One cubic foot. That’s roughly how much volume airlines grant you for the 9 inch x 10 inch x 17 inch “personal item” that goes under your seat. It’s a tiny allowance. Sure, you have a bit more space in your bag stored in the overhead bin. But nowadays many airlines are charging you for overhead bin access (THANKS, basic economy). Even if they don’t, nobody wants to be that guy who gets up every hour to get things from the overhead bin — especially if you’re sitting in the window seat.
So if you fly frequently, you put a lot of thought into what goes into your under-the-seat-in-front-of-you storage. The contents of your inflight go-bag are probably a good window into your personality and priorities when it comes to flying. In the spirit of sharing, I’ve compiled a list of the five essential things that I always have in my carry-on bag. Some cover the basics necessities, some are for fun, and some are for the AvGeek in me. And once you’re done reading my list, let’s hear what’s on yours!
So little space. So much potential!
Familiar to anyone? Perhaps we could change this scene?
On a recent flight, I was getting myself situated in my seat, while boarding continued around me. I had boarded in Group 1 (thank you Star Gold) and was waiting for the other people in my row to join me. It was about halfway through the boarding process of the fully sold-out flight that I saw something that shocked me. A passenger was carrying a giant hiking pack through the aisle, heading for their seat. I was blown away that this giant backpack somehow made it past the gate agents and on-board the aircraft. Surely this person was not seriously thinking that a giant backpack like that would pass as “carry on.” But sadly, it had.
Allegiant Air MD-83 (N865GA) at LAX
Allegiant Air has announced they are looking into the possibility of charging passengers a carry-on baggage fee. As reported by AviationWeek, Allegiant Air President Andrew Levy stated the carry-on baggage fees are “intriguing,” during a presentation at the Low-Cost Airlines World Americas conference on May 3rd.
Currently, Spirit Airlines is the only US-based airline that charges for carry-on bags. They too are an ultra low cost carrier and first received a lot of flack when they announced the new fees. However, it doesn’t seem to bother travelers enough, since the airline has continued to make additional profit on the fees. For the first quarter of 2011, Spirit doubled their bag fee revenue compared to first quarter 2010 and average non-ticket revenue per passenger increased by 37.9%.
Remember, weight costs money. The more an airplane and its contents weighs, the more fuel (and money) it takes to fly. It might anger most people thinking about paying another fee, but why should someone with no luggage pay for someone with luggage? More importantly, why would airlines turn down this revenue maker? Charging for carry-ons doesn’t cause health concerns or kill anyone, so why do passengers keep acting like it is the end of the world to charge for carry-ons?
When asked what Allegiant’s future plans are for charging a carry-on bag fee, Jordan McGee Director of Allegian Corporate Communications explained, “It’s really too premature to provide any further info on potential charges for carry-ons.” However, she confirmed that Allegiant is, “considering it.”
For me, this is not a huge surprise and I have been waiting for Allegiant to announce such a fee. Allegiant’s model of providing cheap prices, with fees for everything beyond getting you from point A to B seems to welcome a new fee like this. You better believe other airlines are watching how Spirit and Allegiant are doing with carry-on fees and it might not just be ultra low cost carriers having them in the too near distant future.
Image: Brandon Farris