How many of you have sat on a plane while the final group boards and easily finds places for all of their carryons? Now, how many of you have sat on a plane, waiting to depart, as flight attendants frantically gate check bag after bag? Frequent fliers know the second scenario is way more likely, and much more frustrating. The introduction of bag fees several years ago, plus the general increase of plane tickets, has led to a situation where no one wants to pay $50 round trip to check their bag.
So I’m going to go out on a limb here. When you check in, take a look at your boarding pass. If you are in the final boarding group, check your bag. It will make things way less stressful for you (and everyone else on the plane!) if when you board you just sit down in your seat, as opposed to getting on the plane, fighting your way to the back for the last spot in the overhead bin, realizing it’s full, then fighting your way back to the front so the flight attendant can check it.
If you’re concerned about cost (which is the main reason non- frequent fliers don’t check their bags), there are a few ways to check your bag for reduced cost or free. Most (if not all) of the legacy carriers have a credit card that allows one free checked bag. Often if you pay online, prior to arriving at the airport, you can get a reduced rate. And of course, one option is to fly carriers (like Southwest) that don’t charge for checked bags. (Seriously—if you are a non-frequent flier on Southwest, CHECK YOUR BAG!! There is NO reason not to.)
I know what you’re going to say. “Road Warriorette doesn’t understand! She gets to board first and never has trouble finding room for her bags!” But I get it, I do! Checking your bag will just make things way easier for you if you are in the final boarding group. And if everyone does it, it will be way easier for the whole plane.
For those of you on a budget, who are never going to check your bag unless it’s free, please, PLEASE make sure that it fits in the overhead bin space! Also, as a commenter mentioned below, make sure you put your smaller carry-on under the seat in front of you. If everyone did that it would also save a TON of room.
Readers, what do you think? Should people in the last boarding group pre-emptively check their bags?