I was boarding a flight recently when a young woman nearby asked for help getting her carry-on bag into the overhead bin. "There’s no way I’m going to be able to lift it," she declared cheerfully.
Was it wrong of me to think that maybe she should have checked it?
We should certainly all help people who are injured, disabled or traveling with babies. But I don’t think healthy adults should otherwise travel with carry-ons they can’t handle. This is, in my view, a leading cause of passenger congestion — people struggling with too many or too heavy bags in the aisles as they get on and off a plane.
The young woman in question found several volunteers to help heft her bag into the overhead bin. Later, when the passengers were disembarking, a man nearby got her bag down without being asked. Then she and her companion charged ahead in the aisle, a clear violation of standard airplane etiquette.
Maybe they just didn’t get it.
Of course, new airline policies won’t help anyone get it. With many airlines now charging for more than one checked bag, passengers will understandably want to avoid the $25 fee. So they’ll try to stuff more crap into their carry-ons. It’s probably vain to hope that most of us will stick to bags we can handle on our own.
Yet that is what I hope. Yeah, I know I’m an old-school curmudgeon — personal responsibility and all that.
But I have also noticed that the helpless female routine gets old, along with the helpless female. It’s better in the long run to learn to handle one’s own baggage, literally and figuratively. Because one won’t have so many eager volunteer porters when one hits middle age.
Believe one who knows.