POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Apr 7, 2013
Question: What do you suggest should be done when an airplane boards passengers seated in the back of the plane first, and those passengers put their carry-on bags in overhead storage in the front? Where do the people in the front rows put their bags? Shouldn't the flight attendants watch for that, and tell the offenders to take their bags back to their own rows? It's a real problem with full flights.
Answer: Oh, I know. It makes getting off the plane take forever, because half the passengers have to force their way "upstream" to retrieve their bags. If a flight attendant happened to spot someone with a boarding pass for row 25 stick his suitcase above row 5, it would be great if the attendant told the passenger to take it to the back instead. But I don't think the flight attendants could police this, because they have too many other things to do before takeoff.
What I have seen -- just the other day, in fact -- is JetBlue gate agents asking if anyone would volunteer to check their bag because the flight was full. It costs $40 to do this at the airport check-in desk, but volunteers didn't have to pay. Several passengers took them up on their offer. The downside (to me) is that you'd have to retrieve your bag at baggage claim, rather than on the jetway as you do with a gate check, so I didn't volunteer. But if I had already checked a bag and would be going to baggage claim anyway, and I didn't need anything in my carry-on during the flight, I would absolutely have volunteered. I'd love to see more airlines start doing this.
Email travel etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.