Airline makes bold new move to clear up space in the overhead bin for passengers (Photo: Thinkstock)
“Stop! Take your oversized bag out of the overhead bin and step off the aircraft with your hands up!” The baggage police might be coming to an airport near you.
Australian budget airline Jetstar has announced that it is deploying baggage officers at several airports. Their job: to go after passengers who try to sneak bigger-than-mandated bags aboard as carry-ons.
Australian airline Jetstar is deploying “baggage police” (Photo: AP)
Frequent flyers all over the world know the frustration of not being able to get their regulation-sized carry-ons in crammed overhead bins. That valuable real estate is often overstuffed with ginormous suitcases crammed in by scofflaws looking to avoid checked baggage fees and the inevitable wait at baggage claim.
Jetstar says it wants to put an end to that. “We know that some of our customers become frustrated when there is a lack of overhead locker space for their bags,” the airline says in a statement. Jetstar also points out that the baggage shenanigans can have a snowball effect on flights, often delaying boarding, takeoff, and arrival times. “Limiting the amount of carry-on baggage improves crew and other passengers’ safety and will also speed up the boarding process so that our flights can get away on time,” the airline says.
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Enter the baggage police (or “cabin baggage officers,” as Jetstar officially calls them). They’ll be stationed at Jetstar’s gates in the Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, and Gold Coast airports. These baggage police won’t be able to arrest rule breakers, of course, but they will have one powerful enforcement mechanism at their disposal: any passenger they catch trying to sneak aboard oversized baggage could be required to check it at a higher fee than they would have faced had they paid to check their bags when they booked the flight.
Jetstar’s baggage police program will only be on a six-month trial basis. But considering how dependent airlines have become on ancillary fees, it’s easy to imagine the program becoming permanent — and making its way to the U.S. Pretty soon, we may see armies of baggage police roaming airports all over the world, keeping overhead bins safe for law-abiding, correctly-sized carry-ons everywhere.