Following Up on Bag Check Rules by Joe Sharkey originally appeared in the New York Times on March 17, 2014. Here’s an excerpt…
And Barbara Quinn is skeptical about the “strangely misshapen” sizer boxes that are used to measure bags, which some other readers said don’t readily accommodate odd-size bags that are otherwise of reasonable size, like some backpacks.
So let’s not forget traveling musicians. A violin, viola or saxophone case does not fit in the standard sizer, for example. “My son is the violist of an internationally renowned string quarter. He travels about twice a month, all over the world,” said Judy Amory. It would be folly to consign a valuable, fragile instrument like that to the checked-bag system. “Musicians are an obvious category where one-size-fits-all simply cannot work,” she pointed out.
And of course, consider flight attendants, referees of the bag wars as they mediate passenger disputes and often physically hoist and pound bags into crammed overhead bins.
Heather Poole is a flight attendant for a major airline who wrote what I consider one of the most amusing books in the flight attendant memoir genre, “Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crash Pads, Crew Drama and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet” (2012). The bin wars are “my biggest peeve,” Ms. Poole said:
“I’ve had passengers actually take someone’s bag out of a bin to make room for their own bag, leaving the other person’s bag in the middle of the aisle for passengers behind them to step over. It’s out of control.”
1. “The Gift of Fear,” by Gavin De Becker, should be required reading for all men and women, especially for those of us who travel, particularly for women who travel alone. I’ve recommended this book to more flight attendants and passengers than anything thing else over the years. It’s saved my life more than once.
2. Skip the first floor. They’re easier to break into. That’s why you’ll never find a flight attendant below the second floor in a hotel. There’s a reason for that. It’s in our hotel contract.
3. Leave the lights and television on when you’re not in the room. Put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door. It gives the appearance that someone is occupying the room, so no one will break in.
4. Stay Healthy: Never leave home without a small antibacterial spray. A mini bottle of vodka works just as well. Hit up the remote, the light switches, doorknobs and taps. You don’t want to get sick while you’re stuck at a less than desirable layover hotel.
5. Walk with intent. Walk down the street like you have a place to be, like you know where you’re going and need to get there quickly. Do that and people will leave you alone.
This interview originally appeared on The Paul Harris Show
I predict this will be one of my most-downloaded interviews. It was certainly a lot of fun for me. On my America Weekend show, I talked with Heather Poole, who has been a flight attendant for major airlines for 15 years and has written about her adventures in “Cruising Altitude: Tales Of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet.” We talked about passengers trying to get into the mile high club (without bothering to move to the bathroom!), whether checked-luggage fees are causing havoc during the boarding process, and whether she has had many male passengers hit on her. She also revealed something I didn’t know about when the payday really starts for flight attendants, and what it’s like in the apartments they share in various cities during layovers.
They call it the Swinging Cup, even though it’s really a holder – a cup holder – that swings when you attach it to the handle of your suitcase. When the makers of this product contacted me about promoting it, I laughed, and then I listened, and then I decided to take it for a ride. Honestly, I didn’t think it would work, but it does! It works. And it’s kind of nice to be able to run from gate to gate with one hand free. Which is why I’m giving one away to a lucky reader. All you have to do is a leave a comment (ONE COMMENT) and I’ll pick one random winner on Monday, June 10, at 10pm.
Check out my Swinging Cup Vine video: https://vine.co/v/bIJYVFgWrJF
Photo credit: Heather Poole
Staying Zen at 30,000 Feet originally appeared on Marketwatch.com
Heather Poole, a flight attendant for a legacy carrier and author of the book “Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet,” thinks flyers have always been cranky but notes a peculiar lack of decorum in recent months.
“I’ve caught passengers taking other people’s luggage out of the bin to make room for their own bags,” she says. “I’m not joking. They’ll pull out a bag, drop it on the floor and walk away leaving it in the middle of the aisle for the passengers behind them to crawl over.”
Though travelers have always stuffed monster bags into pint-sized spaces, Poole notes that the practice as well as the bizarre bad behavior has become more prevalent since the onset of $25 baggage fees, the first unbundling move.
From time to time I get asked questions about bad passengers. I thought I’d share a few of them here.
What’s the worst passenger behavior you’ve witnessed?
I’ve caught passengers taking other people’s luggage out of the bin to make room for their own bags. I’m not joking. They’ll pull out a bag, drop it on the floor and walk away leaving it in the middle of the aisle for the passengers behind them to crawl over. Have you ever tried stepping over a 21-inch Rollaboard? Not easy. Happened three times last month!
Recently a woman tried to stow her suitcase in that, oh, what do you call that spot? Crevice? Crack? Between the overhead bin and the ceiling? There’s like a millimeter of space there! I don’t care which airline you’re traveling on, that’s not going to fit. Then there are the recliners and the anti-recliners. One anti-recliner got upset at a recliner because she couldn’t get her tray table down. I suggested if maybe she removed the gigantic fanny pack from around her waist it might go down. She looked at me like I was the crazy one! One man actually called me over because the passenger in front of him had reclined his seat. I had to point out that, uh … his seat was reclined too!
What’s the most common bad passenger behavior you’ve seen?
[photo credit: Telstar Logistics]