By now you’ve probably heard the squeals and speculation about a purported change in United’s carry on baggage policy.
You may be quaking in your boots fearful of a new army of United baggage police stationed at security checkpoints or gates demanding that your slightly pudgy bag be banished to the belly of the plane. And that you’ll have to wait forever to collect it from a dark and distant baggage carousel.
The problem is that United’s policy has NOT changed. Here’s what you need to know:
As always, bags must be no larger than 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches– the size of a standard wheeled suitcase that nearly every frequent traveler carries. An additional personal item, such as a shoulder bag, backpack, laptop bag or other small item, should be no larger than 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches. Here’s United’s policy.
A United spokesperson told TravelSkills that the carrier has been getting an increasingly large number of complaints from customers who obey the rules… about customers who do not. (How many times have you grumbled when you see those steamer trunks rolling down the aisle and thought, “Someone should really say something!”?)
To help stem the tide of oversized bags somehow making it through security and to the gate, United recently rolled out a new version of its luggage sizer (see photo). It also mounted a communications blitz about its policy with a post on the United Hub blog last November, and more recently, an email sent to MileagePlus members about it. And it has asked front line employees to be more cognizant of blatant offenders.
That’s it. After this blows over, I’m sure we’ll see United, like all other airlines, revert to the good old “case by case basis.” Which means, if your flight is full, you are late to board, and your carry-on bag is obnoxiously large, you’ll be asked to gate check it.
If, like most frequent travelers, you’ve learned to live out of your 9″x 14″x 22″ (-ish) carryon bag and briefcase, fear not and carry on!
Is it fair for United to enforce its longstanding rules? Have you noticed United employees cracking down on anything other than blatant offenders? Please leave your comments below.
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