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Air Canada Carry-On Squeeze Blamed For Delays, Lost Valuables

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Air Canada carry-on squeeze blamed for delays, lost valuables

Groom's $2,000 in goods vanishes, after lack of space forces him to check carry-on luggage

Mon Mar 09, 2015 - CBC News
By Kathy Tomlinson

Air Canada is under fire for creating chaos as a result of too many passenger carry-on bags and not enough room to store them, resulting in delayed flights, harried staff and lost valuables.

"Right now the [checked baggage] charges are high from the airline, so passengers are carrying more baggage with them to save the money," said Air Canada customer Vishal Shah, who said his carry-on bag was lost by the airline last month.

"There is not enough space for all the passengers to put the luggage. And furthermore, so many people, they are carrying more than one luggage every time."
Overhead Compartment

Shah says that by the time he boarded his flight, all the overhead compartments were full. (CBC)

The Edmonton man said he lost $2,000 worth of valuables he was taking to India for his wedding, after Air Canada required him to check his carry-on bag, then lost track of it.

"Everybody is carrying more valuable stuff in their handbags. Laptop, iPad or whatever," he said.

Several passengers affected

Shah said he was among a dozen passengers on a delayed, overbooked flight from Vancouver who had to check their carry-on bags at the last minute, because there was no room left in the overhead compartments.

"This is not only me. There are lots of people that are suffering because of this issue," said Shah.

Unions representing Air Canada staff told Go Public that excess carry-on baggage is a growing problem since the airline started charging new fees for checked bags, particularly on domestic flights.

"It’s something that we see more and more," said Michel Cournoyer, president of the union representing Air Canada flight attendants.

"There are lots of delays that are caused by the excessive [carry-on] baggage. Sometimes there are 10 or 15 bags left on the bridge and only two guys — ramp guys — to come and pick up that baggage."

Cournoyer said it’s not surprising if bags aren’t tagged properly, as staff scramble to get them checked.

"When everybody is under stress and everybody wants to push back on time and people don’t want to be reported [for causing delays] it creates the perfect storm," he said.

"There’s no end of managers sticking their noses in … they don’t know what has to be done or how to do it properly,"

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Sorry, no sympathy from me..............everyone that "checks" baggage takes the same chance when it comes to theft or damage.

The reason there was no room in the overheads was that carry-on was not checked for size and quantity by CSAs.

As well, perhaps, roll- a-boards should no longer be classified as carry on. I have seen roll-a boards that are the size of suitcases. Some pax feel that if it has wheels it is a roll-a-board. Ther last flight to FLL had a guy trying to jam a suitcase size roll-a-board into an overhead...it would not fit and had to be taken off the aircraft....while everyone was boarding !!!!

What, IMO, is required is CSAs that inform the folks at BAGGAGE check in that excessive Carry-On is NOT permitted. I have yet to be on a flight AC or WJ where the CSAs at first check-in point as well as the Gate put much effort in enforcing the baggage regs.

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What, IMO, is required is CSAs that inform the folks at BAGGAGE check in that excessive Carry-On is NOT permitted. I have yet to be on a flight AC or WJ where the CSAs at first check-in point as well as the Gate put much effort in enforcing the baggage regs.

Unfortunately, a lot of customers/guests never see an agent prior to boarding. They check in online, print boarding cards at home, and go straight to the gate. So there's no opportunity for CSAs to advise anybody of anything before it's at the gate.

I've half-jokingly mentioned to many people that if they could remove the kitchen sink from their carry on bag, it might fit.

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Unfortunately, a lot of customers/guests never see an agent prior to boarding. They check in online, print boarding cards at home, and go straight to the gate. So there's no opportunity for CSAs to advise anybody of anything before it's at the gate.

I've half-jokingly mentioned to many people that if they could remove the kitchen sink from their carry on bag, it might fit.

Well..... you have just alluded to what I feel is part of the problem... as the last guardian of passenger comfort and convenience.....Gate CSA's should be "lowering the boom" :glare: and enforcing carry-on regulations.

