Air Canada has recently announced that they will be cracking down on the size of cabin luggage. If the comments section in various papers are any indication, this is a highly emotional issue regardless of whether or not you agree with Air Canada’s decision to enforce their policy. I applaud the effort and hope that Air Canada sticks to it.
This morning as I boarded a flight in Ottawa, two travellers attracted the attention of the flight crew as they stumbled up the aisle, loaded up with kit, struggling and then could not lift their clearly oversized carry on luggage into the bin. The flight attendant helped and with a smile reminded them that as of Monday , they would very likely be forced to check their luggage. One of the women became visibly upset saying she thought that it was ridiculous given that Air Canada now charges for the first checked bag. Interestingly enough it was another passenger who intervened and chimed in that it was about time as these two women’s carry on took up an overhead bin spanning three rows. They each had an expanding roller bag, (likely 9 inches deep empty but more like 12 with the bag fully stuffed), a backpack, again probably a 25 litre fully loaded, and a large beach bag like item, all too big to fit under their seats…..they were none to impressed with another passenger intervening saying it was none of his business. But that is the point, their decision to flout the rules impacted everyone around them who now had no overhead bin in which to stow their belongings. The passenger pointed out he paid for his seat and a checked bag and all he wanted was room above his seat for his properly sized carry on. In the end, the girls moved two bags, again needing help, over my row as my bag fits under the seat in front of me.
Bottom line is customer demand for cheap tickets has allowed airlines the space to unbundle services and charge for checked bags. Air travel is now widely accessible thanks to cheap fares. Airlines are flying with higher and higher load factors and cramming more seats into airframes. This means passengers should also adjust and respect their fellow travellers. Either travel light with a legally sized bag or suck up the cost to check a bag.
I applaud this effort and hope they stick to it.