Yes, charge for carry-on bags

bag.jpg

Does she really think that she can get this into an overhead bin?

Five major airlines have chickened out and decided not to charge for carryon bags, as a small Florida air carrier, Spirit Airlines, will begin doing

Spirit's decision to charge passengers $45 for each bag they try to cram into the overhead compartment must have scared the ever-loving stuff out of the major airlines for them to pass up an opportunity to tack on an extra fee.

I'm disappointed that they didn't.

Getting to and from your seat on airplanes these days has become a test of patience. It's also a 50-ring circus watching assorted clowns trying to shove, bang or jam their suitcases into the overhead. Or to push their way through a packed aisle to try to find an empty spot when they discover that the bin above their seat already has been taken.

Except, it's not so funny when your seat mate, struggling to put in or take an overweight bag drops it on your head. Or when you're stuck in the back of the airplane, trying to make a connecting flight, only to be blocked by scores of people manhandling their bags. Or when you're stuck waiting out in the cold on the jetway because the aisle is packed with people trying to wedge their bags into the bins, as if they were square pegs in round holes.
The Federal Aviation Administration likes to make rules, so here's a suggestion. Ban carry-on bags. Exceptions only for items that you need during the flight, such as computers, snakes, books and magazines, diapers. If you absolutely must have a carry-on bag for whatever reason, you get charged Spirit's $45, or better yet, $100 for the privilege. If you absolutely must have a carry-on bag because you can't let your bag out of your sight, you should see a shrink. If you must have a bag because you don't want the inconvenience of waiting at the baggage carousel like everyone else, tough; you pay for the luxury just like first class passengers do for their extra benefits. 
I'm not sure how the FAA or the airlines would enforce such a rule, but there'd be millions of grateful passengers.
The benefits are obvious, and reach beyond the improved ease of boarding and leaving an airplane. With fewer carry-on bags for Transportation Security Administration personnel to check prior to boarding, lines would be shorter and getting through the check-points would be quicker. It might even allow TSA workers to concentrate more on spotting terrorists. 
Imagine.

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