I’m sitting in an airport, which I find myself doing these days with astonishing frequency — particularly for a guy who doesn’t like to fly.  

I’m not afraid of flying. I just don’t like to do it. It has very little to do with the flight itself, though I have to admit being crammed in a tight seat in a metal tube hurtling through the air with a large number of people I don’t know isn’t exactly a blast.  

What I dislike the most is the extremely poor service. The worst part is that the crappy service is largely our fault for accepting it. One thing we don’t have to accept is being treated like staff and being made to haul and handle our own luggage. The airlines (with the exception of Southwest, with whom I normally fly) have provided a disincentive for us to use baggage service by charging for it.  

I submit to you, gentle reader, that they’re doing it exactly backwards. They should be charging for carry-on luggage. Our insistence on carrying on ever-larger pieces of luggage causes loading and unloading delays, which causes flight delays. Even more annoying – how often have you been stuck waiting in a plane while everyone in front of you struggles with unloading carry-ons from the bins? Especially if your carry-on fits under the seat in front of you and you’re ready to get off? People get angry if you jump out into the aisle and boogie for the front of the plane. Instead, you’re expected to wait for all those people who didn’t have the foresight to check their bags.  

Think about what a luxury it would be if carry-ons were limited to what fits under the seat in front of you. Loading would happen very quickly. You’d be off the plane in a heartbeat. Flight delays would be reduced. Stress levels would drop. And what’s more, even flying coach would have a level of luxury, because you’re not being asked to do the work of a baggage handler.  

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