Carry-ons are usually small items you take on board that travel with you on the airplane for your convenience when traveling. With the abundance of budget carriers, regional jet flights, and airline restrictions, the carry-on is up to the interpretation of many. Check-in agents, baggage screeners, gate agents, and flight attendants are many that determine what is considered carry-on.
If you are traveling on a larger airplane, you may be permitted to take two luggage pieces with you. You should place one in an overhead bin and the other under the seat in front of you. If you are on a smaller aircraft, you are more than likely only allowed to travel with a small item such as a purse or bag. When booking your flight, the information will indicate aircraft type, and you can google it to give you an idea of the aircraft layout. Note that the airline may change aircraft type, as you are paying for transportation, not specific aircraft.
Passengers are not guaranteed carry on space. There may be designated areas that are cabin specific overhead space such as first-class or business class. However, even with this designation, personal space is not exact. There are also many times when the area located directly above your seat may be full, and you will have to find other space, often behind you, to stow your carry-on.
While carry-on limitations may be a hassle to many travelers, safety reasons dictate their necessity. It can be hazardous if a large, heavy bag falls on a passenger because a fellow traveler cannot lift it into an overhead bin. There is also the chance of carry-ons falling out of the overhead bin if not properly packed or falling during turbulence. Carry-ons can also be dangerous if there is an emergency, and people are more concerned with collecting their bags than there are with your life and the speed of getting off an airplane. Additionally, behind-the-scenes considerations such as weight and balance of the aircraft may impact how many bags and or weight are allowed in the airplane cabin.
When packing a carry-on, the passenger should consider these realities and their impact on travel and other travelers. It can be extremely frustrating to board an airplane and be held up by the passenger in front of you who has to unload necessary items from their carry-on before they can be seated. The process of boarding a flight is not only held up, but passengers following behind may become frustrated, and you are often entertainment for the people already sitting and watching you.
Flight attendants will urge you to take your seat as quickly as possible, and while they can assist you in finding space to stow your luggage, there is no obligation to lift or help you with your luggage. The gate agents can become annoyed that you are affecting their on-time departure. The pilot risks losing his departure slot because of your delay, not to mention the timing of connecting flights.
When considering carry-on, think of what you need to have onboard with you. With the realities of baggage fees (see earlier post), you may be tempted to see carry on as just another piece of luggage. Considering carry-on facts can make for a more pleasant travel experience for you and your fellow passengers.
Have you any stories about carry-ons? I’d love to hear.