Well the news that Alitalia is banning use of the overhead bins for flights into Italy is interesting and is sure to spread to other airlines. The reason of course is the enhanced safety protocols because of COVID. The thinking is that this will cut down the time that people spend standing in the aisle while everyone tries to fit oversized bags into the overhead bins. This makes perfect sense and the subject of carryon is one that can stir deep passions in people – either the carriers or the carry on haters.
The carriers say that they love the overhead bins and never check a suitcase. This is probably very true for business travellers who maybe only have one overnight and a day full of meetings. They want to be able to get on and get off with their bag and get the hell out of the airport and off to their meeting.
The carry on haters say that people bring too much onto a plane and it takes too long to board and too long to deplane. In addition there have been occasions when someone’s too heavy suitcase falls out of the overhead bin and bonks someone else on the head. Then we have our teeny tiny short person with a super heavy carry on bag. Now this usually tends to be a woman – because women are shorter than men usually – and being a short woman I can say this. Trying to get that heavy bag up into the overhead bin is hard if not impossible. Most carry on bags these days have handles and buckles and wheels – none of this is easy.
Whichever camp you fall into I can bet anything you have been irritated at least once in your travel life by either getting on the plane late and finding all the overhead bins full or getting to your designated seat in the front part of the plane only to find that some doofus has put his bag in your overhead bin while he toddles off to his seat at the back (which is why he was boarded first). The cheekiest of all overhead binners is of course the one who books economy but sticks his bag in the overhead bin in business class. Good try!
There are those who vow never to check a suitcase again after having lost one holding treasured possessions and favourite pj’s (never to be found again and probably auctioned off in a warehouse somewhere on the other side of the world). There are the others who like the flexibility of travelling with one small suitcase for their vacation (and wearing the same clothes every day for 3 weeks). I have done that before, and say that with pride. One carry on bag for three weeks holiday in Ireland. Shoes are the biggest problem because they are bulky but I did it nevertheless. Of course when I got home I immediately burnt the entire contents as I never wanted to see those clothes again.
It will be interesting to see which airlines follow suit. One thing I should point out is that as this overhead bin ban (wow that could be a hip hop song) was mandated by the Italian Government the airline is waiving its checked luggage fee. Now at least there is some silver lining!
I know – carry on is handy in a way but a big pain in the you-know-where at most times. You end up hanging around airports with all your luggage and then worry about not getting space in the overhead bin. Maybe the flight is really full so they offer to check your baggage and then you have to start rooting through your possessions to move stuff out.
Or else maybe your carry-on is a bit on the larger size and some bossy check in agent (sorry guys – I didn’t mean that – it was just for atmosphere) tells you to fit it into this ridiculously small metal frame. Who invented that? It doesn’t take into account zippers, luggage straps or labels. So you squeeze and push and pant – my goodness – it’s like trying to get into a pair of Spanx. You ladies out there will know what I mean.
Yes – you finally get the damn thing into the frame and get a caustic nod from the gate for you to carry on and board – and then you can’t get the frigging thing out. Oh my …..
I could write books.
But the best story I read just recently was about a scam that is happening where an organised ring are robbing carry on bags – right in front of the other passengers and crew!
I first saw this in a story just a couple of days ago. A business class passenger found that someone (also a passenger in business class) had opened up the overhead bin and had taken out his bag and removed some cash and valuables. Read the full report and watch the video
I was really surprised to read this and then did a bit more googling (what did we do before Mr Google came along?). It seems that this is a common occurrence and so various airlines and advisory groups recommend keeping an eye on your carry-on and not putting valuables in them.
Maybe this is why the fanny pack has come back into fashion. (We called it a bum bag – fanny is a rude word in England). This was a hot item during the 80’s – maybe some of you will remember. After a podcast by Joe Rogan it suddenly became popular again – and it seems to make sense. Kinda like a money belt but more.
