In late May of this year, Air Canada announced that they will begin to enforce the carry-on baggage allowance at major airports across Canada. Last week, I travelled on Air Canada and experienced this process first hand. I must say, I was quite impressed.
At check-in, Air Canada had several staff members approaching everyone at check-in to assess their carry-on baggage, measuring it if required and then affixing a “Carry-On Approved” sticker as shown.
Upon my arrival at the gate, I was pleasantly surprised to see how the majority of travellers had appropriately sized carry-on luggage.
This was a dramatic improvement over all of my previous flying experiences, especially after Air Canada introduced their policy to charge a $25 fee for the first checked bag. When they implemented that policy, almost everyone had 3 bags and usually one of them was oversized. This is extremely aggravating for us business travelers who generally speaking have appropriately sized carry-on that cannot be checked. I used to dread the boarding process, looking at all of the other travelers with all of their huge bags and stressing out over if I will have room for mine. To get around this, I would always book a seat near the rear of the aircraft so that I would board first and if the overhead bins above my seat were already full, I could stow my briefcase in any bin in front of my seat.
In spite of Air Canada’s efforts to enforce their carry-on policy, there were a handful of passengers who slipped through the cracks like this lady in the photo below.
From her bag tags, I could see she was a frequent traveler so there is no excuse. While boarding the aircraft in single file, she even had the nerve to push me aside and bud in front of me! Now that most certainly isn’t frequent flyer etiquette!
After boarding was complete, the flight attendants announced that the overhead bins were full and asked some passengers to volunteer checking their bags. I’m still not sure exactly how this happened since >90% of the passengers had appropriate carry-on. However, I suppose all it takes are a few Carry-on Cows like that woman to slip through the cracks and disrupt the system. In the end our flight was delayed approximately 20 minutes as the flight attendants tried to find passengers who were willing to check their bags.
So overall, the enforcement process was great not but entirely effective. In my opinion, I think that it would be much more effective if at the security checkpoint, all carry-on bags should be double-checked to make sure that they have the “Carry-On Approved” tag and passengers who have more than 2 bags, should not be permitted to go through security.
Safe travels my friends and don’t be shy to speak-up to those Carry-on Cows!