The more I fly, the more I realize many of the delays that airplanes have are preventable and in fact caused by people just being too self-centered. For example, when airlines started charging to check bags, there was an influx of people who started packing everything in a carry-on bag.
I don’t blame those people at all. Who wants to pay for their luggage to be rummaged though and lost? For the most part, it’s just all-around better if we are only packing what we need on a trip anyway. It means you’re less likely to lose things and you don’t have so much stuff to lug around from place to place. Where it does become a problem is when people don’t realize how to pack their bags on the plane itself.
No, I’m sorry, nobody cares that you are tall and you want extra legroom. If you bring two bags one of them needs to go under your seat. I see too many people stuff a rolling luggage bag, their laptop bag or purse, as well as their heavy winter coat up in the overhead bin. What that means is you have taken the space from someone else who paid to put their bag there. It is after all part of the ticket.
Beyond that, this behavior leads to delays, and everyone hates that. When one person can’t find a place to put their bags it means they walk up and down the plane looking for a spot, and the plane doors can’t close till everyone is seated. That means the plane can’t get their paperwork ready for take off.
I think everyone understands this point for the most part. It’s not that difficult, but what we need are solutions to the problem. So here are a few that would help airlines get more flights off the ground on time.
- Ask passengers to tag bags that are going in the overhead compartment. This would require airline employees to check and enforce that only one tagged item per passenger is in the overhead bin. It would be rough at first, but once customers got used to this idea they would start packing accordingly or checking extra bags.
- Have passengers take their seats with their luggage. In this case you could ask that all passengers take their seats and hold on to their bags. An airline employee could then offer to put one item in the overhead bin for each person. This would get people seated quickly, but also help to ensure people are close to their belongings when it’s time to get off the plane leaving more time to clean the plane and prep for the next flight!
- Section off space in the overhead bins for each seat. While this is not an ideal solution it would take the least amount of effort from the staff. Even something as simple as color-coding sections of each overhead bin with seat labels would make people more aware that they are taking more than they are entitled to. The downside here is that you are relying on people caring which is somewhat risky.
- Some airlines do this but how about boarding passengers from the back of the plane first? We have this notion that getting on the plane first makes you special, but I would argue the opposite. A good marketing team could convince people that the more time they are out stretching their legs instead of crammed in an airline seat the better. This would keep people from blocking the aisles so that more people could be taking seats instead of waiting in line.
- Speaking of boarding order, how about going one step further and boarding window seats before aisle seats? For a big plane that could make a difference. It’s always difficult when people need to get out of their seat to let someone else in.
- Seating order optimizations of course don’t matter if the airline workers are letting anyone on the plane in any order. I appreciate when people get turned away at the gate for trying to board outside of their boarding group. It means that the employees take their job seriously and want that plane off the ground on time like the rest of us.
Just think, in a perfect world where flights leave and arrive on time you could book those 45 min layovers and not have to worry!