Get Ready to Rumble Over the Overhead Bins

I am at 28,000 feet aboard an Embraer regional jet, flying from Hartford to Pittsburgh. I read a story in the Wall St. Journal that did not bode well for me and my fellow travelers.

The story was called “The Space Race: A Battle Looms for the Overhead Bins,” and was about how the newly enacted fees by American, United and USAir charging passengers for checking bags will mean more and more of us will try to cram more bags into the overhead bins. And it won’t be pretty, because there just is not enough room.

Airlines are ultimately hoping that travelers will just pack less, since weight equals fuel costs and this is what’s killing them. One thing we will be seeing soon are those metal racks that your carry-ons must fit into. There were taken away but they will be back, and soon, we may experience that tap on the shoulder which means that we have to surrender our suitcase and not try to bring it aboard. That happened to me on this flight, but even though they took away my suitcase, they didn’t charge me. The overhead bins on this Brazilian-made jet are ridiculously tiny, leaving a crowd of us waiting on the jetway in Pittsburgh for our ‘carry-ons’ to be returned to us.

But there will be a way of doing this, at the gate there will be scanners that can read a credit or debit card to exact the $15 fee for the first bag checked.

One traveler, quoted in the story, said he wishes that airlines would just raise their farese instead of piling up new fees. “Any business that charges less than its costs deserves to go bankrupt,” he said.