Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Heavy Carry On Bags

During the boarding process today, a well dressed woman stopped me in the aisle and said:  "You'll need to take care of my bag, miss."
"I'll be happy to have it checked for you ma'am," I replied.  "I'll be right back with a claim ticket for you."
She freaked out.  Her voice got louder and louder as she called out.  "No, No, NO, NO!  You must put it overhead.  Be careful, it's very heavy.  I could barely carry it on and I don't want to lift it."
This is where the good flight attendant on my right shoulder, and the bad flight attendant on my left shoulder, had a bit of a discussion.

Bad flight attendant:  "Let me see if I understand you, lady.  You brought on board a bag so heavy that you can barely carry it, and you definitely can't stow it.  You want me to lift this VERY heavy bag and risk injuring myself.  If I injure myself, I will have to go out on a workers comp leave.  If I'm on workers comp, I don't make as much money as I normally would which, in turn, means that I will have difficulty meeting my financial obligations, or I will have to drain my savings.  So, now I ask you again:  You want me to do what you self-centered twit?"

Good flight attendant, smiling:  "I understand it's heavy, ma'am, and that why I'm not going to lift it either.  I see three possible solutions here, and I'm going to leave the choice up to you.  You can put it in the overhead yourself.  You can stow it beneath the seat in front of you.  Or, I will be happy to have it checked for you.  Please let me know what you decide."
I continued smiling as I walked away to the not so subtle cheering from the people around her. 
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angie said...

you go girl!!!! As an f/a myself , I wonder too-why do they keep bringing bigger and bigger bags?
next it will be washers and dryers!

I am going to remember your 3 choices for my next 4day!


Appenzeller said...

So I was drawn into giving away tips on the Easyjet post, but you won't catch me out twice!
Oh all right then...
From a passenger perspective, here's how I get around the heavy carry-on issue. Two smaller bags, both clearly below the max diemnsions, at least one of which you can cartwheel at the end of an outstretched arm when the check-in staff ask to see the carry-on. You can get around the "1 carry on" rule with this, just as you would with a purse and bag. Just need to practice swinging that 5kg laptop bag around your head!
There's more..
Divide the contents of the 2 bags into smaller packable soft bags (EagleCreek have an excellent range). This helps keep garments pressed, and allows for load readjustments to squeeze in the Duty-free for the return journey. It also means that if there's limited space overhead, you can quickly unpack one of the smaller bags to squeeze into smaller gaps. Obviously, soft luggage not hard cases ae needed for this.

Your reaction to the heavy bag was spot on....good for you. You'd like Easyjet: there is no max weight to carry-ons, just size. But the passanger MUST stow it him/herself.

"omis" said...

A few other retorts:

-Even the baggage handlers, who have loading belts and back-braces to do heavy lifting without hurting themselves, don't lift bags up over their heads. It's unreasonable for passengers to expect flight attendants to do so.

-It's a carry-on bag. If you can't carry it on yourself, it needs to be checked.

-Too heavy for you, too heavy for me.

noorster said...

Here's Noorster's own "How to Chicken Out and Piss Two Passengers Off at the Same Time":
Woman: Please help me lift my bag, heavy, blah blah blah.
Noorster: I'd rather not if you don't mind.... but I'm sure the gentleman here would love to help you.

Fly Girl said...

Appenzeller: You've clearly thought out what works for you and keeps you within the rules. Good for you.

Omis: And here's what I'd really like to say. "If you can pack it, you can rack it."

Noorster: Sometimes someone tall and burly steps up and makes the offer, which is always nice.

Traytable said...

It's a carry-on bag. If you can't carry it on yourself, it needs to be checked.

I use that one a lot. Also, I may joke and say:

"Sir, not even the Captain brings a bag that big on board, and he's just spent three days buying presents for his wife. You'll need to check it, please."

Often they'll laugh along and check it in, too. =)

noorster said...

The most ridiculously oversized carry-on I've ever seen was a painting with the surface size of a smaller bed. There was no way we could check it, so we made the owner remove the wrapping for the duration of the flight and put it up against the "wall" facing the first Business Class row (which was empty). Arty IFE, what can I say.

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