Years ago when we were heading south I watched a CSA Gate Agent at our Trans At gate going around and looking at Carry-On and she advised people in a very nice way that they would have to put a tag on it and leave it at the door to the aircraft. The people beside me were quite angry and I merely stated that ":she was doing her job and maintaining one of the most important aspects of flying as a passenger....our safety"...Yes.... a stretch..... but the guy calmed down and I am sure he didn't want it to look like he was against passenger safety. :biggrin1: .

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Delta Airlines has a bag-check process at the gate for every boarding.

Prior to boarding a full flight which the CSAs know is going to be a challenge, an announcement is made that bags can be checked (for free so there's no PITA lineup while the credit cards are brought out) at the counter - just bring'em up.

The bag-check tags aren't hand-written, they're printed on a machine that's at the gate and are the same kind of tags one gets at the check-in counter when checking luggage.

The process is routine, in our experience, works and it relieves a lot of travel stress because you know you're bags are on the flight you're on, but down below.

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Our US stations have it down pat. They are very proactive with tagging excess cabin baggage at the gate...but they do have more than one agent working any given flight.

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Our US stations have it down pat. They are very proactive with tagging excess cabin baggage at the gate...but they do have more than one agent working any given flight.

Came back from TPA on Rouge last week and they were early on soliciting volunteers for cabin baggage to be checked (tag printer at the gate).

I and some others did so but the Y cabin was still a zoo. I think they could do a couple of things to up the participation rate:

1) offer priority bag handling at destination (my bag was in final third to hit the carousel)

2) those travelling with single carry-on might be reluctant to check it without having access to small number of must haves (medications, etc). Availability of small, attractive pouch/bag might ease repacking woes.

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I place blame entirely on the airlines, they're the ones who decided the US cable industry the model to emulate. Congratulations, you have decisively won the race to the bottom. There is no reason a carry-on laden with valuables should have to be checked other than this contrived situation of their own creation. It also exposes cabin crew and customer service staff to levels of daily confrontation that they just shouldn't have to deal with ever.

To quote Trainspotting, "It's a shite state of affairs to be in" and to paraphrase Trainspotting "I don't blame the passengers, they're just wankers."

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I've had some success making announcements asking people to please use the space at their feet for smaller items that they have placed overhead, like purses and backpacks or ski boots. Most times you will get a few volunteers to take some things out and allow those with larger bags room to stow them overhead. It's not perfect, but it does work for the most part.

I was in EWR recently and they were telling the last dozen or so people with tagged bags to just carry them on as there was no time to check them. This perfectly illustrates the problem that Mr. Cournoyer spoke of in the article. If a bag is removed from the flight after departure time, the delay is charged to in-flight. If it's on the bridge prior to departure, the delay is charged to the station. So they pushed everybody on with their huge tagged bags and then charged in-flight with the delay when we had to send them off. It's a joke.

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If the limit was 1 - not 1 massive roller plus the stuff laptop case, maybe there would be more room - and when did overhead bins become home to all the small stuff that should be under the seat in front? In any event, the airlines did this to themselves. And the whole, check it at the gate for free thing, is the stupidest logic on the planet.

I realized my best offence was a good defence - now I travel with a soft sided bag, one the fits under the seat in front of me. I board last with final call and skip the carry-on tetris game played for the 30 min before departure.

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Came back from TPA on Rouge last week and they were early on soliciting volunteers for cabin baggage to be checked

Seems to be the status quo. ROU1890 TPA-YYZ, full baby-bus Feb 4th, early ask to check, not many takers. Had already paid via credit card to check one small bag (US $) and got challenged by the "ROUGE HATTED CREW" as I stowed SWMBO's small handbag in the overhead (no other carry on). No challenges for the taped box tied with twine traveller with so many "bags" she was asking for assistance. Time to enforce, It fits in the frame, or check it! And you only get ONE!

To add insult to injury it took 1+45 to get my bag back in YYZ. A bag smaller than others "carried on".

So guess how that made me feel ...

