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Dec 09 2010

Coats in the overhead bin

Published by CPGgal at 11:50 pm under Things that annoy me,Transportation

December 9, 2010 – I haven’t flown with United Airlines in quite a while, but this week I had the opportunity to do so for an overnight business trip out to Chicago. The flight out from LGA was great, in fact it arrived 30 minutes early and the middle seat was empty. I am thinking wow, this wasn’t so bad. Well heading home is a whole different story.

I am actually typing this while I am in flight and my blood is back to a simmer from the boil that it was right before takeoff. Here is the situation. I am sitting in row 19C. There are 26 rows on the plane so I am thinking OK I am toward the back, so at least I will get to board first and insure that my carry-on luggage will have no issues finding overhead space.

I arrive at the airport 2 hours ahead of time. When I get to the gate there are about 27 empty seats according to a screen at the gate. My boarding number is 4. FOUR? What is up with that? I am at the back of the plane and I and the 4th group to board. That doesn’t seem right, well, no worries yet. As I am on the gateway, I am hearing announcement that no coats should go in the overhead bins to make room for roller bags. This seems fair, however as I approach the door to the plane I am told, sorry no more room, you will have to gate check your bag. I wasn’t happy, but OK, no more room, means no more room.

To my dismay, I get on board and notice a bunch of overheads stuffed with coats. THAT DOES IT. How rude that I have to check my bag because I was one of the last to board and a bunch of inconsiderate passengers have already filled the overhead bins not with luggage, but with coats. I couldn’t just sit here watching others stuffing their coats overhead while I not only have my coat on my lap, but my bag now needs to be picked up at the baggage claim. This will end up getting me home at least 30 minutes later than planned.

I decided to say something to the flight attendant. “Excuse me”, I say. “I thought the rule was no coats in the overhead bins until after all luggage has been brought on board”. She replies, “We can make the request, but we can’t force passengers not to put their coats in the bins”. Really I say, because I wasn’t allowed to bring my bag on board because I was told there was no room and clearly there is because coats are not supposed to go up there unless there is room”. She replies “it’s not my job to make people considerate”. Well, I am ready to boil and I tell her I am going to write a letter to United that first it’s ridiculous that the back of the plane doesn’t board first and second, if it’s not her job to insure passengers are complying with the rules, then whose job is it? She should have the authority to dump every coat out of the overhead bin until all bags are on board. She can make passengers buckle their seats, put their seat backs and tray tables up, but she can’t keep them from complying with no coats in the overhead bin? I find this preposterous.
Well here is the real kicker. The middle seats next to me and behind me are all empty, so who is taking up all the overhead space when the flight isn’t full. My coat got its own seat, which I would have gladly shared with other coats if only I could have been allowed to bring my bag on board.

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