This is about the inflammatory topic of airline carry-on luggage, which is possibly (because I am making the next part up) a leading cause of inflammatory bowels.
In other words, this incendiary subject pisses the shit out of us.
(I know, I have my bodily elimination plumbing crossed.)
The airline industry wanted more money.
The airline industry starting charging for check-in bags.
Then, the airline industry has tried charging for food, drinks, making a reservation, window seats, aisle seats, exit row seats, pillows, blankets, using the loo, and the list goes on and on.
The airline industry profits have soared, just like the cost of flying and our tempers, from being treated like chattel.
Along the way, most passengers (my wonderful sister, not included) have switched to more carry-on luggage, and by more, I mean bigger bags and lots of them. Much bigger and many more.
This has lead to a whole litany of issues, none of which has made flying any more enjoyable, and many of which are due to the airline industry simply—and blatantly—ignoring passengers who are getting away with schlepping a cavalcade of bulging bags in tow, right past them and onto the plane.
The scrum at the terminal gate looks like the cluster of World Cup soccer players attempting to kick the ball into the back of the net, with elbows flying, jerseys being tugged, and people being knocked to the ground.
Except, in the airport terminal, there is no referee blowing a whistle at obvious fouls.
Then, once on the plane, the poor flight attendants have to deal with the apparently clueless passengers clogging the aisle, trying to put their multiple, over-sized bags into the overhead storage area intended for use by two or three people, and not just them.
Finally, the flight attendants get to be the “bad guy” by telling the trampled, last boarders, who are just now picking themselves up off the terminal floor, that they must gate check the bags they packed with their valuables and breakable stuff, which they thought would be in the plane with them, and will now—sometimes by getting dropped twenty feet down onto the pavement—be flung into the belly of the plane at the last moment.
The inhumanity of it all created a bad (l)atitude by Spud Hilton, the senior travel editor of the respected San Francisco Chronicle, to create a tidal wave of affirmations (but, also subsequent renunciations—more on that in a moment), as well as identifying a Twitter topic, hashtagged, #CarryOnShame.
“The passengers at the gate dragging roller luggage that is more the size of a clown car than a carry-on.
…we’re asking travelers at the airport (past security) to look for examples of “carry-on shame,” to take pictures or videos of the obviously oversized “carry-on” luggage and post them…”
This movement was quickly picked up by numerous national media, which tended—and trended—to find the topic to be a sore subject for many a traveler.
But, it was not just the issue, itself, that picked at a few scabs, but the method of drawing attention to it that also caused a little consternation among others, including a successful travel writer, Matt Villano, who, along with many others, felt that,
“This whole #CarryOnShame campaign to “out” airline carry-on policy offenders publicly is an embarrassment. It’s passive-aggressive. It’s rude. And, at its core, it is bullying. Do I think people brazenly violate these policies? Yes. Do I think surreptitiously photographing the offenders and posting the “evidence” on social media is the right way to handle the situation? HELL NO. If you have a problem with someone’s carry-on abuse, report it to a flight attendant or a gate agent. Nobody is going to change the system by prancing around this issue like a high-school prankster. If you want change, set an example, practice kindness, take a stand, and advocate constructively.”
I can’t say whether the “movement” will, or will not, lead to positive changes, so I’d rather not wade any deeper into the public pool of social media, especially since I respect the opinion and experience of both Villano and Hilton.
In the meantime, to make matters even more interesting, the luggage labyrinth has just become an even more challenging conundrum, now that the airlines have recently reduced the size of carry-on luggage.
Of course, the first question is whether they will continue to ignore what is being rolled right past them and onto the airplane.
If…and when…the carry-on luggage cops start actually enforcing what size—and how many—bags they let you take on the plane, I am assuming that enforcement will be part of the TSA screening process.
That got me thinking that I might make a little money by facilitating carry-on baggage hoarders.
So, look for me at the ticket counter as you first enter the airport, and for a mere $20, I will offer to carry on that extra bag that you insist you must have on the plane with you.
I initially thought my scheme to be foolproof (just as a fool would think)…only until Number One Daughter pointed out a…ah…small hurdle that I would have to negotiate.
Hey, what’s the worst that could happen from accepting luggage from strangers at an airport?
Oh, yeah. And, there’s that other thing…