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When is it a good idea to check carry-on bag?

OhioMac54
posts: 152
reviews: 2
When is it a good idea to check carry-on bag?

I'm getting ready to fly BA from Chicago to London. A friend tells me that the most efficient way to handle luggage (meets carry-on sizing) is to carry it down the jetway to the plane and then check it with the stewardess as I enter the plane. He claims that way the bag will make the flight and it will be off loaded after arriving in London and ready to pick up as I get off the plane, therefore saving a trip to baggage claim and also guarantees the bag will make the flight and not get lost. Is it really this easy?

18 replies to this topic
Sydney, Australia
posts: 402
reviews: 76
1. Re: When is it a good idea to check carry-on bag?

If it is a carry on bag, why not carry it on the plane and put it in the overhead locker? Perhaps I'm missing something.

I have seen some oversized bags checked the entry of the plane. I've also seen them thrown from the air bridge to the ground, then thrown onto the loading belt. Those bags are then unloaded with the rest of the luggage.

I think that your friend's idea is not sound. I wouldn't do it.

OhioMac54
posts: 152
reviews: 2
2. Re: When is it a good idea to check carry-on bag?

His argument is that on most long flights the overhead storage areas are often full. He carries a small bag with a few supplies and checks his larger carry-on bag on the jetway to make sure his clothes make it to the airport the same time he does (I think he has experienced lost luggage in the past). He claims the bag is off loaded and waiting at the end of the jetway when he completes his flight.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 63,728
reviews: 12
3. Re: When is it a good idea to check carry-on bag?

I have never encountered a long-haul flight where you can check bags with the cabin crew. If you carry a bag onto the plane, it is expected that you will stow it in the overhead locker or under the seat in front.

Your friend may have been thinking of some commuter flights on small planes, where passengers walk across the tarmac and up the plane's steps. These often have a rack at the bottom of the stairs where carry-ons can be left. On arrival at the destination, the carry-ons are placed on a similar rack for collection.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 19,383
reviews: 5
4. Re: When is it a good idea to check carry-on bag?

A friend tells me that the most efficient way to handle luggage (meets carry-on sizing) is to carry it down the jetway to the plane and then check it with the stewardess as I enter the plane. He claims that way the bag will make the flight and it will be off loaded after arriving in London and ready to pick up as I get off the plane,

======

Your friend is wrong.

That form of "gate checking", where you get your bag back at the gate, is only available on commuter flights on regional jets and turbo props where the overhead bins are too small to hold regular carry ons.

Luggage that is checked at the gate on mainline flights is checked into the hold (as if you checked it at bag drop pre security) and delivered to baggage claim at your final destination.

Edited: 1:28 am, July 22, 2014
OhioMac54
posts: 152
reviews: 2
5. Re: When is it a good idea to check carry-on bag?

Shoot. Thought it was too good to be true. Thanks for the responses.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 19,383
reviews: 5
6. Re: When is it a good idea to check carry-on bag?

OhioMac,

I'm not sure what you're trying to achieve here. If you just want to take a carry on, just take a carry on. BA's carry on allowance is very generous, up to 23kg weight wise.

If you're looking to take two carry on size bags and then "gate check" one of them to collect plane size, then that won't work.

But, if you're wanting to do that to save time waiting at bag claim then in all probability it won't matter. You'll need to clear UK immigration (passport control) at Heathrow, which could take up to 45 minutes (though it usually takes me about 20). Only after that do you get to baggage claim, so in all probability your checked bag will already be on the carousel or will be along in just a few minutes.

Edited: 1:47 am, July 22, 2014
Pacifica, California
Destination Expert
for Pacifica
posts: 6,132
reviews: 4
7. Re: When is it a good idea to check carry-on bag?

I've been on flights that were full, where the airline made an announcement that they were looking for volunteers willing to check their carry-on bags for free. If you volunteered, you'd drop your bag off at the end of the ramp, near the plane entrance. At the end of the flight, you have to go to the carousel where you wait to get your checked bag along with all the other luggage.There was nothing faster about it.

London, United...
posts: 19,333
reviews: 23
8. Re: When is it a good idea to check carry-on bag?

I understand what his friend is saying, basically instead of bag drop, just get to the gate with your over sized bag. When the gate agents see it's too big, they will gate check it because it won't be allowed on the plane and he can then pick it up on landing.

Never knew people did this on purpose. However what I don't know is when it's gate checked at lhr, assuming it's at boarding or just pre boarding, if the bag is just directly loaded onto the jet ie like buggies etc or what happens to it,,,because I've never done it myself lol.

Hong Kong, China
posts: 1,233
reviews: 23
9. Re: When is it a good idea to check carry-on bag?

USBusinessTraveler

23kg carry on Wow - that's incredible. When I flew with them Munich to London I thought it was only 10kg. could have done more shopping!

Edited: 3:33 am, July 22, 2014
Adelaide, Australia
posts: 10,173
reviews: 33
10. Re: When is it a good idea to check carry-on bag?

Froggy people do this all the time on regional flights in the USA I find it very irritating.

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