actually touch other passengers?

I don’t rub my Travelpro suitcase or backpack on anyone. (“Hey! You don’t mind if I slide my rollaboard up and down your back while we wait, do you?” So weird.)

 

Nor do I touch anyone else’s property (unless they request help — which is sometimes asked of us taller people 🙂 ).

Amazon sale: Travelpro Luggage Crew 11 21" Carry-on Expandable Spinner w/Suiter and USB Port

About the only other times people might touch other passengers’ luggage is when trying to shift items around in an overhead bin to make more room.

Why I Don’t Check Luggage Unless Absolutely Necessary

Unless I really need to, I don’t check bags. I prefer to carry on.

Many of my trips last only 2-4 days. So bringing a big suitcase is a waste of time.

Plus, most of us know all too well that travel plans can change when we’re actually traveling. Having all my belongings ensures I’m not separated from my luggage.

Finally, gate agents generally favor passengers with carry-on luggage when it comes to voluntarily denied boarding (or “bumps”). Though I’m guessing #bumpertunities might not come back for a long, long, long time.

Is There an Upside to Airlines Reducing Carry-ons?

Keep in mind that Mr. Fallows is merely speculating what might happen and nothing has been announced.

But he brings up a couple of interesting points:

On the bright side, less carry-on baggage will reduce the rugby-scrum nature of the boarding process.

It will also diminish impending delays at the TSA checkpoint, where agents may need to stop and wipe down bins after exposure to each passenger’s coat and bags. ‘You can wipe down every bin when you have only 100,000 people traveling every day,’ [researcher and analyst] Helane Becker told me. ‘But if you have 500,000 people’—still less than a quarter of what the volume used to be—’it is going to be a nightmare.’

So the trade-offs might be good.

But on the same token, there will still be contact elsewhere:

The Luggage Carousels

Ah, yes. The luggage carousels. Baggage claim. The place where many trips go south.

People are packed together and wait for their luggage. Which they hope is coming.

We’ve all been there — and our luggage wasn’t.A Delta Air Lines luggage carousel in the baggage claim area of a Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) terminal.

Depending on how full a flight was, social distancing its passengers at the luggage carousel may be difficult. And because everyone and their brother, sister, and dog has black luggage that looks alike, people are always physically examining passing suitcases to see if one is theirs. When it’s not, they just put their grubby hands on someone else’s baggage.

So I’m not buying the whole “no contact” concept with reducing carry-ons in lieu of checking more luggage.

Why Airlines Might Want to Check More Luggage

Most airlines require passengers to pay for checked luggage.

So if everyone is required to bring nothing more than a personal item (purse, backpack, briefcase, laptop case) onboard the flight and check everything else, guess who’s going to make more money?

You got it — the airlines.

Because of my Delta Amexes’ checked bag perk, elite Medallion status, airline incidental credit on three American Express cards, and the $300 travel credit on my Chase Sapphire Reserve, luggage costs aren’t really a concern. And you know darn well airlines would love more customers to sign up for their co-branded credit cards offering luggage perks.

What Do You Think?

Do you think the days of two carry-ons are doomed? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the below comment section!

— Chris

 

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

8 Comments

  1. The vast majority of my travels are day flights 2-3 days per week for 3-4 hour meetings each day. Never ever overnight. I need more room than just a personal item. As such, I need my carryon bag or I simply cannot travel.

  2. Pingback: While You're Staying Home and Not Paying Attention New Surveillance Is Coming To Your Uber Rides - View from the Wing

  3. I almost never carry-on…other than my laptop in my backpack and it stays under the seat in front of me. Great point about the carousel though…how are they going to mitigate that for safety?

  4. I personally have always felt there should be no carry on luggage….They bins overhead are dangerous if you have turbulence..they pop open..in a crash they will come open making it hard to get out if there are any survivors…when everyone boards the plane and lift up to put in bin I am always afraid it’s going to slip out of their hand and land on my head…It slows down boarding and departing…everyone is up and trying to get their overhead bag and on top of one another…I wish they would have stopped it years ago..It’s always been a safety hazard !!!!!

  5. I suspect that boarding times would be quicker if folks weren’t trying to find a place for their bags. That would mean less bunching in the aisles which in turn would reduce exposure.

  6. For years I have been making a suggestion to the airlines. At the carousel. paint a line three or four feet away from the carousel and put up a sign telling people to stand behind the line until you SEE YOUR BAG. Then step forward and get it without the crowding. Maybe the virus will motivate them to do something they should have done years ago.

  7. Barry Graham Reply

    There is never a shortage of writers (not referring to you) putting ideas into the heads of decision makers that they might not have had before. Checked bags have all the characteristics of carry-on bags. The comments above have nothing to do with health. I highly doubt airlines will ban carry-on baggage. it would not help with anything. It’s a ridiculous proposal.

  8. I hope it does not come to No carry on as I try never ever to checky bag !! If going away for awhile I luggage forward

Write A Comment

BoardingArea