Airline employees forcing flyers to check bags and they're not always truthful about why

Posted at 9:39 AM, Aug 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-11 11:14:13-04

If you fly with carry-on bags, you're going to want to know this before you go on your next flight.

Even though you plan to take your carry-on with you, be prepared for a different scenario. Full disclosure, I was flying Delta last week with my family and with our carry-ons, but employees told us something that just wasn't true.

There was a long line of people for Delta Flight 1188 from Atlanta to Orlando last Friday. They all were forced to check their carry-ons. Delta employees said there was no more room in the overhead bins.

This also happened to us on our Delta flight from Cleveland to Atlanta. However, I found both flights had lots and lots of empty bins.

Since then, I found posts online from stating a Delta employee "screaming...bins were full" but "it wasn't full" after all. And when the flyer said he didn't want to check the bag, he claims the employee threatened to place him "on a different flight."

Another post I found complained that about a Delta flyer was "forced to check a bag 20 minutes before door closing".

The Wall Street Journal reports some Boeing 737s have room for 125 carry-ons with 180 seats.

USA Today posted an article right before this summer's flying season saying the "Battle for overhead bins is as fierce as ever."

"It is a hassle to people who are traveling because of the inconvenience,” said Roy Farr who said he’s a frequent flyer. He was flying Delta the day we talked to him. 

Delta allows a flyer to take a carry-on and a personal item like a purse or backpack.

Farr said airlines have created the bin problem because while they're charging to check bigger bags, flyers buy bigger carry-ons. "More and more people are starting to bring oversized luggage that (airlines are) allowing through,” said Farr. 

Erin Boyle from Lakewood said Delta told her to check her carry-on. "They told me I was going to get it right off...hand it to me right when I was getting off the plane and it wasn't there," she said. Thankfully, they had it, but she had to go to baggage claim to get her *carry-on. 

Part of the reason people bring carry-ons is to avoid the carrousels and added time to pick up bags.

Plus, people use carry-ons in case their other baggage gets lost...they have something in the meantime.

So travelers gave this advice. "I would bring a smaller bag with at least a nights worth of clothes and whatever is important,” said Michelle Tirey who also flew Delta the day we spoke with her.

5 On Your Side Investigators reached out to Delta asking questions about the forced checked carry-on policy. We have not heard back.

Delta did not charge flyers to check their carry-ons, but it’s a flyer beware. Be prepared to check your bags if you are in the last groups to board a plane.