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  • Writer's pictureDusty Weis

Gate Checking Bags Has Jumped the Shark

The photo above is from my last business trip.

The door on the left leads to the aircraft we just de-planed. The green sign on the wall helpfully denotes the place where airport staff will drop erstwhile carry-on luggage for which there was not room in the overhead bins. The 50 people lined up on the left and the right are all desperately hoping the next bag set on the jet bridge belongs to them. And the man in the middle of this photo is the lucky lottery winner whose bag came out first, and now has to run the mosh pit gauntlet to freedom.

This is not customer service, and the sooner that airlines realize this, the sooner they can rescind the ridiculous baggage fees that force us all to act like irrational dopes.

Think about it--not 300 yards away from where this plane is parked is a baggage carousel in a concourse which can comfortably fit hundreds of passengers waiting to claim a bag. This costly infrastructure goes underutilized while all of us Pauly Penny-Pinchers throw elbows on the jet bridge, which is also not climate-controlled in cold Wisconsin winters or hot Florida summers.

These airlines aren't creating any efficiencies with these policies. They're actually creating twice the work for the ground crews, who now have to unload bags and deliver them to two separate locations instead of one.

Oh, and customers hate being treated like cattle. I cannot stress that enough. Also, having 50 people waiting on a jet bridge has to violate the fire code or something, right?

So please, airlines of America, please. Either provide us with the overhead capacity to stow the carry-on bags of every passenger who doesn't want to pay your ridiculous nickel-and-dime fees, or do away with the fees altogether. Fold the price of checked bags into the ticket price, if you have to.

But this sort of idiocy just isn't worth my $40.

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