Let me start by saying that I do love my snazzy red roller bag. We’ve been together for about five years now, and it has done everything I’ve asked of it. It has glided over airport floors all over this country. But as of this December, I’m breaking up with my roller bag. And it really is a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.”
Why have I decided to leave my bright red beacon of a bag behind?
Other Airline Passengers
I know that I’m not the only one who has slogged through the lines at an airport, only to get to my seat and find that someone seated in the back of the plane has left their bag in the overhead compartment over my front-of-the-economy-section seat. It’s rude. It’s maddening. Flight attendants will call you out if they catch you, but they have much more serious safety concerns than dealing with your roller bag. Is it really that hard for you to bring your luggage forward with you when you deplane if you chose a seat in the back of the plane? Yes, I realize that we all only pay for our seats and not the overhead bins, but seriously, you are asking for at very least irate looks when you do that – especially during the holidays.
Other Airline Passengers Part 2
My happy red roller bag is actually smaller than most of the roller bags passengers try to wedge into overhead bins. Provided passengers from the back of the plane haven’t already filled the bins, I’ve got a shot at getting it in there. Right? Wrong. Despite flight attendants telling people not to put their coats or other small items in the overhead bins, invariably passengers do it anyway. I try to be polite about it and ask who owns the coat before I move it, but it is very rare when anyone confesses. I know it’s inconvenient to have to wear a heavy coat or suit jacket for a long-haul flight, but if that was your suit jacket that was crushed by the roller bags that came in after you put it up there – well, you probably should have listened to the flight attendants and waited until all the bags were loaded. Interestingly, this made the list for things Flight Attendants wish people would stop doing: http://www.businessinsider.com/things-flight-attendants-wish-passengers-would-stop-doing-2016-9/#-19
Although I generally have a rule about only taking direct flights, there have been recent itineraries where that was not possible. Often the plane is changed to a smaller one on the short hop connections. They tell you as you are sitting in the waiting area that roller bags will not fit in the overhead compartments on the small planes. This is not a tragedy, and yet I saw some poor woman with a tight connection have to wait to get her gate-checked bag in Chicago, and she was NOT having a good time. Luckily, I had only taken a small “squish-able” carry-on on that trip and sailed onto and off of the plane.
A recent article making the rounds has indicated that for people flying the cheapest economy seats on United, they can only bring aboard a bag that will fit under the seat come January 1. This means you’ll either have to pay to check those roller bags, or pay more for the premium “two carry-ons” seats. United is already on my “naughty” Christmas list for having the worst direct flights from Los Angeles to Cleveland (when Continental used to have fantastic schedules), and this doesn’t really endear me to them. It does, however, make me further commit to only choosing the soft-sided carry-on that can fit under my seat. That means creative packing, but so be it.
So, you see, my once beloved red roller bag is going to have to be relegated to road trips (or perhaps direct international flights). While I haven’t committed to a new bag yet, I have some options. If you have one that can be squished under the seat and that makes your heart sing, sound off in the comments. I’d love to hear what works for you!