Poll: Do you check your bag?

If you have read this blog for any period of time you’ve probably recognized my obsession with carrying on my suitcase whenever possible. It saves time, money, and my sanity–what’s not to like? In my experience most of my fellow business travelers are like me in this respect–they hate checking their bag and will do whatever they have to to avoid it.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a story about how business travelers file official complaints more often than personal travelers when traveling.  The findings came from an American Customer Satisfaction Index survey. In that same survey it asked business and personal fliers “Did you pay fees to check luggage on your most recent flight?” The options were “No-Did not Check” and “Yes-Checked Bag”. First of all, before I address the results I want to point out that there should be a third option that says “No-Checked with no fee.”  It’s just so easy to see the question as “Did you pay a fee…” And one could be selecting “No-Did not Check” when in reality they checked but just didn’t get charged a fee. See what I mean? On the very few occasions that I check my bag I certainly don’t pay a fee, mostly because of my status. What does that mean?  Well it means that even more business travelers could be checking their bags than this survey is giving credit for, which I want to talk about.


Even with the possible skued results this survey says at least 42% of business travelers regularly check their bags, while only 31% of personal fliers check their bags in the survey.  Seriously??  I have to say, I’m really surprised by these numbers.  I’m surprised that so many business travelers check their bags, and I’m baffled that they check their bags more than personal travelers.  In the story part of the results it says that business travelers could be checking their bag more because they are either being reimbursed or have a perk where they don’t have to pay to check (which again I wish was broken out in the survey results).  It also says not having to compete for overhead bin space and hauling around luggage are incentives to check.

I don’t know about you guys, but even though I never pay to check my bag  I still won’t check it. The payment is not the point! Here are the main reasons I recommend for business travelers to not check their bag:

It saves time. This is the most important reason! When you go to the the airport as often as a frequent business traveler you want to minimize the time spent as much as possible. That means not waiting in line to check your bag, and that definitely means not waiting at baggage claim once you arrive. There are far more important things to spend time one, like work and sleep. This is especially true if you are traveling with others. If everyone in your group has their bag and they are all waiting on your enormous suitcase at baggage claim, let’s just say it just doesn’t make you the favorite.

The airline is less likely to lose your bag. Raise your hand if an airline has Ever lost your bag, or you have made it to your destination before your suitcase. I’m sure even if you carry on the airline could still find a way to magically lose your bag. That being said, the chances are hugely diminished if you don’t give it to them in the first place. The first time this happened to me on a work trip the one bag that didn’t make it was full of irreplaceable items that I needed immediately–makeup, shoes, and a tablecloth for a vendor expo. After a late night trip to Target where I spent way too much money I swore I would never check my bag again.

So what about you, readers?  Do you regularly check your bag?  Take our poll below.

Do you regularly check your bag?

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  1. I always check for biz and personal. All of my flights consist of a leg each way on an E145,so I’d have to gate check on that flight anyway. Because I try for short connections, I don’t have time to wait 10-15 mins for my valet checked bag to come up. It’s free with my Explat status (up to 70 lbs, which is especially nice on my 2 week trips when I take my 26″ or 29″ bag, otherwise I still check my carryon size bag). In my case (and anyone else that doesn’t fly out of a bigger airport) it doesn’t save time to valet. I also have to lug a roller board computer bag (my mobile office) and purse, so those are my 2 items. My roller board fits in the E145 overhead bin.

    I think leisure travelers check less because they are more likely to have to pay a fee because no status. They survey seems right (except the obvious missing category you pointed out).

  2. Also because of status or kiosks, I have never had to wait more than 5 min in line to check the bag. I do take the calculated risk of my bag not appearing in baggage claim. It’s happened both to and from a work site and it sucks, but I’ve never not had delivery to my location (home or hotel, sometimes up to 2 hours away) within a reasonable period of time. The benefits of checking for me (item count, connection time saver, free) outweigh the rare chance of that risk being realized.

  3. I’ve always been the type to check my luggage, whether it’s for personal or business travel. I’ve only had 2 instances in 10 years where luggage didn’t arrive with me and both times it was delivered to home/hotel in a very reasonable amount of time. As much as I travel, I welcome the break from lugging a bag around the airport and killing my back/shoulders/neck. With status, I don’t have to wait in long lines to check and don’t have to pay so it’s a no-brainer for me. Even if I did have to pay, the money I save in Chiropractic visits more than makes up for it! I also prefer to sit at the back of the plane (I’m a bit of a business traveler anomaly, what can I say) so by the time I get off the plane and over to baggage claim I can typically walk right up and grab my bag. I agree with Maolin that the benefits far outweigh the minor risk of a bag not showing up.

  4. I haven’t checked a bag in years. In the old days the airlines regularly lost my bags. First I had to wait 1/2 – 1 hour for the bag which never showed up, then stand in line to file a claim for it. There was so much lost time! I hated lugging it around.
    I can get everything I need into a carry on. Many times I have a lot of paperwork. I put that in my main bag along with my clothes. Then I have a laptop bag for my computer and in-flight kit. I love the freedom and more importantly, peace of mind. I never have to worry about things disappearing.

  5. I prefer checking, but only do so when absolutely necessary because of the fees. I’m on CPAP, so I’m occasionally traveling with 3 items on the plane (federal law requires medical equipment be exempted from the item count), and that’s just too much to keep track of.

  6. I prefer to stay in shape. I wear a size 14 shoe and need the gym shoes to work out. Thus often I check a bag simply so I can take gym and business shoes. I’d love to hear alternative solutions for this.

  7. I always check my bag and always will-I hate hauling the stuff around. I have never lost luggage in 60 years of regular flying, for business or pleasure and in my view the extra cost is worth it.

  8. I always check my bag, on principle, as I don’t like dragging it around. Further, on my last trip, I used a luggage delivery service, Luggage Free. It worked like a charm, and I loved being able to go to the airport with only a handbag and coat. I will definitely consider it for future trips: it was more than worth the extra cost.

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