Gate/Valet Checking Bags to ORD?

Old Feb 19th, 2008, 04:33 AM
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Gate/Valet Checking Bags to ORD?

I heard someone suggest that carry-on bags can't be valet checked for flights arriving at ORD. Is that correct? Or is it an airline policy?

I flew to ORD on United this past weekend. Since I was in an aisle seat in Economy Plus, I was one of the last to board, and -- lucky me -- there was no room left in the overheads for my regulation 22" rollaboard (and the FAs made no effort to move all the extra coats and bags stuffed up there). Rather than gate checking my bag, they put it in the main luggage hold, forcing me to collect it at baggage claim (which added 45 minutes to my airport odyssey, not to mention making us drive into rush hour traffic, etc.).

This is a worrisome practice. It's bad enough that the airline permits people to take more stuff aboard than they are allowed, and not put anything under the seats in front of them, so that unlucky saps like me have no room. But my carry-on -- which I expect to CARRY ON with me -- is not locked, and contains medication, necessities and sometimes valuables in it. I really hate to play the checked luggage lottery with it when I specifically packed the items I was most concerned about in it.

I'm not about to act like some people I have seen, who will remove other people's coats and extras to make room, since this is the FA's job. So what can I do next time?

Callaloo is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2008, 05:38 AM
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1. Valet checking does go in the main cargo hold; it just comes out first and goes to the jetway instead of main baggage claim. This is a very expensive process.

2. Don't depend on the FA's to rearrange people's coats etc. Do it yourself, neatly and gently, as you wouldlike your own to be treated, and ask the FA to intervene if you see a problem developing with your fellow passengers.

3. Finally, much as we hate it, did you consider putting your own carryon under your feet? Like you, I have medications in mine that I can't do without, and the discomfort of having them under my feet is outweighed by the peace of mind knowing they are there. I have only had to do this once this winter and actually was able to make room for the rollaboard above and only have the computer bag under the seat in front.
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 06:00 AM
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Ackislander, my rollaboard wouldn't have fit under the seat in front of me -- hence the problem. (All I had was the rollaboard and a small handbag.)

And frankly, I'm not prepared to rearrange bags and coats. Especially since we well know that people are parking their excess baggage at row 6 and then heading back to row 22 because they don't want to be encumbered. Although I'm not a fan of Southwest, at least on those flights, the FAs enforce the carrier's rules and do take down coats and handbags and other stuff that can be stowed elsewhere.

I didn't realize that valet-checked bags went in the main cargo hold. I guess they are only marginally less exposed to theft or loss because they don't go into the bowels of the airport out of sight; but I've heard of valet checked bags being targeted by tarmac thieves because they are more likely than regularly-checked baggage to have the good stuff. I did have the presence of mind, on my return trip, to pull my medications out and carry them in my handbag, since I knew my roller would be valet-checked on the RJ I flew back. The worst thing is expecting to carry on your bag only to have it taken away.

I guess the answer is a bigger handbag...
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 07:10 AM
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sorry - but I honestly don't think it is the flight attendants' responsibility to make room for your bag. They might help but you can't expect it. Either do it yourself or be prepared to check the bag . . . . .
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 07:20 AM
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I was on a full flight about two weeks ago where they must have asked about a half dozen times during boarding to please refrain from putting large coats in the overheads--and people were still doing it. I don't think there's much else that they can do. If the flight attendants have to go through and address each overhead, one by one, the flight will never go out on time, and that's one of the airline's key measures.

I've had to check my rollaboard sometimes when flying standby and I'm one of the last ones on. It's always gone in the hold and then been sent to baggage claim (United and American). The bigger problem has been that, several times, it was put on the next flight and I had to wait at the airport for it.
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