You were on the right track when you said that "Many travelers . . . [are] worried about saving half an hour on their way out of the airport." However, that point needs to be expanded. Specifically, many of us carry everything onto a plane simply because we just hate to wait, and wait and then wait some more at baggage claim.
If our bags would be waiting for us when we got to baggage claim, then we would never carry more than a briefcase or purse.
JOHN L. WILLIAMS
Speaking for what I feel is the majority of travelers, it is about time that the airlines bite the bullet, provide the carry-on policy and in turn arm their crews with the authority to control this abusive habit.
Granted, the airlines themselves must provide a safe and efficient luggage handling service outside of the cabin. But for passengers to ignore and for crews to placate the gross injustice applied to those who follow the rules--this must stop. Inconsiderate behavior has no place on a tightly packed airplane.
One small under-the-seat bag, plus one small item. That's it. Overhead bins should be for lightweight items such as coats and hats. People put very heavy items overhead. In turbulence, the compartments fly open and those anvil-laden suitcases sail out with a vengeance. Enough already.
Three years ago I would have agreed with your column. However, I now feel the airlines have only themselves to blame for the plethora of carry-on baggage.
Three summers ago my husband and I flew from Los Angeles to Frankfurt with a change of planes in Chicago. When we arrived in Frankfurt, my suitcase was missing. As we were immediately taking the train to Prague, the airline people took our information and promised to send the bag on to us. I was not wearing my walking shoes on the airplane and was unable to find shoes to fit in Prague. Five days and many blisters and bandages later, a message was delivered to us that we could pick up my bag at the Prague airport! We trekked to the airport, only to spend two hours trying to get someone to find and give us the bag.
Needless to say, I have been thinking seriously about carrying on my luggage during our forthcoming trip to Italy.
ALEXA SMITH MAXWELL
You state to the effect that while many people who take only carry-on luggage say they do this for better security, you believe that they really want to save the wait in the baggage area. That is a presumptuous statement to make without documentation to back it.
I can say unequivocally that you are wrong as regards to my wife and me. We carry on luggage to ensure that we still have our bags when we get to our destination. The wait is immaterial.
LEE F. MELLINGER
The real problem is flight attendants not controlling carry-on offenders. A few passengers bring aboard bags that should obviously be checked. . Some airlines have a bag-sizing box by the gate, but the attendants never enforce the rule.
JOHN A. SELECKY