6 suitcase mistakes we’re all guilty of making at least once
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
If you’ve ever stepped foot inside an airport before, you can probably picture the crazy.
There are people everywhere you turn — not to mention all of their belongings. Lots and lots of carry-on suitcases, overstuffed backpacks, hard-sided spinners, soft-sided spinners, briefcases and duffels. All told, walking through an airport can be a bit like walking through a department store. But not in a good way.
Let’s be honest. We’ve all been personally accosted by a person wearing an oversized backpack on a crowded airport shuttle, or had a toe (or 10) run over by a rogue rollaboard. That’s why we decided to get to the bottom of this bad behavior once and for all, and polled readers in the TPG Lounge to hear your thoughts.
1. Back-attacking fellow passengers
Far and away, the biggest culprit is when people turn sideways with their backpack on and end up hitting fellow passengers in the shoulder. Or face. Ouch. It’s easily avoidable, too; just take off your backpack and set it at your feat anytime you’re entering a crowded bus or shuttle. When boarding a plane or milling about in a busy terminal, just be mindful of the extra space your bag takes up. The same way how you wouldn’t back up your car without checking to see if anything is behind you, you shouldn’t turn around with your belongings and assume no one is behind you.
2. Being an overhead bandit
Another grievance is when people put their carry-ons in the overhead bins nowhere near where they’re actually seated (looking at you, priority boarding passengers). Play by the rules and put your carry-on above your seat. Don’t make things harder for everyone else just because you wanted special treatment.
3. Playing bin tetris badly
TPG reader Daniel T. said the worst offense is when travelers “put [their] carry-on bag in the overhead bin sideways.” Ellie Sze agreed, chiming in, “Coming back from Hawaii, someone put a box of macadamia nuts in the overhead bin and refused to move them when my husband asked politely. I told my husband he should’ve crushed the guy’s nuts.”
Generally speaking, always put backpacks, briefcases, jackets, nuts and other small items beneath the seat in front of you if they fit. You never want to take up more overhead bin space than necessary because it slows down boarding, and could force another traveler to gate check his or her bag. We just did a deep-dive into this commonly-asked question, too, which you can read more about here. The bottom line is: If you have room to store it in front of you, you should.
4. Hogging the carousel
My personal “favorite” faux pas is when travelers grab their suitcases from the carousel and knock it right into you. Yes, I totally get it, your bag is heavy. But try to find some personal space before you grab it and run over someone’s toes with the wheels of your bag.
And when retrieving luggage from baggage claim, just remember everyone else wants their bag, too. So don’t stand so close to the conveyor belt you block access.
5. Letting the bed bugs bite
OK, so maybe we haven’t all been unwitting bed bug carriers, but travelers should be mindful that suitcases can be instrumental to the spread of bed bugs. So, if you’ve ever had them in your home, be sure to treat or replace your suitcase before tossing your bag in the cargo hold with, well, everyone else’s suitcase. And remember to keep your clothes and bags off the floors and beds of hotels so you aren’t accidentally carrying some (very) pesky pests on the plane with you.
6. Forgetting there are other travelers
Reader Marc C. summed it up nicely when he said, “basic lack of consideration for anyone else” may be the biggest suitcase mistake. “We’re all trying to get from Point A to B as comfortably as we can.”
So do mind those bags — and your manners.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.