Crack Down on Carry-On’s

ryanair-bag-tester1Airlines have been making billions of dollars on extra bag fees thanks to their restrictive nature in terms of checking bags.

So every now and then I look to see if there have been any major changes to the rules.

Earlier this year, United Airlines placed sizers by their gates to not only check the size of carry-on bags but also the size of personal items.  Carry-ons would be limited to 22″ x 14″ x 9″ and personal items would max out at 17″ x 10″ x 9″.

Today, George Hobica of AirfareWatchdog reports he was forced to put his beloved hard sided spinner bag in an American Airlines sizer just before the TSA checkpoint at JFK. It was one inch too wide (15″ rather than 14″) and he was forced to return to the ticket counter to check the bag. The crackdown seems to be with everyone as he was flying business class.

Strangely, American Airlines has had a 36″ size restriction on personal items for years but starting Thursday there will  be no actual size limit as long as the personal item is smaller then the carry-on.

For most of us who carry non-wheeled, soft sided bags, this isn’t a problem as they can be made to fit into the sizers.

But for those of you using wheels, be aware, airlines are cracking down because forcing you to check is added income to them.

At some point, I’m guessing U.S. based airlines will also start adding weight restrictions on carry-ons, as they do in most parts of the world, to generate even more revenue.

Delta, another airline cracking down, has done something I’ve never seen before; they posted their rules on gate checking bags. Here it is:

Passengers traveling on Delta Connection flights, and only those flights with fifty (50) seats or less, are only permitted to carry personal items on board the aircraft due to limited overhead space.  Personal items must be able to fit securely under the seat in front of the passenger.  All carry-on bags within Delta’s size restrictions will be gate checked, free of charge, during the boarding process and returned upon deplaning.  Please ensure that a pink Gate Claim/Planeside tag is securely attached to the carry-on item.  Assistive devices are not subject to this restriction.

Are they talking all carry-ons or just wheeled carry-ons?

I have yet to have a problem. What’s your experience been?

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6 Responses to Crack Down on Carry-On’s

  1. gafer says:

    Frank, it was a carry on bag shakedown by American about two months ago that brought me to 1Bag1World. On a flight to Detroit from my home airport (AUS) they were shaking down everyone and making them put their bags in the bag sizer. To my dismay, my trusty Eagle Creek Hovercraft 22 that I had used extensively didn’t fit! It’s 10 inches wide, not 9 inches as required. Never mind the overhead bin measures 11 inches.

    The information from Delta above is disconcerting. I have a flight with them in September that involves a Delta Connection flight. It’s just a weekend trip and I can ill afford a lost bag. My only lost bag in all these years was a gate checked bag on American for an overnight trip. Overheads were full so I was “voluntold” to gate check.

  2. Frank@OBOW says:

    Was your “gate check” on American a commuter plane or one of their standard jets?

    On commuters/regional jets, your bag is left at the plane door and returned to you there as well. No need for baggage claim. You’ll see everyone else automatically dropping their bags off at the plane’s door.

    I also believe Delta Commuter is only doing this for their smallest of planes. The ones with 50 seats or less. Most of the time, a soft sided bag will be allowed.

    Remember, we non-wheeled carriers are so rare, most people don’t think of us when making the rules. They’re thinking wheels and handles.

  3. gafer says:

    My gate check incident on American was on a regular jet. They were checking bags to be picked up at baggage claim. Not good if you hadn’t intended for your bag to be out of your control.

  4. akros says:

    We flew Delta last week. One of the flights was on a CRJ and all wheeled bags were gate checked and picked up on the ramp when we deplaned. I did not see them stopping anyone with soft bags. I actually saw my first MEI Voyageur – the owner put her laptop back in the bag when we boarded, strapped down the compression straps (it looked really tiny!), and boarded with the Voyageur and her personal item. She had packed for a month in that Voyageur and it looked smaller than the Eagle Creek Adventure Weekender.

  5. gafer says:

    Interesting that the MEI Voyageur would look smaller than the ECAW. Voyageur is spec’d at 9x14x22 whereas ECEW is 8x13x20. Then again, how “stuffed” a bag is really makes the difference in how it appears.

    Looks like for Delta CRJ’s, wheels are out, bags are in. I should be able to do my Key West trip in my Red Oxx Extra Small Aviator (8x11x15). Does Delta have dimensions on personal items?

  6. akros says:

    I think the MEI looked smaller because of the compression straps. Delta has not posted size limits for personal items beyond it must fit under the seat in front of you. Sizers at the gate were only for the larger carryon, limited to the usual 22 x 14 x 9.