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carry-on bagsIf you’ve ever been irked to see someone stride up to the gate at the airport with a massive carry-on and a second (or third … or fourth) bag that strains the definition of the term “personal item,” you’re not alone. A new hashtag called #CarryonShame is spreading on Twitter, calling out those fliers who seem to believe the entire overhead bin should belong to them.

The campaign is the brainchild of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Spud Hilton, who explains why he thinks it’s important in a post on the Bad Latitude blog: “If it were just passengers rationalizing their behavior as trying to cheat the airline out of checked baggage fees (or fliers just trying to save money), we wouldn’t care. But the increasingly aggressive disregard for the size standards — which has led to flight delays, a much longer boarding process, abusive passengers, and increased theft from gate-checked bags — also is disregard for everyone else on the plane.”

Hilton encourages travelers to snap photos of offending bags and tag their tweets with #CarryonShame; they may be retweeted by a dedicated Twitter account (@carryonshame) or even included in a gallery on SFGate.com.

What Not to Pack

Unfortunately, thanks to several airlines recently changing their carry-on size limits, it’s gotten a whole lot easier to go over the top — especially when, as Hilton points out, many suitcases marketed as carry-ons are actually too large: “We’ve started skulking around luggage and travel stores and have found that 40 percent of the bags labeled as carry-on that we measured did not meet standards for most airlines (45 linear inches, typically no more than 14 inches wide by 22 long by 9 deep).” Hilton urges travelers to post photos of these bags as well under the #CarryonShame hashtag.

Personally, I’ve got mixed feelings about #CarryonShame. On one hand, it drives me nuts when I have to gate-check my own carry-on because I’m in a late boarding group and there’s not enough overhead bin space. On the other, I prefer to travel solely with a carry-on — I don’t trust the airlines not to lose my luggage, and I hate waiting at baggage claim — so I bet I’ve exceeded the limit by a few inches here and there. My take: If I can fit my personal item under the seat in front of me and my carry-on in the bin wheels-first, it’s all good.

But I’d better look out for those #CarryonShame cameras, just in case.

The Ultimate Guide to Travel Packing

How do you feel about the oversized carry-on trend? Post your thoughts in the comments!

– written by Sarah Schlichter

5 Responses to “Overpackers Outed by Carry-On Shame Campaign”

  1. m r trifon says:

    People who OUGHT to be shamed infuriate me. They are inconsiderate of everyone else.

  2. Gina Strickland says:

    Agree with your take. I keep overhead bag to regulation and the personal bag small enough to fit under seat in front of me. That is what is required. If I could trust them with my carryon, I’d be glad to check it. I have less problems now that I have the credit cards for the two airlines I fly most. Gives me zone 1 boarding so I get there before the bins are stuffed full.

  3. Colleen says:

    I still maintain, departing put of Paletmo, Sicily…..with a Vet certificate you could have checked a goat. The amount of luggage being brought in? Figured we were flying “cargo” as I’d never seen so much stuff ever, in the world, on a trip. Turns out, they got all that stuff & us onto a 767! What was on board? Oh, there’s not enough room here. They must have “special rules” or something!
    My carry ons were purchased specifically because they conformed & fit; Samantha Brown (or her licensee) designed then, and they fit. The jumbo bag gets checked…..free international so who cares. I can’t deal w/the overhead hogs & have no problems indicating that IF they touch or moved my bag!!
    Yes air travel has ” changed me” a bit :/

  4. Dave says:

    The only carry-on shame is on the airlines who made this happen through their own greed and ineptitude.

    They have created this problem for us and for themselves.

    Once they realized how much money was to be made in charging for checked luggage, they required it. So consumers retaliated by bringing everything into the cabin with them, adding to the problems you have noted above.

    This is now made worse by American and others sneakingly decreasing the size of the bags they allow on-board via new “rules” ( = fees ), despite overhead bins that are bigger than ever.

    So we can expect these problems to get worse before they get better, and to pay more along the way.

    If only the States had real rail service like any other civilized country….

  5. Serena says:

    What infuriates me just as much as people bringing more than 1 carry-on & 1 personal item, items bigger than requirements is that passengers in the back of the plane, put there overhead case in the front of the plane so it is easier for them to deplane and make the front passenger put theirs in the back so they are delayed getting off. This is very inconsiderate and rude to the inconvienced passengers. No consideration of your fellow passengers.

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