Thursday, May 15, 2008

Overcrowded Overhead Compartments

It is my belief that the termination of baggage handling fees is soon to become reality.

After recent travels to mainland Europe and witnessing the congestion in the cabins luggage racks. The amount of time that was spent by passengers searching for a gap in the bin to put their over sized 'little' bag held up a lot of passengers. In fact there was still a queue of people trying to get on the plane while the spaces were almost entirely gone. This will soon lead to delayed flights and missed runway segments.

By the time I got to my seat the over head compartment above me was full. My bags were checked so I got to sit back, relax and enjoy the not-yet in flight entertainment.
First up -
Musical Baggage - After finding their seat and noting the bulging containers, the passenger now has to bustle past a line of incoming people to get to someone other luggage space. Hustle and Bustle, elbows and bags smacking seats and people.
Act 2 -
1 Bag or 2 - Avoiding the carousel of hell has become peoples modus operandi. These however are same people that after finding space for their luggage, then have to find another gap for their original hand luggage, and possible their personal effects as well. So now we have 1 person looking for up to 3 spaces. All while others are still piling on and the spaces are filling fast.
Act 3 -
Fight, fight fight - OK so it was an argument but mark my words very soon these words will lead to action. I was hoping someone would simply empty contents above their seat to put in a simple item, maybe a laptop or a hand bag, the kind of item this storage is for. Alas this didn't happen. Some raised eyebrows, pointed fingers and harsh words. When does it become air rage?

Final Act -
Disembarking - Its not just the opposite of getting on. Ready, Set, "Please stay in your seats until the Captain has switched off the Fasten Seat Belt sign". Ready, Set, "please stay seated". Ready, "Sit down sir". Set, "please..." 'Ping' GO, GO, GO Now half the passengers are out of the blocks trying to make good their escape. But they get entangled with the baggage handlers trying to find their lost luggage on board. Duty free bags all look the same and the content are often very similar - "No, I ordered the vodka".

I see 3 +1 possible outcomes:

1) The airlines will have to start encouraging people to check their bags again.
2) Allow people to use the space under the seats, which at the moment is forbidden (by a lot of carriers) during take off and landing
3) Change the carry on limits/enforce the ones they have already.

Of course there is another but I this would cause more uproar than the introduction of the liquids ban.

4) Curtail shopping in the terminals before flights - how much of the overhead space is taken up with low cost cigs and booze?

So now the 2 hours of pre-boarding time is spent queuing at the departures gate. Priority check in, previously a scam is now worth buying. Of course you could fake a gammy leg or bring your own wheel chair just to get to the front

Had any experience like this?
What do you think will happen?

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