Stressed-Out Gate Agent Will Not Tolerate Tiny Purses On United Airlines Flights

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by sobore, Aug 8, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://consumerist.com/2012/08/stre...e-tiny-purses-on-united-airlines-flights.html

    Jarrod and his wife were returning from their vacation, flying United. Their flight was delayed, and they encountered a gate at 3 A.M. with a single employee working. They went to board their flight, and Mrs. Jarrod had a camera bag, a large shoulder bag, and a tiny travel pouch over her arm. Other airline personnel overlooked the tiny pouch, not even counting it as a "bag" for carry-on luggage purposes. Instead, the agent became just a little unhinged, not allowing Mrs. Jarrod on the flight until she nestled the little bag inside one of her other bags.

    Wait, if one bag fits inside the other, what is the problem exactly?

    My wife was carrying a camera bag, a large bag (kind of like an oversized purse) and a very small travel pouch/purse over her shoulder. Yes, we realize that we're supposed to be limited to "one carry on item and one personal item", but the small shoulder pouch barely took up any space and we thought it insignificant. In fact, we didn't have any issues boarding the flight from Hawaii to San Francisco.

    As the agent scanned my wife's ticket, he looked her over and as she started to walk away he shouted at her, "you can't carry on three bags! You're limited to just two." My wife asked why since the small purse was so very insignificant. He said "it's the airline policy and that she would need to put the smaller purse into one of the other bags." My wife, said "OK, I'll do it" and started to walk down the jetway. He yelled at her again, "NO, RIGHT NOW!" Embarrassed, my wife fumbled about trying to put her small purse into the larger bag... and he proceeded to delay the boarding while he watched her put the purse into her larger bag. Laying it on top of the open larger bag/purse wasn't enough. It had to be inside the bag. She eventually shoved it in and started walking down the jetway without additional issue.

    Read More: http://consumerist.com/2012/08/stre...e-tiny-purses-on-united-airlines-flights.html
     
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  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    One person's tiny purse is another person's steamer trunk. Or semi-tiny camera bag. Or ...

    Not going to comment on the tone of the interaction as I wasn't there and only see one side here.
     
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  3. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    The GA could've been nicer about it, but rules are rules. No sympathy here.
     
  4. DeacFlyer1
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    DeacFlyer1 Silver Member

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    I really don't think this is that unusual, and don't understand why this is a story. I've seen this happen a number of times. The GA always makes the person consolidate to two bags before letting them down the jetway.

    I agree it can be a bit silly if you have a really small third item--but understand that it's the rule and it may be enforced, so have a plan in place to quickly put it inside of something, and you'll avoid the "embarrassment" described above.
     
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  5. wombat18
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    wombat18 Silver Member

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    Gosh I feel for the gate agents. The things that people insist they must carry on-board, all the while denying any knowledge of the limits. And the attitude of entitlement that some people unleash on the staff is downright unbearable sometimes.

    However, I get the feeling that United created this problem (by encouraging folks to carry-on their big bags, as a result of baggage charges; purchasing planes with small overhead bins; and overstressing their gate agents) and probably deserves the bad press they might get from this over-blown behavior.
     
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  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Do you think that United really had a choice? Once some airlines started shifting necessary fare increases to fees for checked bags, how could some choose not to do that without being at a disadvantage? WN gets away with it because their fares aren't shown in comparison to the other carriers and they have the reputation of being the low fare carrier, but notice that their Airtran subsidiary is actually charging for bags.

    As for the small overhead bins... well, they used to be big enough (except perhaps on the 767, which seemed to be a complete mis-design) and probably would still be sufficient if people were to use the space under the seat in front of them for their smaller items. Alas, no one wants that if avoidable (including me), and the airline is actually installing larger bins on many aircraft.
     
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  7. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    And sometimes the reverse. I have a bag that doesn't count in carryons because it's only for medical equipment that can't be checked. I've gotten a lot of grief about that, too, though never from a foreign carrier.
     
  8. sendbillmoney

    sendbillmoney Silver Member

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    If it's truly "insignificant," then comply with the "one carry on item and one personal item" rule and be done with it.

    ~~ Tiny purses ... in the liiiiiiiine ~~
     
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  9. ella
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    ella Silver Member

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    I've seen gate agents require consolidation many times, and not just on United. Two is the rule, has been for a long time, and most people know the rule yet choose to believe it does not apply to them.
     
  10. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I was flying LH from India to FRA a few years ago. I think it was the airport (not LH) that was handing out up to two bag tags for each passenger's carry-ons, which were to be attached and inspected and stamped at security. When I got to the gate, I de-consolidated, i.e., took a little nap-sack with headset, inflatable pillow and eReader out of the tagged bag so I could put it into my seat pocket and get out of the aisle and settle down faster (those flights depart at 2 am or so, and I was hoping to be asleep before wheels up).

    At the door to the walkway to the jetway, the GA scanned the boarding pass and then a security guy inspected the carry-on bags and of course found that I didn't have a tag on my nap-sack. I briefly explained to him that I had taken it out of the backpack, and he ordered me to put it back in. This would have been my time to raise all hell about the ridiculous policy... but I figured I'd get into sleeping position faster if I did as he said. Ten steps beyond the bag check I had to stop in the boarding line and once again started de-consolidating.

    Yes, *I* knew it was ridiculous because *I* knew there was plenty of space in my backpack. Still not worth arguing .... pick the fights you can actually win.
     
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  11. Mark
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    Mark Admin Staff Member

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    Having to deal with people like this all day when enforcing a policy you may not even agree with ---> stressed out gate agent.

    That said though, being in a customer service position requires a lot of patience and yelling at a customer (in front of other customers) is probably never the best move.
     
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  12. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    UA policy

    http://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/travel/Pages/BaggageCarry-On.aspx

    In addition to one carry-on item, you may bring one personal item such as a shoulder bag, backpack, laptop bag or an item of similar size.
    The following items are not counted toward your one bag and one personal item limit:
    • Overcoat or wrap
    • Umbrella
    • A reasonable amount of reading material
    • Pet carrier (fees apply)
    • A collapsible wheelchair
    • Child restraint seat meeting FAA approval standards
    • Camera
    • Diaper bag
    • A limited amount of duty-free merchandise or food purchased in the airport
    • Assistive devices (a cane, one set of crutches, prescription medications and any medical devices needed to administer the medications, a portable oxygen concentrator (POC), etc.)

    Small and portable electronic items do not need to be removed from their carrying cases.
     
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  13. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    Well then she should have put her purse in a duty free / or plastic food bag. :)
     
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  14. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Anyone have any recommendations for a large diaper bag? :D
     
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  15. thegrailer
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    thegrailer Silver Member

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    This does seem to be the exception to use.

     
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  16. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    :rolleyes: Now I guess I need to learn to save duty free bags. :rolleyes:
     
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