It’s not a new idea though – as per wiki –
“Bags attached to belts have been in use since antiquity in many cultures. One origin was the Native American buffalo pouch which was used instead of sewing pockets into clothing. Buffalo pouches may also be worn on the wrist or carried on the front of the chest via a neck strap or lanyard. Ötzi had a belt pouch 5000 years ago. The European medieval belt-pouch is another antecedent which was superseded as clothing came to have pockets. The Scottish sporran is a similar belted pouch that survived because of the impracticality of pockets in a kilt.”
So maybe we will be seeing more of these bum bags (I know bum is not a nice word either – neither is fanny – could we call them waist bags? But that might be confusing!) Of course with anything coming back into fashion there is always going to be somebody who is going to come up with a twist ….. like this
Just doing carry-on …. I did it once before and I am going to do it again.
Travel to Europe for two weeks just with carry-on. Now you might be saying to yourself – big deal – I have done that tons of times but I know out there among you all there are those who cannot leave home without a whacking big suitcase (and that’s just for a weekend).
So first of all why am I going to do this? Well a two-week trip to Europe comprised of hotel stays, a cruise, trains, taxis and ferries and a hotel on Lake Como that has 37 cobbled steps leading up to it….
Yup. That sounds like a good enough reason. I think it will be a good personal lesson in self-restraint. Do I really need 6 pairs of shoes? A different outfit every night? Really? The people I am travelling with are family. They have seen me at my worst …. Believe me.
The rest – strangers – ships that pass in the night. They will never see me again and vice versa.
Next – how am I going to do this. Packing cubes, wrinkle-resist material and Lululemons and more Lululemons. A couple of colourful shawls – sparkly Croc flip flops and a good pair of Sketchers. That should do it?
Oh – but I shouldn’t forget my running shoes just in case, and my swim suit and then maybe a rain jacket, just in case, and a warmer cover-up for the evenings – just in case. You see what happens. It just keeps piling up so I am going to have to work very hard at this. It’s the “just in case” that prevents me from reaching my goal. How many times have you unpacked unworn clothing after a trip. You took it along – just in case – dragged it onto cruises, flights, trains and taxis and then brought it all the way home again – UNWORN!
My last carry-on trip worked quite well – two weeks in Ireland on a self drive vacation with a teeny carry on suitcase. I was quite proud of myself but I also wanted to throw up when I unpacked my clothes at home. I was so sick of the sight of them.
There is something so liberating about being able to walk off your flight and right out the doors of the airport into a taxi. No hanging around waiting endlessly for the case on the carousel – just out the door and on my way. I have also had the experience of travelling with a larger case on European trains. Yes it can be done but if you are going to catch as many trains as we are then I would rather not.
So all I am worrying about now is getting on the plane in time to get an overhead bin (or two) and a place to put my hat!
It doesn’t look like much – just a few inches – but it can make a huge difference to your comfort on the next flight. Airlines have realised that too – as they continue to squash bums into seats they have realised that those few little inches have become a money making option.
So what does it cost to upgrade to premium economy? Well it is going to depend on your airline and route – just recently I paid around $200 extra for my KLM flight (that’s per segment) going overseas. On multiple segment international itineraries you may find the upgrade costs could mount up to over $1800 per person.
So booking a premium economy seat is OK if you can afford it – if you can’t you may end up stuck next to a larger person who is pretty much enjoying your seat as well as their own. A recent court case is on the go where a traveller is suing Etihad Airlines for depriving him of his comfort on his flight and causing him back problems. It is easy to sympathise with him – also easy to sympathise with the larger person travelling on the flight. Clearly airlines are going to have to start addressing this issue.
The other problem is that not all business classes are created equally. Some offer lie flat beds – other offer albeit large seats that recline a lot but still leave you crumpled in a little bundle at the end of your seat. It’s like sleeping on a hill!
Another cause of concern is the charge for baggage. It’s a nice little income stream for the airlines but it is causing non stop problems on flights where passengers take “carry on” to new limits. We have all seen it. One carry on and one personal items turns into two HUGE bags. Sometimes you have to check that bag at the last minute – despite it containing fragile or valuables.