It’s often been said that there are two kinds of luggage: carry on and lost. Add a third kind to the mix… damaged.
I avoid checking bags whenever possible because I don’t trust United’s baggage handlers not to get caught in the cargo hold and I don’t want my bags there anyway since British Airways has had to ask staff to stop urinating in the cargo holds.
Qatar Airways may promise you won’t be served by grandmothers but that’s also a problem, if their baggage handlers were grandmothers they might treat your luggage more gingerly than this: (HT: @zainman)
Video .. Qatar Airways throw luggage passengers.
I think it is the fastest way to deliver luggage to passengers pic.twitter.com/nE8JP3qE93
— قديم الطيران (@oldaviation) August 26, 2017
This is more common than you’d think.
Here are Alaska Airlines baggage handlers in San Jose, California playing a game of toss the luggage reportedly for half an hour while other employees cheered them on.
Here are baggage handlers playing toss the luggage off a easyJet flight at London’s Luton airport.
Here’s video of Air Canada baggage handlers tossing gate checked luggage.
I never want to have to gate check bags. I also hate to board first. I don’t want to spend 20 minutes on the plane more than necessary, especially in a coach seat. I’d rather work a few more minutes in the lounge or spend the time picking up a bottle of water or snack near the gate.
The key is to not be last, or rather not to be among the last to board so that you don’t wind up being asked to gate check your bag.
Strategies to avoid having to gate check your bag:
- Make sure the bag isn’t too large (that it meets the airline’s regulation specs, even fully packed and bulging).
- Plan ahead. Earn elite status with the airline you fly or one of their partners, or sign up for the co-brand credit card of the airline you tend to fly the most.
- Consider buying priority boarding it may seem frivolous or a waste but it can also be had for just $10.
- Just board early. Not every gate agent will enforce the boarding order.
- If asked to gate check, remain polite, mention perhaps that you’re connecting on a separate ticket to an airline your carrier doesn’t have an interline baggage agreement with and you could at least try to find some space?
- Once on the plane, take any space you can find don’t wait until you get all the way to your seat if you’re in the back of the cabin. You might get glares, but there may be room in the first class bins and that carries the added benefit of your not having to schlep the bag all the way to the back and also that it’s already near the front of the plane when you’re ready to disembark.
- Worst cast be very nice and again polite and ask a flight attendant at the front of the aircraft if you might be able to store your bag in a closet.
Here’s the singer from Puddle of Mudd riding the baggage carousel in Denver.