Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Excuse me, will you lift my bag for me"

This is a question that Flight Attendants often get when passengers board the airplane. The only problem is, flight attendants don't know how heavy your bag is because we didn't pack it. There have been many times that I would see an elderly woman with a bag and would offer to put it into the overhead bin. The only problem is the few times I offered to help, it's heavier than expected, and heavier than my own carry-on bag.

Now, the majority of flight attendants will be more than glad to assist you with your bag. Just don't expect them to actually lift it for you. I was in the back of an airplane one time and this woman asked me to assist her, so I was glad to offer my assistance. The only problem is that once we were lifting it, she completely let go and I almost dropped the bag on the passenger below. It took all my might to not drop it, and luckily it didn't fall. The only problem, I had a very sore shoulder the rest of the day because of it.

The best rule to remember is if You packed it, then You lift it. There have been too many flight attendants injured and have had to undergo surgery on their shoulders to replace their rotator cuff. If a flight attendant tears their rotator cuff due to lifting a passengers bag, they may not be covered from their insurance. This isn't good. This means that they may have to take time off from work, using their sick time and this will often be looked down upon from the airline. 

A torn rotator cuff is not something that many airlines will cover with insurance, hence why many crew members will not actually lift your bag. Many will be more than happy help you find a spot for your bag, but please don't expect any of them to actually lift it because a torn rotator cuff hurts. Thankfully, I haven't had to undergo this surgery yet, but I'm sure at some time/point, I might.

Of course, a torn cuff isn't due solely on helping with passengers bags, there are many things that could lead to a torn rotator cuff, but actually lifting a bag that flight attendants don't know the weight of, could lead to a torn cuff.

I know it may be difficult to actually find a space for your roll-aboard, especially now that winter is on it's way. Many people will throw their coats, jackets, and everything in-between into the bin not thinking that there may be someone else needing to put their bag into the bin too.

Luckily, many airlines have now expanded the overhead bins to allow bags to be fit length-wise, wheels first (or out) which doing this will allow for extra bags to be placed into the bins. Unfortunately, there are still those passengers who think that the bin is solely theirs, but please remember that the bins are shared space and you have to share with others. Just like back when you were growing up, it's good to share with others!

I know that everyone brings on different size bags, but as you can see in the photo on the left, bags can fit neatly into the bin. Sure, you will have some of those new bags that can be pushed in every-which direction, often times their wheels will not allow the bag to be placed length-wise. Even some of the new garment bags are too big to be placed into the bins and take up more than they actually should.

Speaking of garment bags, it would be nice if you brought your hook with your bag and placed it into the closet that most planes have. This will help those passengers with the roll-aboards find places for their bags and fit them length-wise into the bins.

If you plan on hanging your garment bag into the closet, please be sure to have it open and ready to hang when you get to the aircraft boarding door. This will ensure that you don't block everyone behind you to continue boarding. The great thing about putting your bag into the closet, you could just put your laptop and/or purse under the seat in front of you and leave the over head bins for those large carry-on bags!

Well, I hope that this spread a little  light for everyone. There are some airlines that allow their flight attendants to help lift passenger bags, but don't be upset if flight attendants deny actually lifting it for you. Best thing if you ask for assistance, lift the bag as high as you can (usually above your shoulders) and the flight attendants will assist you the rest of the way.