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Airlines crack down on oversize carry-on luggage

POSTED: August 10, 2014 1:00 p.m.
Jodi Jacobson, ©istockphoto.com/JodiJacobson/

If a passengers carry-on doesn't fit, they could end up paying to have it checked.

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Some airlines are fed up with oversized carry-on bags. They’re cracking down on fliers who hold up boarding times as they try to heave oversized luggage into overhead bins.

“I have noticed a lot of oversized carry-ons,” said traveler Brian Kehoe.

He is not the only one who has noticed what people are trying to cram into overhead bins lately.

“I saw somebody try to get their child seat on,” said another traveler, Martin Palmer. “This thing was massive. It didn’t even come close (to fitting).”

Then there's the frustration of waiting behind a fellow traveler while they squeeze an impossibly large pack into a bin.
“They had to lift it up this high, and really shove it, and then they had to bring it down,” said traveler Lynn Hart. “There wasn’t enough space. It was just bad.”

Several airlines are taking a harder line with carry-on abusers. United Airlines installed new bag-sizing boxes at most airports. If a passenger’s carry-on doesn't fit, they could end up paying to have it checked.

“I’ve noticed a lot lately, when traveling a little bit more this summer, a lot of people are getting rejected and having (bags) loaded from the gate,” Palmer said.

Delta Airlines also added sizing boxes. A ticketing agent said they've stepped up their watch for oversized bags.
Frontier Airlines started charging passengers $25 to $50 for the privilege of storing stuff overhead. The airlines insist it's all about avoiding delays and ensuring all passengers have space left for them.

Not all passengers buy that, and some think the airline is just trying to make more money.

One of Deborah Taylor's carry-ons got rejected. Although she packed it with pottery she bought in Europe, it got sent to "under the plane."

“Everyone tries to save money and carry luggage on,” she said. “We’re all kind of doing it, so we don’t have to pay to keep your luggage under the plane.”

The airlines have different limits on what they allow.

A bag measuring 22 x 14 x 9 inches deep can be carried onto a Delta, American, or United flight. Others carriers allow a few more inches.

So, it might pay to check an airline's website for baggage limits and measure carry-on bags before heading to the airport.

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