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The New UA Not Checking Bags At The Gate?  
User currently offlineAlnessW From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 620 posts, RR: 1
Posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 3057 times:

Over spring break, I was flying PDX-SFO-BOS on the new UA. One noticeable change that I saw was how carry-on bags (specifically rollaboards) were handled at the gate.

My first flight, PDX-SFO was on a CRJ-200, so naturally (most) rollabaords were valet-checked on the tarmac, as always.

When boarding my connecting flight SFO-BOS on a 757, I was expecting that the agents would offer to check carry-on bags for free, like airlines almost always do. (However, my connection turned out to be very close, thanks to the usual weather delays in SFO - I should know better!) For this reason I didn't hear any of the boarding announcements - the final call was made upon my arrival at the gate. But I got the impression that no bags were offered to be checked at the podium.

When I got to the aircraft door, there was in fact an agent there with a stack of bag tags, but once again I got the impression that very few bags (if any) were checked. Because I was one of the last pax boarding that flight, naturally the flight attendants were latching bins shut left and right - very little room left for my bag. I assumed that my bag would have therefore needed to be checked manually, but I heard an FA tell another pax, "No, the baggage hold is closed, we are not checking anymore bags." The same FA then came over to me and said "Here, give me your bag. I'll see if there's room for this in the closet."

Sure enough, he did find a spot for it up in first class (though it might've actually been in a bin) and I was able to reclaim it there upon deplaning in BOS.

So... Why is this?

On my return trip, neither my BOS-SFO flight (757) nor my SFO-PDX flight (A320) offered to check bags. I even asked the gate agent in BOS if I needed to check may bag, as I was boarding in Group 7. He looked something up on his computer and said, "You should be OK." Turns out I was!

First off, what was he looking up on his computer? Secondly, how is it possible for a completely full 757 to depart on-time without checking a single bag, and during spring break travel? The reason I ask this is because I flew on a very similar flight one year before (BOS-SFO, again on a 757), and a LOT of bags had to be checked.

My SFO-PDX flight was the same - no bags were checked. I didn't even see an agent with a single bag tag.

So, my questions are essentially as follows:
1. Does UA no longer offer to check bags at the gate for free on mainline flights?
2. Does this have anything to do with the merger?
3. How do agents know that space is still available on-board?

  

Any other information would be most appreciated!   

3 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinedrerx7 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5192 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2968 times:

This probably should go in the general aviation forum...but to answer your question - as far as I know they do.
I flew them last month from LGA - IAH on a 757 and of course due to their silly new boarding, no one in the last group had bin space. All those bags were checked for free, so I'm not sure about what happened in your situations.



Third Coast born, means I'm Texas raised
User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9642 posts, RR: 52
Reply 2, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2862 times:

If I remember correctly, the policy was that if a flight is anticipated to have a load factor above 80%, they will offer to gate check bags. I’m not sure if they implemented it, but they intended to also have another criteria based on probability of bags needing to be gate checked. More bags get checked in the winter and to certain destinations.

They do not want to have to gate check bags if they do not have to. They can delay a flight due to loading and the lost baggage rate is much higher because they cannot be tracked via barcode. If there is space it is better to have it in the cabin.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineAlnessW From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2812 times:

Quoting drerx7 (Reply 1):
as far as I know they do.
I flew them last month from LGA - IAH on a 757 and of course due to their silly new boarding, no one in the last group had bin space.

I was expecting this as well, but this was indeed not the case for me...

Quoting drerx7 (Reply 1):
silly new boarding

What is the story on their new boarding groups, anyways?

Quoting drerx7 (Reply 1):
All those bags were checked for free, so I'm not sure about what happened in your situations.

That's what I'm trying to figure out...

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 2):
If I remember correctly, the policy was that if a flight is anticipated to have a load factor above 80%, they will offer to gate check bags.

And all of my flights were definitely more than 80% full, in fact they were all either completely full or oversold.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 2):
I’m not sure if they implemented it, but they intended to also have another criteria based on probability of bags needing to be gate checked. More bags get checked in the winter and to certain destinations.

This would make sense, but I'm curious as to how my UA flights at the same time last year needed to check bags, but my UA flights this year didn't.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 2):
They do not want to have to gate check bags if they do not have to. They can delay a flight due to loading

I can understand that.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 2):
because they cannot be tracked via barcode.

Are you sure? All bag tags (both printed at the podium and handwritten) have barcodes on them, so I assume that bags are scanned by the rampers as they are being loaded. Is this not the case?

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 2):
If there is space it is better to have it in the cabin.

That would make sense and also explains an FA's comment that I mentioned earlier:

Quoting AlnessW (Thread starter):
"Here, give me your bag. I'll see if there's room for this in the closet."

  


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