Tim Foolery

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Where to put your Personal Item

I love to read travel blogs and Boarding Area has a great collection of writers.  I won’t get into the specifics of the each blogger that I like or don’t like, but I will tell you they do pose some interesting questions from time to time.

Last month, the Road Warriorette posted an article on Personal Items (since I’ve been on the road a lot in August, I’m just now get caught up on my regular blogs).  A Personal Item is your second piece of carry-on luggage (not your 21″ roller suitcase, but either your briefcase, backpack or purse).  The question she poses is, where do you put your personal item? In the overhead bin, or under the seat in front of you.  I won’t rehash her blog here – go read it – but I will tell you my thoughts.

Planes are almost always full now.  Airlines are charging non-elite (or non-airline-specific-credit-card-holding) passengers fees for checking a bag. What does this mean? It means passengers are bringing so many bags into the cabin.

I usually travel with a simple 21″ roller suitcase (that easily fits in the overhead bin of all but the small Regional Planes) and a messenger bag with papers and my electronics.  I know that all the overhead bins will be filled and some people may have to gate check their bags.  I don’t really worry about that for myself because, I am Premier Gold with United and always get space for my bag in the bins.

I never put my personal item (messenger bag for me) in the overhead bin (unless I’m on a tiny Regional Jet). I know that my small bag will take up enough space that it could make another passenger gate check their bags. I also know that people are self-centered and don’t often worry about the property of other people on the plane (and yes, I am talking about fellow passengers and the Stews). I don’t want my laptop or other electronic devices to be damaged by these people.

I did have a bit of a run in on a recent flight. I was going from SEA to ORD and the woman in front of me decided to put her bag under HER seat and not under the seat in front of her.  To make this work, she had to push my bag out of the way.  After about 15 minutes (on the ground) of foot fighting with this broad, I remind her that her storage area is the under the seat in front of her. She had already filled that space, I found. I then reminded her that she needs to use the overhead bins – which were now full.  The Stew then came back to see what was going on and I explained to her. She then grabbed the ladies bag (without saying another word) that was going under her seat and took it (I assume she put it in a closet up front).  The woman in front of me was extremely unhappy all the flight.  To get back at me, she SLAMMED her seat back. Luckily I was in the Exit Row, so she had extremely limited recline :).  She then hated me even more as she continued to try to SLAM her seat back into me.  Another reason to pick exit row, right?

When you travel, where do you put your personal item – Overhead Bin or Under the Seat?  Do you run into issues with people who don’t understand where their storage areas are?

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