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"and when did overhead bins become home to all the small stuff that should be under the seat in front?"

When the seats narrowed and the seat pitch changed... :Grin-Nod:

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To add insult to injury it took 1+45 to get my bag back in YYZ. A bag smaller than others "carried on".

So guess how that made me feel ...

Special! :icon_anal:

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In it's very early days, WJ was victimized by a various folks from the same area in BC as the fellow in the news story who seemed to be overly susceptible to theft of high value items from their luggage.

Those were the days when checks were hand signed, and they arrived in very large boxes. Whoever drew the short straw at the exec meetings had to spend an afternoon with a pen.

One couldn't help but look at the names on the checks, set them aside and make a few calls to find out why the check was being cut.

At the end of the day, it was peanuts, but I can think of at least one person with signing authority who used to get extremely pi$$ed off having to pay out these sorts of claims.

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EasyJet has cabin baggage policies that work well. On most fares there's a charge for checked baggage. Their customers are allowed one cabin bag of rollaboard size, and those paying certain fares are permitted a second piece that must be stowed under seat. Their website makes clear that they'll carry 90 rollaboards in the cabin per flight, and that once 90 customers have boarded with rollaboards, remaining rollaboards will be checked free of charge. Size and number of piece limits are made clear and are enforced.

I've gotten to like flying Southwest recently, as their "free" checked baggage and boarding systems work well for them.

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If I am on a relatively short domestic flight I put everything in my checked bag except my tablet.
Easier through security and I don't have to try and wheel a roll aboard up a narrow aisle that always seems to catch a corner of the bag.

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mo32a, one chooses one's poison I know - I travel with two laptops plus wiring etc, and camera gear, (both for special purposes, certainly not just for fun) and wouldn't check the computers or gear (but would leave it behind). I have Pelican cases for large items. I try to keep it to a minimum and in the US the "Trusted Traveller" program works well, (minimum checks, no shoes/belts off, computers are stowed, etc). The worst experience in PITA nit-picking when other airport's security have routinely cleared the "questionable" items was usually through Kelowna but it seems to be getting better. Not a job to envy...

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Agree with you there Don. Worst experience we ever had was on a flight from Rome to New York connecting to Phoenix. When we arrived in New York you had to claim all your bags and go through customs and security again. Huge lineups in the "pen" where everybody was forced to wait, no cell phones, no cameras allowed and a bunch of nasty security people misinforming you about which line you should be in. We were told to get in one line, when we finally got near the front the customs person said we were in the wrong line and had to get in another line. I told him that we were in that line and we were told to get in this line. Of course by now there was another hundred people in that line. Not a good travel day.

Trusted traveler, Global Entry, Nexus are must haves for us. They can be quite a time saver no doubt.

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...I was in EWR recently and they were telling the last dozen or so people with tagged bags to just carry them on as there was no time to check them...

Wow, isn't this a safety breach, what if they had checked in something unsafe for the cabin? TSA would not be impressed with this if they got wind of it.

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They would have been scanned at security. I would not be too happy if CATSA/TSA had me open it and removed items that was not on the 'OK' list, which is why one carry those items in one's checked bag.

This would require a letter to the airline. I guess the other question, did those last dozen guests show up late or was it a result of not enough staff?

Hmmmmm.

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Wow, isn't this a safety breach, what if they had checked in something unsafe for the cabin? TSA would not be impressed with this if they got wind of it.

Don't go calling the TSA. These were "carry on" bags that had cleared security with the passengers. They had tags put on at the gate as there would either not be enough room or they were too big. This is very common, especially at our US stations. So although the agents knew these bags weren't going to fit, they rushed the people on with their bags so that they didn't get charged with a delay. We did because the bags were onboard and subsequently had to be removed. That's how the system works, so people do all kinds of stupid things to avoid getting charged with delays. My philosophy has always been that although I will do all possible to avoid taking a delay, sometimes they have to happen and if it happens enough times, something will have to change. I don't sweat taking them when there is a good reason for it to happen.

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