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Boarding Etiquitte and Carry-on Bags

A recent article from the newsletter Smarter Travel got me thinking about the different issues with boarding planes. I have noticed the myriad different ways that airlines try to control boarding. As they have worked to enforce "zones" or "groups" some have started to create individual lines for those each category to help keep boarding lanes clear. These things I have little or no control over.


What I can control, and the question I have is about carry-on luggage. For the past serval years I have seen three options - Pay to check a larger piece of luggage, which frees me up to carry on a smaller piece that I know will fit just about anywhere, use an airline that I carry a credit card for to get a free checked bag even if it costs more, or take my carry-on and worry about getting it down the aisle and having space for it in the over head.



More and more I have been checking luggage for any trip longer than 3-4 days. As my wife's chiropractor says "You can pay the airline $50 on your trip, or pay it to me when you get home."


Lately I have noticed a third option developing - take the carry-on, because most likely the plane is going to be so full that the airline is going to gate-check through to my destination for free. This requires something of a gamble, and the possibility of repacking to pull my camera bag out of my carry-on if it is going to checked.


What are your thoughts/observations?

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I usually try to get a seat in a zone where I'm guaranteed bin space.  I usually have a laptop bag for my computer and travel documents, which goes under the seat in front of me.  The rest of the items, including spare eyeglasses, camera, medications and clothes go into my carry-on.  I can't take the small risk of these items getting lost so I need that carryon with me.  It's rare that gate-checked bags get lost but they can.


Generally for trips of a week or less, I can get by with just a carryon.  Check in bags for longer trips or those that require special gear (eg. camping or hiking gear).  If I travel with my wife, we put our most valuable items into one carryone and the second could be gate checked if needed.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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