During a recent weekend trip to Barcelona, we flew KLM from Norway via Amsterdam to Barcelona. We experienced and new problem during the boarding in Amsterdam to Barcelona and not least from Barcelona back again to Amsterdam, the amount of hand luggage that travellers brought to the gate.
It started in Amsterdam, where the airline announced at the gate “due to a full flight at least 20 handbags have to be checked in, or the flight will not leave”. All passengers we saw had the regulated and approved sized hand luggage in hard case roller versions. After much almost threatening, some passengers voluntarily gave their hand luggage to check in and the flight left more or less on time.
On the way back from Barcelona, the same problem was encountered, and this time all passengers in the cheaper seats were forced to check their bags at the gate, this took such a long time that we and quite a few of the passengers on their flight either missed their connecting flights or had to run like mad to get to their gates. We had to spent an extra night at an airport hotel in Amsterdam, did not cost us anything more than an extra day off work. I cannot imagine how much this cost KLM.
So, why is this suddenly an issue on flights? First of all the airlines now charge for checked luggage, and on a weekend trip, it is cheaper and easier to pack a hand luggage size bag. Problem is that most of the luggage that travellers now bring on board, and within legal hand luggage sizes, are hard case rollers. These take up a lot of space in the overhead compartments, one compartment can take roughly 5 cases, and that is a compartment for 9 seats. It does not add up. Soft cases can be stowed beneath the seats in front, hard cases cannot. So if everybody board with a hard case, there is no room.
The airline tries their best to blame the passengers for bringing oversized hand luggage, and like we saw it, that was not the case. In the letter from KLM to us they wrote “As per our records, the aforementioned flight was delayed due to Confiscation of oversize items of cabin baggage at the boarding gate reasons. As a result, you and your co passengers missed the connecting flight”.
If this continues, the airlines need to revaluate their hand luggage regulations, downsizing allowed luggage onboard flights, and make checking in luggage free once again. The cost for the airlines must be bigger that the current revenue for checking in luggage for instance. I am not sure that this is an issue all over the world but it would not surprise me the least if this is also a problem on other flights in other parts of the world.
KLM has done what they are obliged to do by us, free hotel night, meal voucher and compensated us by the EU regulations, so this is not a slander against KLM but rather a suggestion on what to do with something that apparently is a big problem.
Interesting. I have not flown since Covid shutdowns, but always used to feel I was onto a winner travelling HL only. Guess if everyone has the same idea, it doesn’t work so well. Glad it worked out more or less ok for you though!
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This is our first inter European flight with connection after covid, and the first time we have encountered this also but you are right, everyone now has HL, and there is simply not enough room in the overheads. We got home in the end👍
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